There was a video that went viral not long ago. It was from Germany and at this point it’s had about 5 million hits.
A friend of mine, a sociologist and a really smart, kind man, sat with me as I watched it. He asked me to make conclusions about the video after it was done.
The video opens introducing us to about six boys, around the ages of 10 to 15. Each one is told that they are going to meet someone.
Off to the side comes a girl about their age. She stands in front of them while the interviewer tells the boys to shake hands with her, give her a hug, even stroke her hair.
Then the interviewer says the following sentence to each boy: “Now I want you to hit her.
The camera looks at the face of every boy. One at a time, the camera zooms in and catches their expression.
To a boy, their eyes show a sense of pain. An awkward smile, one of surprise, comes to each expression.
And each one pauses.
All of the boys say something like, “what?” or “did you say, “hit her?”
And the interviewer clarifies the question. He says that, yes, he said to hit the girl. And, he says, he wants them to hit her in the face. “Just slap her,” he says.
“Go on. Do it.”
The boys stall.
“What’s the matter? Why can’t you hit her?”
Answers of, “I don’t want to,” or “it’s not right” come from the uncomfortable whispers of each boy.
The interviewer insists that each boy should hit this girl. “Now,” he says, “Do it now. Stop stalling.”
To a child, each one refuses. The a public service announcement is shown.
And that’s the end of the video.
Now my friend leans over and asked me what I concluded from the video.
I told him that this was consistent with the old adage about the better you know somebody, the harder it is to hurt them. “You don’t want to hurt your friends and…”
He stopped me. “You’re missing the point.” He said, “Come on, what did you see?”
I told him I saw boys becoming acquainted with a girl and when the director said to hit her, they all backed down.
“That’s not all. There was something else present within each one of those boys.”
“Compassion?” I guessed.
“Yes, but something within them brought forth that compassion. Either most of them had never seen anyone get angry, which is somewhat possible, or they have all been the subject of someone’s anger, which is far more likely.”
He said, “I would speculate that one or more of these kids have been the targets of someone’s anger. Maybe a parent or a peer. And these kids, standing there in front of the camera and with an adult insisting to strike this girl, had enough time to think about how this anger had hurt them, and how they didn’t want to hurt somebody else as they have been hurt.”
“What you saw was a choice being made. Anger is a choice. Wherever it comes from, it is a choice.”
My friend stroked his chin and turning back toward me said, “My sense is that their feelings of empathy and reference to pain, and least in some of them, guided their decision. But, even if that wasn’t the case, they all chose to refrain from causing another person harm.”
“In part,” my friend continued, “you saw empathy in motion. But, bottom line, you saw a decision being made to turn away from harm and turn toward love. They all stepped away from an action of anger and responded with a gesture of peace.”
My friend stood in the middle of the room and smiled, “You know what you saw? A decision.”
“Anger is a decision. Each and every time. And you have the choice. Decide with anger. Or, as these children did, decide with peace.”
By entrusting us with your feelings, we help you take steps that you see necessary to begin and put forth the energy to make the needed change.
Now notice something: Trust in a coach, mentor, or guide helps you see what's in front of you. We see a Coach for Your Heart a little like an emotional Sherpa, somebody that helps you climb your mountain by pointing out where to best step along the path.
Offices in San Diego and Denver, but will travel to meet onsite anywhere in the United States and the World.