Where does violence begin?
Often, when people think about violence, they think of murder or rape involving gangs and hate groups. There are some behaviors, however, that have been identified as precursors to violence that can be seen in the average person. Jim Bryngelson with the Courtesy and Respect, Empower project has identified behaviors that should be addressed early on in order to reduce and prevent violence. These behaviors are put downs, trash talk, threats, and bullying. Many times, these behaviors are the result of anger, and ineffective ways of dealing with this emotion. These behaviors also begin at a very early age. There are continuous reports of bullying and threats in elementary schools and the tragic results of some extreme cases. Many schools are trying to develop programs and strategies to manage this growing problem. One of the first steps in reducing these behaviors is to first recognize that these behaviors are occurring, and then to have the courage to address and change them rather than trying to excuse or blame away these actions. One role for adults to play is to be mindful of their own behavior in front of young people. Adults can be models of good behavior and set the expectation for young people to strive for. By recognizing early behaviors many serious problems, such as domestic violence, can be reduced and prevented.