On Wednesday, we had the privilege of a mutually rewarding discussion on the issue of violence in families and society with nine guests from Harmony House Ltd Hong Kong. Also present at the discussion was our partner, the Society Against Family Violence. It is obvious that wherever violence is present, the safety of all especially the most vulnerable such as the elderly and children must take priority. However, could the manner in which safety is achieved also be a form of violence? Authoritative control maybe be necessary but would it not also perpetuate the message that “might is right”. We offered our perspective that for violence to end, we need a peaceful holding environment that is strong enough to appreciate anger and aggression as gifts – gifts that help individuals, families and communities to lead more fulfilling lives.
July 1 is Youth United Day, an event where we commemorate National Youth Day with our members. Once again, Zouk kindly opened their doors for us to honor our youths who have contributed to the well-being of their community. Some 50 youths across the five neighbourhoods we serve, as well as those from schools and other neighbourhoods were recognised.
To emphasize the significance of their contribution we arranged to meet them this the week before the event. Twenty-four showed up, not exactly sure what the meeting was about and when it was finally clear, they were pleasantly surprised but still a little doubtful of their efforts. A 17-year-old who helps with football training asked us why he deserves the recognition. We told him that when we first met him, he was a shy boy with a fiery temper who often got into trouble with the authorities. However, over the years, he had used his gift of aggression to win soccer matches and to inspire younger footballers.
Come to think of it, if he had not been so aggressive we may not have noticed him as he was on the shy side. When we truly believe that people are gifts, then all that people bring with them can only be good. This belief is an important part of a peaceful holding environment.
When asked why they helped others, a girl shared that the children were helping her to acquire patience and creativity. The children’s inability to sit for long periods were their gift to her, for it enabled her to acquire these qualities. It is never about the teacher giving everything and receiving nothing or the teacher knowing everything and the students knowing nothing. All of us know something and regardless of who or where we are in life; we can give, receive and learn from another member of our community.
Hence, it was extremely heartening when these 24 youths shared that their dream was to build a strong community in their neighbourhoods where everyone could come together to have fun, make friends, learn from and care for each other.
Beyond Social Services uses facilitation every day in their encounters with their communities of need…and finds that each encounter is then resolved in ways that are unexpected, and many times, even joyful.