Coach Campbell, Bobby and his sister, Kathy, and some other “Can Dos” are at the “Can Do” Center, working in the storage room, getting out the volleyballs and net to use in the summer camp.
“OK now guys, let’s pay attention. Be careful, this is not that big a room and we have a lot of stuff to get out.”
Suddenly, Coach Campbell hears a Can Do kid yell, “OUCH – Hey that hurt!” and then “Yeah, well it’s not my fault!!”
Kathy comes up to Coach Campbell and lets him know that Bobby hit her, for no reason, just hit her with his fist.
Coach Campbell takes Bobby aside to talk to him in private about what just happened.
Before he can even ask the first question, Bobby says, “It is not my fault, I got mad and when I get mad, well, I just lose it. That’s just the way it is.”
Really? asks Coach Campbell. Nothing you can do about it, huh?
OK, let me ask you some questions then, and maybe we can get you to see this a bit differently. OK? Given that I was standing as close to you as I was, why did you hit her, and not me? I was there, and you just had to hit something, why not me?
“You are big, and would probably crush me if I hit you.”
So then, you chose to hit Kathy and not me. Right?
So if you can make a decision, make a choice, then you really have not lost control, have you?
“I guess not.”
That’s right. You hit her because you could, because you though you could get away with it. That was a decision you made and that means you are responsible for hitting her. Now, let me ask you another question. What if, just imagine, what if, I got mad and decided to haul off and hit you. Would that be OK, because, you know, I was mad.
’NO! No way Coach!”
Well, why not?
“Well, you are bigger than me, and stronger, it would hurt a lot.”
That’s why you wouldn’t WANT me to hit you…but I asked you if it would be OK to hit you, because – like you said – I was mad.
“No, it would not be OK for you to hit me.”
Well, if it isn’t OK for me to hit you, then how can it be OK for you to hit Kathy… right?
“Yeah, you’re right. What is wrong is wrong.”
So, now what are you going to do?
“I am going to say I am sorry to Kathy and tell her I will never do it again.
We all get mad at times. But, hitting someone is not the way to deal with it. Most of the time, the anger can pass over quickly, other times you need to talk things out, but getting violent is not going to help. If you do get violent, remember – that was your choice and you have to take responsibility for it.
Story by: Ned Campbell, a coach and teacher in Brooklyn, NY. He is the voice of Coach Campbell in the “Can Do” Street programs.