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Misunderstandings – February 20, 2016 – By Danny J. Stevens

This year I have renewed a goal to learn to speak, read and write French. I want to learn and add new languages, least to learn the language well enough and continue to use the language so that I have 4 or 5 languages which I can converse and I am also hoping to understand the culture. This year work on French. My maternal Grandmother, whom I never had the opportunity to meet, spoke French, originally came from Quebec and her family was from France. In following years I want to learn Spanish and add to my understanding of German. I haven’t decided what language should follow, but I hope to know 4 or 5 fluently. The more, the better.

Knowledge and a desire to learn can help us to understand some of the times when just by being who we are others can perceive something unique. Being aware of cultural differences can also contribute to avoid, hopefully doing or saying something that is offensive.

I was reminded of this when I minded my own business and a family sat behind me. The child that was with them was having a difficult time and was screaming and crying. I was attempting to keep focused on writing and listening to music, but occasionally it would be such a noise that it would resurrect the dead. I mumble to myself but honestly most the time I was involved in my writings that it was not an issue. Then wham something happened to my left. I had people screaming at me, and two police officers were asking me questions. I was unaware that I was about to be assaulted by the young father thought I was threatening his child. Wow, how did this even transpire?

The young father thought I said something about using a weapon. I admit I have taken courses in self-defense and I believe am quite capable of disarming or protecting myself if the need arises. I, however, am truly a gentle giant and the thought of fighting or touching weapons is not who I am. I don’t partake in contact sports or watch them for this reason. I avoid violence at all possible times. I was forced to participate in wrestling in junior high and if I wouldn’t try to pin the other guy then let him pin me. I don’t like being put into those situations. So needless to say I didn’t do well in this part of the class. I would rather play cribbage or other non-violent games. I also prefer to meet new friends or possible friends.

The wife or girlfriend saved me from this young father’s blow, which is what I saw. People around me assumed I threatened the young man and were mean, angry and yelled at me. Me, I was confused! Still am, I don’t know what he heard that he thought I was endangering his child’s life. I know I was working on a writing project and might have mumbled to myself. However it was my thoughts, wasn’t directed to anyone and I attempted just to let other things bother my thinking.

For me, it was a lesson not to be so focused on what I am doing that I am not aware of what is transpiring around me. Also, it is important to be very careful in body language, reactions to external events and be sure I am not mumbling to myself. We affect those around us daily. Who knows what it is going to take to set someone off as feeling offended? It’s important to be aware and if you feel the person or persons around you are unstable then move. I felt safe where I was but still need to be more aware. I also have to be sure that what I am doing doesn’t have the opportunity to offend anyone. If what I do offends anyone it was never intended to so.

Take away from this are always to be aware. To always be in tuned to the environment. Even if others are being disruptive, it is best just to leave potential conflicts. The sad part of this incident for me besides all the negative staring and judgments from people who were also unaware the dealing with the questions and negative responses of those around me left me upset. Rather than a calm ride home, I had heartburn, was feeling poorly and misunderstood. Negative reactions and memories stay with us much longer than the should. We feel violated and wronged which may be true, but it is important to let these feelings go and get back to calm and peace as soon as possible. Negative emotions cause the body to breakdown and promote feeling worse and worse.

Yes, I am sorry if someone mistook any action, look, thought or word as a threat. That is not who I am or what I have been writing about for so many years! I will work to be more aware of my environment and look to being the peace I seek.

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