Monday, July 13, 2015
I was out walking with the dying dog today [she has terminal liver failure but so far is comfortable and still eating and holding her own three months post diagnosis] when I came upon a mixed bunch of kids-- some were teens and some younger-- gathered around two trees. The older kids were harassing one of the trees.
Specifically, they were grabbing onto one of the lower branches, yanking down to several feet from the ground, and then attempting to sit on the branch and bounce on it. There were no adults in sight. [The kids were at some sort of day camp I think]. The property being used was board of education, i.e. school, property.
The tree branch was not designed for what it was being put through.
I had several choices. I mulled them over in my brain. I decided to do something in spite of my reluctance to get involved and my uncomfortability factor.
I stood there with my hands on my hips. Then I projected my voice as loudly as it could go without giving myself coughing spasms. [My voice is soft. What other people consider to be "conversation level" sounds frightfully loud to me].
"Why are you hurting that tree?" I asked.
"Stop hurting that tree!"
and finally, "Let go of that tree!"
The adolescents-- to their credit-- did. A younger boy who was not involved in the tree incident waved at me in a friendly fashion. I waved back at him.
A young adult then appeared at the doorway. The adolescents and basketballs dispersed. "Well, get into your groups," he told the junior high and elementary school aged children. He could not look me in the eye. I am not a proponent of eye contact so this was fine with me.
Life went on.
Here is a picture of the tree an hour after having its branch jerked around. The branch is not where it should be. The teens were really going at it and I was afraid that the branch was going to be broken off.
sapphoq healing t.b.i. and resultant brain damage says: Speaking up is part of being a responsible community citizen. When choosing to do so, pick your words carefully. Do not attack the person, only the action. Those children and teens that you do not understand will be here long after both of us are dead and gone.