Breaking Up A Fight Between My Two Sons

Posted by Kozo Hattori on Mar 10, 2017
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[Below was my opening for last Wednesday's Awakin Circle in Santa Clara.]

I'm just amazed at the timing of these Awakin Readings for me. Just the other week, I had a similar experience of encountering aggression. I walked into my son's room and my older son had hit (or poked or something) my younger son and my younger son was screaming and crying. I ran in there, held my younger son and I yelled at my older son, "What are you doing? How many times did I tell you you don't hit people?" He was like, "He was antagonizing me." (He's got all these fancy vocabulary words for the ways people torture him.)

I said, "No matter what he did, you can't hit him!" I was almost in a fighter mode, ready to hit him myself. I didn't do that, but I had that energy like, "You do that again and you're going to get swatted." I know that energy, because that's the energy I grew up with. My son responded and said, "Oh, I'm sorry, Dad, I'm sorry." In that moment, it occurred to me that the person who needed the most love and compassion was the one who was doing the hitting!

Sure enough, a couple days later, same situation. I ran into the room, my younger son's crying, my older son had hit him or poked him.

This time, instead of going to my younger son and holding onto him, I went to my older son and I put my arm around my older son. I said, "Son, what's wrong? Why do you feel the need to strike out? To hurt your younger brother?" I could feel him, because I had my arm around him. Initially, he was tense and then he softened and started crying. He said something like, "He's touching my things and I told him not to." He was crying. I said, "Okay. I'm sorry, but let's try not to hit other people. Maybe you can come tell Daddy and Daddy will give you both a hug."

Something shifted there. Something really magical shifted.

My older son stopped hitting. He no longer carried that same energy. And I realized that's the energy I inherited from my stepfather, that's the energy that I was passing onto him. It's not surprise that he lashes out at other people because that's what I used to do to him.

One other side benefit I noticed was that my younger son used to provoke my older son so that he'd get hit but then get cuddled while older brother would get scolded. It was a win-win for him -- take a little hit and now he's the golden child. But when I hugged my older son, the younger one stopped provoking him as much as well.

Through this experience, I felt this wonderful healing that goes seven generations forward and seven generations back. I felt like I was healing my stepfather, I was healing the people who beat him, I was healing my Hawaiian relatives, and also I was healing my son and his future children -- because they won't have this energy.

Who's the person that needs the most love, compassion, kindness? The one who is suffering overtly or the one who is the one that is lashing out? When I read this passage, the realization immediately hit me: "Okay, universe, I get it. Go to the one who needs the most compassion."

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Comments (5)

  • Brinda Govindan wrote ...

    Beautiful.....thank you so much for sharing.

  • Trishna Shah wrote ...

    Wow Kozo, what a beautiful shift in you as a father which ripples into your children's lives, thanks so much for sharing! Would love to share this in a Kindful Kids newsletter coming up!

  • Nandini Iyer wrote ...

    Such a moving episode, Kozo! Reminded me of the quote that every action we take is either an expression of love, or a call for love.

  • Shaona wrote ...

    Hi Jett's dad!!!! I'm Jett's classmate! Just saying. I love this article and I think you should spread your wisdom to the world. You should Publish a book about parenting!

  • sunita Lama wrote ...

    I have a teenage son whose anger worries me but now i know how to channel it in the right direction. Thank you so much.