I had some epiphanies this weekend, and I really wanted to tell someone about it. It has a long story behind it, but please read it all if your going to respond.
I was camping with my scout troop this weekend and some drama started up. One kid in our troop has been really touchy for a long while, and every little thing was bothering him. And, unfortunately, he was our senior patrol leader (head honcho). On our last day, as we were cleaning up the camp sight by doing a police line (we all line up and walk across the camp and pick up trash). Me and the touchy kid were walking further down the path, continuing the line and picking up trash when a leader called him over. I followed along sense I figured he’d need me too. As we walked back, the leader continued to call us, and when we got to him he said to the kid “how far would you have gotten if I didn’t keep calling your name?” and he kind of laughed to himself. He didn’t need us to do anything, he just wanted to say that. I saw the kids face, and I was filled with empathy. The words hurt me, but they devastated him, and I knew the feeling. As he walked slowly away (completely out of the camp sight mind you) I barely herd him mumbling to himself.
I took it in my hands to tell the leader that he hurt the kid, and he said “life’s too short, if he can’t take a joke then too bad.” I tried to explain myself differently, hoping to make him relies the severity of his actions and he patted me on the shoulder, smiled and said “life’s too short.” and walked away. He didn’t listen to what I had to say.
A few minutes later he pulled me aside and said I was out of line and I didn’t know all the “facts“. He proceeded to tell me how my dad asked him to do something because he was upset, and proceeded to tell me of all the kids faults that morning. I was trying to get my point across that the “facts” didn’t matter, but I was never able to because he kept interrupting me to defend his own side. At one point the said “what does it look like to everyone else when I tell a joke that hurts someone and you say ‘YOUR WRONG!’” that offended me a lot because I didn’t say that around anyone else and I definitely didn’t raise my voice at all.
About 20 min. later, my dad pulled me aside and said he saw that leader talking to me. He then told me about the predicament I put him in because I was undermining his commands, in defending the kid, and I could only hurt him by doing so. I tried to say that the kid was completely gone and couldn’t have heard a word I said, but that didn’t mean much. I’m pretty sure he was trying to get me to understand something else anyway.
It was about this time that we realized the kid never came back. We searched everywhere for him and couldn’t find him. I walked by the adult leader that told the joke and said “now will you take my words to hart, that maybe you hurt him a little more than you intended?” he didn’t say anything and I walked away.
We eventually found him crying on a hill pretty far away from our campsite.
After we found him, my dad noticed I was still angry and took me aside and talked to me again. It was a much nicer talk than both the other times (which is why I really love my father), but at one point I noticed he twisted my words. He said half of something I said earlier and turned it from a suggestion to an attack. I said “if your going to quote me, make sure you finish the quote.” he said “that’s what you said word for word.” and I said, “I know, but I finished it ‘that is what he perceives, not what is actually happening.’” that was the first time I’ve ever wedged my point into an argument with an adult. He was speechless for 2 seconds and came back with and apology.
Unfortunately I made the point I wasn’t intending to make, which was that I was not wrong in trying to defend the kid. The conversation ended with my dad telling me it was not my business to get into and that if that little thing said hurt him that badly he shouldn’t be defended, he needs to get a good kick in the pants and relies that he’s hurting everyone else by running away and not being a leader.
This is where I had my epiphany. It struck me hard and soon put a smile on my face. How could I have been in the wrong, I was defending a friend who did nothing wrong and was struck down for it. I did put myself in a bad situation, but I made sure that the situation I put myself in could either help everyone or hurt only me. In the end, it did hurt only me, but I can take it, and I would gladly take the risk again.
I had another realization when I got home, but it was much smaller and probably won’t be true in many other situations. When the adult leader was talking to me, I recognized the argument, but couldn’t tell from where. Soon I realized that he said what I, or any other teenager would have said. He wasn’t looking at himself in the light I was shining on him, he was just defending his intentions. The “facts” he told me were just justifications that his intentions were good. But my side wasn’t about his intentions at all. I was telling him that his actions caused harm, and that he should try to fix it and avoid it in the future. I didn’t say anything about his intentions, and yet that’s all he defended. He didn’t have enough respect for me to take my words to hart, which sense he’s an adult and I’m not, I got punished for it.
My second realization was made in anger while I was reflecting on these events, but I hold true to my first epiphany. It’s a selfless code that I hope to continue supporting with my actions.