Talking with Children about Violence

Speaking with children about violence is hard, and heart-breaking. It’s also important to keep them safe.

Sea Gabriel:

Bad things happen. They happen all the time. Usually they happen because someone is angry or frightened or in pain and pain is unpleasant and we want to get rid of it. And it's really easy to think that pain is like a thing that if I have pain, I can give it to someone else and then it will be gone. And it even feels like that in the moment. If I'm hurting someone else, I feel powerful and strong and in control, but it. Pain is not an item. Pain is an experience. So when I have pain, I have one experience of pain. And when I try to give it to someone else, I create a second experience of pain. And now I actually have twice as much pain in my life. Even though in the moment I feel powerful. I'm using that power against myself. Some people will go their entire lives, creating more and more and more pain and never understanding that they are the cause. So how do I actually get rid of my pain? Well, I can get rid of my pain by expressing it. I can go to somebody who cares about me or a friend or someone who loves me and I can tell them all about what happened to me or. I can stand in the middle of the woods and scream at the top of my lungs, which is really fun. And it will help get rid of that pain. I can even dig a hole in the ground and then whisper into that hole. And that will get rid of my pain because expressing the pain actually lets it out of my body. Also would really ideally like to help other people who the pain in their lives, but I needed to be careful because if I allow someone else to hurt me, then I'm creating more pain in my life and more pain in their life. And one, or both of us will probably create more pain in other people's lives and there'll be more and more and more pain. And that is not mine. So if I'm thinking that somebody might actually try to hurt me best to just get away from them, the best thing that I can do to help them then is to show them how to take care of themselves so that they don't get hurt more in the future. If they're not going to hurt me though, it's really great. If I can hold that for them, if I can talk to them and listen to them and be there for them and give them a place where they can express their pain and feel loved and cared for so that they have less pain. And I have less pain to avoiding pain is great when you can do it. But most of the time, it's not really practical. We have lives. We run around, we do fun stuff and sometimes we trip and fall and there's the pain best to learn how to get rid of it. Cause in the end only you can make your life better.

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