Thursday, April 11, 2013

Would You Stop?

To my son Tommy,

Driving home today and I was driving down Aldershot road.  I saw a couple kids out front of a house. As I drove by I saw one go to snap kick the other and the other respond with a wild miss of a haymaker punch.  These kids were probably around 10 years old.  Would you stop?

I stopped and rolled down my window.  I was a little past them and looking in my side view.  I needed to determine if they were playing or about to fight.  To be honest, I had no idea if I should intervene or how to intervene if I didn't like what I saw.  Should I ask them to stop? Should I yell at them and scare them to stop?  Do I approach the house and look for parents to tell?  Some parents don't appreciate being told if their kids are misbehaving and become defensive, what then?

Luckily after the kids noticed that I had stopped and was watching, they stopped their antics.  This told me either they were playing or at least everyone involved was complicit and equally willing to be involved in the fight.  Either way, much to the relief of the car that ended up waiting behind me, I figured my involvement was done.

There is no set rules for when to step in.  It is a fine line to walk.  You really have to go with your conscience and gut.  This is my neighborhood as well as theirs and if I see some fighting, I will speak up.  It takes a community.  As long as the adult acts like an adult and calmly and prudently deals with the situation, then I think stopping and checking out and assessing and possibly addressing a situation is quite alright.  If an adult were to see you about to fight, I hope they would say something to you and then say something to me.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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