My three children have been fighting a lot lately .
It is loud and whiny and no matter how I hard I try to fix it someone ends up unhappy. My husband and I are strong passionate Middle Eastern people ,we fight loud and strong.
I always say, that it is healthy to fight ,just don’t be hurtful make sure you are fighting for what you believe in. Have compassion, and be respectful to the other side.
Long ago when I did dialogue work between Arabs and Jews in Israel our mantra was, we must learn to always agree to disagree.
There has been a lot of fighting up in Juvie lately – the population in the camp is up by 20 percent, it has been low for about 18 months .And now with the influx of girls, some changes in the staff ,the girls are un-easy and things are heated .
The last few times I arrived there was stuff going down.
A fist fight, misconduct, mouthing off the guards, and all together high tension. I am relieved and happy that none of my girls have been at all part of any of the fighting but they cannot, not be affected by it. I’d like to think my work has something to do with them staying out of trouble but I cannot be sure of that –this group is different than other groups.
They are not meshing so well, they are not opening up, and I know that the presence of the camera has great impact on them and the process we are going through. I am also tiered and a little burnt out .I run three 15 week workshops by the third (this is the third) I am a little done ,maybe I am not as patient as I should be .
Today the film crew didn’t come, but my dance people did .we started really late again, but the dancing and movement were intoxicating and truly amazing.
The three dancers brought with them the most vibrant loving energy, they gave with a full heart and all tension, all fighting ceased .Last time the dancers came the girls were a little reluctant –this time the girls were all in. They participated they were open to the dance, they were loving the dancers.
Believe me you would LOVE these amazing three young men too if you met them .
They are kind ,gentile ,they came and did not charge any fee.
They gave from their time and talent- oh did I mention their ridicules insane talent ?
Here is the thing about my Juvie girls, show up once they will be resistant, show up twice they are yours.Give to them from the heart you will see pure loyalty.
We started to create a dance piece for the final presentation, it was so exciting I thought my heart would jump out of my body.The head probation officer pops in, we learn that she is a dancer she moves with us. The outside fighting the “high alert” that is in the camp, well it all melts away. There is music, laughter, delight, and elation.
My sweet dancers must leave, they promise to be back the girls are in heaven.
We start to talk about the final presentation and some bickering starts about who where and what . I stop them, and give out the writing assignment.
What is the best relationship you ever had?|
What about it was the best?
What do you need to do to have a relationship like that again?
They read out loud simple answers, some don’t want to read.This group has such a short concentration span.One tells us that the best relationship she ever had is with herself and to have a relationship like that she must continue to be good to herself ,so that someone else will value what she has .
We talk about how important it is to love yourself ,and how we all must work on that .They joke about the girl who got in the fight earlier ,they say that she loves herself too much .
And then one says “Ms. I need to go to mental health"
“They will call you” I answer
“But Ms., remember how they forgot last time”
“No” I say, having no idea what she is talking about.
“They will call you.” I tell her.
The phone in the gym must ring 20 times during any given class, a probation officer on the other side requesting a head count requesting one of the girls, checking in ,making sure everyone is there -
“Ms. Don’t fight with me”
I look at her and I laugh out loud.
“Sweetheart, I am not fighting at all ,I am just saying that I really don’t think they will forget”
The mental health meetings as the substance abuse are mandated by court ,if you are trying or close to getting early release you must be careful not to miss any .
“Ms. You aren’t listening to me.”
I stop, I bend down and look straight in her eyes -
“Tell me” I say. She proceeds to tell me a long story about missing a session coming late to a session – still I really don’t know or remember what she is talking about.
I listen and I say very calmly;
“Do you want to leave the class now? Is that what you need?”
She is a little embarrassed. She nods.
“Go, its ok go” I say.
“Can I?” She says.
“Yup” And as if the conversation never happened, she gets up gives me a hug and leaves.
As she walks out, I think that the thing about fighting is that it is really about getting what we need, and knowing how to ask for it clearly, directly without a long complicated story attached.
If we could only all figure out how to do that, well ,then ?
The world would definitely be a more peaceful , fighting- free place