Health & Wellness

The Equality of Unfairness

765012a8fbb11a65309c_best_1558ff8cb2327f0a7bde_best_7dfbf366e54c4e56122b_2014_10_23_headshots-7325.jpg
Credits: Yasmeen Anderson
765012a8fbb11a65309c_best_1558ff8cb2327f0a7bde_best_7dfbf366e54c4e56122b_2014_10_23_headshots-7325.jpg

Growing up, the only time I ever heard that my friends and I were different was when someone was trying to start a problem. I’m short, my friend Kevin is African-American and my friend David is half-Jewish and half-Catholic. Growing up, we were a delectable trio for some school age malcontent. By the time I entered the fourth grade I had learned that life wasn’t fair and although ‘I was not interested in conflict, conflict was interested in me,’ to paraphrase Leon Trotsky.

No one gave us a break. In fact, each of us was sought out by an angry or frustrated party looking to improve their social standing at one point or another. Sometimes they even tried to drive us apart with rumors, but we learned to stick together. We recognized that this was the normal course of growing up, and we weren’t always 100% innocent.

There was one important exception when we were growing up: we, as a group of peers, often settled our own grievances. No one had taken that away from us. Being the smaller of the three, I mastered the art of gathering people to my cause quickly. Over time, disagreements were settled and all parties shared the same circle of friends by our own doing, not because someone made us.

Sign Up for E-News

Shortly after I finished grade school, modern society became obsessed with micromanaging these important life lessons and tried to replace them with a saccharin version of reality. And what did kids do in response? They became more creative and more secretive. Conflicts that could be seen on the playground and in the classroom went dark and viral with cyberbullying and to a greater and more deadly effect.

Micromanaging social interactions left society so busy placing a fence around every tree, that it has forsaken the forest of humanity. Taking away a child’s control of his own immediate physical safety renders them defenseless and can even ingrain learned helplessness. What’s more, not educating children about how to control their own space puts undue pressure on educators who then need to micromanage each dispute. The more rules, the more enforcement is needed. The more enforcement needed, the less time there is for education.

Childhood events are messy, but through positive peer pressure and cool, subjective analysis by good teachers and parents, children can and do learn to handle the social rigors of growing up. Better to learn early on, when the stakes are lower, that some days you are the predator and others the prey. Some days the hero and others asleep at the wheel--that’s called being human.

Helen Keller said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” With heat and pressure character is forged and lessons learned: prepare, by staying ever vigilant;  prevent, by confirming intent and avoiding conflict at all costs; protect, by taking appropriate action. A child must do these things, regardless of the outcome. A child cannot learn the lesson if it is co-opted by an adult or authority figure.

While studying philosophy at Drew University I read some of the Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes. He states:

NATURE hath made men so equal in the faculties of body and mind as that...when all is reckoned together the difference between man and man is not so considerable as that one man can thereupon claim to himself any benefit to which another may not pretend as well as he....the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination or by confederacy with others that are in the same danger with himself.

This is the reality we contend with whether we acknowledge it or not. If an attacker moves in he will not ask if his victim is ready or not, handicapped or whole, weak or strong, rich or poor. In fact, the weaker, smaller, or less attentive someone is, the less work it is for the attacker. Hobbes is right, we are equal, just not in the neat and tidy way society would like us to be.

My objective is to teach students that conflict is not about equality. Through the study of conflict, my students will master their strengths and weaknesses. This is the true equalizer. I tell my students, “I teach you all the same way: differently.” Every student has a ‘handicap’ and an ‘unfair advantage’, it just depends on who is standing across from them.

In the end, the flames of conflict are fueled when we distinguish and distance ourselves from one another. Minding this gap and finding common ground is the best way I’ve found to reduce conflict and amass ‘confederates’.

_______________________________________

Packing Light: "Light extinguishes dark and knowledge extinguishes fear."

This column shares the writing of Darren DeMarco, owner and teacher of karate and self defense at White Tiger Dojo.

About the Author: Darren DeMarco's life work has been teaching karate and self defense. He opened White Tiger Dojo in Berkeley Heights, teaching a traditional style of Okinawan Karate called Isshin Kempo. Today, they use these same martial principles to teach people how to defend themselves in the modern world.

White Tiger Dojo located at 99 Industrial Road, Berkeley Heights, NJ. Contact (908)665-8983 or email darren@whitetigerdojo.com.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Honoring Sacrifice and Service on Memorial Day

May 25, 2018

On Monday, May 28, 2018, our Nation celebrates our most solemn event, Memorial Day.  In Berkeley Heights tradition, we will honor those who sacrificed themselves so that we may continue to live in the greatest country on earth.  I invite all residents to join us for the parade festivities and, most importantly, gather at our Veteran’s Park for a brief ceremony.

America has ...

Logic and Sensible Spending Take Priority

Logic.  It's what people use when endeavoring to complete things in the most sensible order.  Everyone knows that "logic" means sequencing events in a formulaic, predictable manner.  We learned this at a young age, as we observed Star Trek on TV and came to understand why Captain James T. Kirk relied on Spock as his first officer because his strategic plans were ...

I will draw on my experience to deliver a great future for Berkeley Heights

I am impressed with the day-to-day leadership of our Mayor and Town Council and I hope to help them continue to do great work. As I have been doing my research since deciding to run for a seat on our Town Council, I have learned a few things about all the work that has been happening in recent years.  For example, while plans for the Stratton House development were recently announced, our ...

How the Holi Color Festival Came to Summit; Event Planner Shares Her Story

May 21, 2018

Back in India, Holi was a holiday observed by almost all states. The holiday would be declared at all educational institutes and offices. It's a two day spring festival also known as the festival of colors. The festival signifies the victory of good over bad, the arrival of spring with the fragrance of flowers in the air and aura of warmth and happiness.

Holi festival is the time ...

Rain Didn't Dampen Our Vision for Art in the Park

The rain did not dampen our vision for Art in the Park!! Columbia Middle School was transformed into an art paradise, filled with an array of artists whose talents are nothing short of magical! The Peppertown Park Art in the Park Committee would like to thank all of the artists who came to our very first Art in the Park event. We are in awe of your creativity and immeasurable talents! You all ...

Union County College President Received Prestigious Award from Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society

May 26, 2018

CRANFORD – Union County College’s President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin was one of 35 college presidents from throughout the nation to receive a Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction during PTK Catalyst 2018, the Society’s annual convention, in Kansas City, Missouri, held from April 19-21.

The award honors college presidents who have demonstrated ...

A Better Summer with the Y: Join by May 31 and Have Your Joiner Fee Waiver!

From now through the end of May, new members joining the Berkeley Heights YMCA will have their joiners fee waived, because at the Y we believe that everyone deserves to reach their health and wellness goals. With a savings of up to $95, you can focus on the perks of being a Berkeley Heights YMCA member:

Unlimited attendance to more than 100 group fitness classes a week
• State of ...

The New Providence 2018 Memorial Day Parade Begins at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 28

The Borough of New Providence and American Legion Post #433 invite all to attend this year’s Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 28, 2018.   The parade will begin at 10:00 a.m., rain or shine, at Springfield and Central avenues. Post 433 and the New Providence Community Activities Department have co-sponsored the town’s Memorial Day Parade for more than 65 years. The parade, ...

Fallout Continues from Lawsuit Against Mountainside; Police Chief on Administrative Leave

May 19, 2018

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Police Chief Allan Attanasio is the latest member of the police department to suffer repercussions from a complaint filed against the borough on May 11.  Attanasio, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was “placed on administrative leave,” on Thursday by Borough Administrator and former Police Chief James Debbie, said  Lt. Joseph ...

Cycling Champ Laura Van Gilder Returns to Somerville Memorial Day to Defend Race Title

May 26, 2018

 

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Laura Van Gilder, 54-year-old cycling champion from Cresco, Pa., will return to defend her title at the 75th annual Tour of Somerville on Memorial Day, attempting an unprecedented fifth win in the 25-mile women's race, just one of several races that begin at 10:30 a.m..

The Kugler-Anderson Tour of Somerville, often referred to as the Kentucky Derby of ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, May 26, 9:00 AM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Aunt Carrie's Attic Sale

Giving Back Other

Sat, May 26, 11:00 AM

Home For Good Dog Recue, Berkeley Heights,

Dog Adoption

Other

Sat, May 26, 2:00 PM

New Providence

Memoir Writing Workshops @ NPML

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, May 31, 11:30 AM

Canoe Brook Country Club, Summit

Fortnightly Club Scholarship Luncheon

Food & Drink Giving Back

Thu, May 31, 1:30 PM

Coppola Ristorante, New Providence

Lunch and Learn: Dental Implants and the ...

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_69a5db118db45d8f5de0_cabaret

Thu, May 31, 7:00 PM

Gov. Livingston Cafeteria, Berkeley Heights

Gov. Livingston Hilltop Players Host Annual Relay ...

The Evaluation of the College Search

It’s is a bizarre time of year as a college counselor as I find myself at both the beginning and end of this process.  Sophomores and juniors are excitedly and idealistically starting to consider what will be important to them in a school.  At the same time, while only separated by a year or two, my seniors have all committed within the past month to a school and have spent the ...

How to Design Your Ideal Retirement

Would you like to design your ideal retirement? Where do you begin? First of all, what does retirement mean to you? If you’re in a relationship, does retirement mean the same to you as it does to your partner? Do you know if your “ideal retirement” is affordable or just a pipe dream?

In past generations, retirement planning didn’t involve very much. You stopped work ...

Don’t Make These Three Mistakes About Social Security

Social Security has been around for decades and it’s not about to disappear. Why? Social Security is not an entitlement ("gift") that can be taken away - it’s a forced savings scheme that Americans pay into in their working years in order to secure a pension for life. Ideally, Social Security should not be your sole source of income in retirement but even comfortable ...