A couple of weeks back Rachel, our café manager, was going about her tasks as usual, when a few kids reached out to her. Ten-year-old Josias told her that he had lost his wallet and believed that one of his friends had stolen the wallet. She decided to follow them to the location where were playing some board games. She started to become suspicious when eleven-year-old Juan kept repeating that the wallet was not in the Collegium. Her suspicion prompted her to further inquiry with Juan, who after a little while admitted having hid the wallet.
She asked Josias and Juan to sit down for a little chat. She asked them if they were friends and they answered in the positive. She then asked Juan why he hid the wallet which belonged to Josias. He told her that Josias teases him and annoys him constantly and therefore he wanted to give him back the same treatment. Josias denied doing anything to annoy Juan. She reminded both of them that friendship is a very special relationship that they share together. She said to them that it is only with close friends that we can afford to playfully tease one other. However, it is also important that they do not hurt each other’s feelings in the process, and always be aware of where to draw the line. She gave them a few examples about what exactly she meant and they both seem to have been convinced. Finally she asked them if they were still friends and they answered in the positive and shook hands.
I thought this was an interesting incident, which was dealt with fairly and justly. I later spoke to Juan and asked him how he felt about the whole incident. He said to me that he understood that he was wrong, and he should not have hidden the wallet. He also told me that he knew that Rachel was making sure that he did the right thing and assured me that he would not do something like that in future. What pleased me was the fact that Juan realized that he should not act out of indignation based on negative feelings inside him. That can lead to lost friendships and hurting hearts. There is another way to resolve the challenges that arise as part of our being human. We can sit down and respectfully hear one another out, in the presence of trusted, caring friends as needed. It’s nice to see Juan and Josias come in to the Collegium together almost every day since the incident and have a good time with each other.