18 Jan 2022

When push comes to shove

When push comes to shove

They were fighting in the corridor. And they were both bigger than I was. Sixteen years old, full of testosterone and with minimal self-control.


Fighting? Well, it was more of a pushing and shoving match. But now they had gripped each other at the shoulders like two elk, antlers locked.


That might not have been a problem if it wasn’t for the class of youngsters looking on at them, with a mixture of awe and fear in their eyes. As the only teacher in the vicinity, I had to do something, if only to protect the little’uns. I walked towards the two elk.


“Oh, and what are you doing?” I enquired as though they were idly playing marbles.


They grunted at each other and spoke to me in single words


“He. Started. It”, they both said.


I was sure I would never get to the bottom of whether it was Push or Shove that started it. And I didn’t care. All I wanted was for them to stop, and for me to avoid getting hurt in the process.


“What made you push him?”, I asked one, and immediately asked the other. “What made you shove him?” “He said I was a …”, garbled one, and shoved.


“He called me a …”, stuttered the other, and pushed.


“Oh, and how did that make you feel?”, I asked them both. By now they were standing almost still. Their arms were still locked around each other’s shoulders. They had stopped struggling. It had become more of a hug. It was getting embarrassing. I grabbed the advantage.


“And how often will you let him decide how you feel?” I asked them both. Neither could answer. I’m not sure I could have answered the question either.


“Aww, we’re just friends”, they both said and hugged each other. In a manly way.


“Well, go and be friends elsewhere,” I suggested. “You are scaring the little’uns.”


They galloped down the corridor and outdoors, to be friends out there I supposed.


It was at that moment I became fully aware that the little'uns were looking at me with a mixture of awe and fear in their eyes.


“Line up outside your classroom,” I ordered. They scuttled into line and stood there like tin soldiers and waited for their class teacher to arrive.


Courtesy of Martin Richards. 

When push comes to shove
Written by:
Martin Richards

Upcoming Events

We host plenty of events for our members, i.e. personal and professional growth workshops, conversations about effective parenting, improving educational outcomes, and improving mental and emotional well-being. You may not want to miss our popular virtual forest walk and heart-to-heart conversations in English, Arabic, and Hindi/Urdu.