Emotional Intelligence | Stevehein.com

After-School Fight


Here is a chat where I start talking about an after-school fight I saw and stopped (at least for that day). Below are more comments and details...This took place in Salta, Argentina in 2006.

Steve: hey
so i was riding my bike past the park. I see these two highschool boys fighting.

GN: hey

Steve: About 50 students, mostly from their school are watching.
So I ride my bike up in between the two and say "What's going on?!?"
In spanish

GN: hmm.

Steve: They stop fighting because they are surprised. I look at the crowd of students and I yell at them. I say "You all aren't doing anything!"
I see one girl laughing. This infuriates me
I yell even louder, "La violencia no es comico!!"
"Violence isn't funny."
All the students turn and start walking away.
They are scared of me now.
I leave.

GN: hug

Steve: But it is still bothering me. So I turn around and ride my bike back
I want to find out what school they go to and talk to the school and find out why the hell they aren't teaching students how to solve problems without violence. And why they aren't teaching the others to stop fights instead of just standing there watching, like it is a television show.
I wanted to say violence isn't enertertainment but that word is hard to pronounce in Spanish.
When they see me riding back they hurry to get away from me. One girl almost starts runnng. Maybe she did even.
Some younger boys were still standing around. I rode up to them and said kind of softly "Excuse me..." and they came over and talked to me.
I asked them what the boys were fighting about and they said they were angry at each other. But they didn't know anything else. I asked them what school they went to but they kind of mumbled.
I tried to look on their shirts to see what it said but it was hard to read.
I could tell they went to some rich private, Catholic school
I thanked them and then they thanked me. They weren't afraid of me anymore.
First I told them that I didn't know why the school wasn't teaching them that violence isn't the way to solve problems.
Of course instinctively they know this.
The schools just have to reinforce it
u know?

GN: yeah.

Steve: thanks for listening
im gonna post this
i needed to get it all out

GN: no one pays attention though.

my school does and everyone fights and encourages people to fight anyways

The younger boys I talked to weren't afraid of me when I went back. They were a little cautious, but they saw by my body language that I wasn't going to hurt them. So they approached me. They also know that what I did was the "right" thing to do. They know this. Kids know what is "right" and "wrong." We just have to reinforce it. And discourage them from the "wrong" things. Based on my experience, some of these younger boys will now forever remember what I did and admire me. I didn't do it for that reason though. I did it impulsively. Daniel Goleman thinks that acting impulsively is a sign of low emotional intelligence. But what would he have done? I think it was ok, and even a "good" thing, to act impulsively to stop the fight.

Please also read this article about EI and acting impulsively.