On our way home from piano lessons yesterday afternoon, we came across an instance of what appeared to be road rage in our neighborhood. The children and I witnessed the final scenes between two young women. I was able to get a picture on my cell phone camera of one of the cars before the young lady fled away. Because I had to get the boys home quickly for a school webinar, I promised I would quickly return. When I returned to the scene, the police were pleased with the printouts I had brought with me of the cell phone pictures. It turns out the witnesses had made a mistake in one of the numbers on the plate. They asked if I would come down to the station to make a written statement after taking care of the family's dinner and dealing with the school class that was going on at home.
While I was preparing dinner, I had the children type out their testimonies of what they had personally seen of the incident. The focus was to be on actual observations, not interpretations or assumptions of people's characters or intentions. This turned out to be a marvelous activity for them. Both of the boys are participating in a novel writing class this year, and John was especially interested in adding embellishments and expressive vocabulary. We had to edit out the inferences. In the end, the police had enough information from my pictures, and the other witnesses and our testimonies were not necessary.
What did we learn from this incident?
* A home school mom will turn just about anything into a learning experience.
* We need to work more in our science labs on making observations and less on inferences.
* The situation was an excellent object lesson for not controlling anger and irritation with others.
* Four people can observe the exact same situation and yet notice very different details.
An angry man stirs up dissension,
and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.
In your anger, do not sin.
My dear brothers, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak and slow to become angry.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret--it leads only to evil.
A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.