The Hockey Stick – Lessons on Physical Aggression

Yog runs to me with urgency and purpose in his stride, his chubby legs trying to keep pace with the thoughts running in his mind. Concern is evident all over his red face. I am certain he has a very important matter to discuss with me. Huffing, he exclaims, “Big boys are beating small children on the road. I told them to stop but they are not listening.” I sigh. Not again. Why do boys fight? Calmly, I tell Yog, “You did a good thing by telling them not to fight. I am happy that you didn’t get into the fight, yourself.” Yog’s expression quickly changed from concern to frustration. I assumed he was looking for a different response. Without wasting another second, he ran inside to speak to his father. Minutes later, he rushed past me again with a stronger urgency and purpose, shouting over his shoulder for my information, “Papa told me to go and beat the big boys!” My jaw dropped as I fathomed the consequences.

I don’t need to elaborate on what happened next. I never got a chance to know who won the fight. My mind was in shock at how  my little boy and my very own husband resorted to violence. I hate violence. I always believe peace can be achieved through constructive dialogue. I now know that the men in my family tend to disagree with me on the same.

Today, I had an opportunity of catching up with a childhood friend.  We were both laughing at stories of our children. Especially, how her 4 year old daughter roughs up boys in her class to get to what she wants. My friend was concerned about her daughters behavior, but I really couldn’t have been happier to hear this, given my own recent experiences. Since the experience with Yog beating big boys on the road, I have learnt to accept physical violence as a form of natural expression and an essential trait that kids should be comfortable with. While peaceful dialogue should be the first choice, children should also be comfortable with physically standing up against abuse and defending themselves or someone who needs protection.

Given the genetic make up of men,  I think, this trait comes easier to majority of the men. I, for one, grew up in a family of 4 women. We had no brothers, fathers or uncles who mentored us. I went to an all girls school and an all girls college. Fortunately for me, even in the family that I married, aggression of any kind, is non-existent. As a result, I had never witnessed  or participated in any physical form of aggression till little Yog came into my  life. By default, my instincts told me to change him, to tell him that violence is bad. Fortunately, he was able to teach me an important lesson before I could teach him much. I learnt from Yog that violence isn’t always bad. After all, it is a natural instinct to protect oneself and survive.

As we marveled at how kids these days fend for themselves, my friend also told me the story of how her elder brother had gifted her a hockey stick as soon as she got her first Kinetic scooter. He also said, “Sister, you need to hit only in two places to get the results!”. We laughed out loud recollecting the story. Later, driving back home, I thought about the story and wished someone in my life had also gifted me a Hockey stick. I wished I also knew there were things like a Hockey stick I could use to keep myself safe in my growing years. Till date, most of my self defense mechanisms simply include running for safety or calling for help. Today, I appreciated the true value of having a Big Brother and more so of a Hockey Stick.

I still believe, life is all about balance and fine choices. While my daughter is  a Taekwondo Champion, I still teach her to use physical violence as her last resort. I still believe dialogue can solve most situations. However, I have also learnt that dialogue works better when both parties know that the other party cannot be simply subdued into consent. While we should be trained and ready to use physical aggression at any time, we should know to restrain ourselves and use it as a last resort.

Lastly, go ahead and gift your version of a hockey stick to your loved ones. I pray that no one ever feels the need to use a hockey stick for protection, but in case they do, they should never end up being a victim, just because one of us didn’t gift it to them in time.

A Gym tops my list of Most Positive Places

Gym is perhaps the most positive place on this planet. This is why I think so:

  1. If you are there, it means you already have a goal/purpose in your life
  2. You feel inspired (and not jealous) if someone is doing better than you
  3. Pain is associated with having done things right
  4. You know there are no shortcuts to success. You will have to sweat it out in order to receive the benefits.
  5. There is instant gratification from your own body, when you push your own limits
  6. No one cares how good looking you are or what clothes you wear to the Gym. All that matters is what you can achieve while you are there.

Just been a week and I am loving it. Hope to see more and more people around me paying a visit to this positive place.

Father and Daughter

Sunsets for just the sunrise

Today, during my morning walk, I saw a father driving his teenage daughter to college. She sat upright holding the back of the motorcycle for support. In the rear view mirror, she adjusted her hair and checked her red lipstick. She would have been prettier without them, but then teenagers don’t really think like me anymore. Her eyes said she was ready to face her friends. They said she was planning to skip a few classes to catch up with the latest college news. She looked cool, confident and ready for her day.

At the same time, I couldn’t help but notice the expressions on her fathers face. Even though it was just early in the morning, he looked tired. I could sense the weight he was carrying on his shoulders. Yet, the corner of his lips were slightly curled up in pride of the weight he was carrying on his bike. While the daughter was lost in her own dreams, the father was completely focused on her presence behind him. He drove with extreme care and control lest something might happen to his most precious gift.

The brief two seconds scene summarized the relationship of a father and daughter for me. A daughter is the most prized possession a father holds even though he knows he has to let her go soon enough.  He faces most of these emotions every day:

Pride on seeing her grow

Love in seeing her smile

Compassion when she is hurt

Fear that someone will hurt her

Anger when someone actually does

Protectiveness to keep her safe

No word for the emotion in letting her go, knowing very well she will be hurt out there

While mothers get most of the credit for bringing up the children, a fathers relationship with his daughter comprises of so many layers of emotions, and honestly, quite difficult to describe in a 200 word blog. But I am glad that this beautiful relationship can be experienced in millions of 2 second scenes all around us. Cheers to a billion and more fathers out there!