Each day I am fortunate to spend my life around a group of young adults who are constant reminders of the trials of youth and the joy that experience can bring.
Their dramas are intense… their reactions quick and I sit by and offer advice and hopefully soothe their bruised egos and souls as they begin to navigate life.
Yesterday… one of my young students was upset over an argument he had with his girlfriend and told me that mid-fight she had turned on her heel and walked away from him: He was very upset over such a slight.
In that moment, my mind flashed back to a time when I had done the same thing to my former husband.
And why had I stomped off?
Not because of anger.
I had left our argument because I was too hurt to continue.
I had left our argument because I didn’t want to cry in front of him and show what I believed to be at the time… weakness.
And so… I did the only thing I could do: I left.
I shared this story with my student and said, “Wouldn’t you rather be the person to be kind in this situation? The person who understands another person’s pain? She’s hurt. She’s caught up in the heat of the moment. Be kind and when the time comes when you are both calm… then you can let her know how you felt when she did that to you. But for now… be kind.. and understand that her anger comes from a place of hurt.”
I let him sit with that for awhile and by the end of the class period, he was calm, and gave me a big hug before he left the room.
Later that afternoon, I was walking to my car in the parking lot.
I saw his girlfriend, talking on the phone, looking left and right, longing to see someone on the horizon.
And as I pulled out of the parking lot, I saw my student, also on the phone, hand raised, waving at her…
They did not see me, and I did not stop.
It was enough to see that they were both smiling… that the fight had calmed… and that kindness had taken the moment and changed the mood of the day.
“Dear God, help me to be kind when I am consumed by anger and frustration. Help me to see all sides of an argument, and to be the one to soothe instead of incite.”