Love and power and the badly behaved boys on the bus
Therapist David Jurasek’s message on power and love is hugely important both as a global issue and for the two boys on the bus
It was as the boys had a need to do things, to express their personal power, but hadn’t a clue how to go about it or how to control it. Photograph: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
The two boys, aged maybe 10 or 11, pushed through the rest of us to get on to the bus. When they tried to rush past the driver, he told them to get tickets or get off. They paid for their tickets with great reluctance, as though this was a concept that had never before been explained to them. Then they galloped upstairs.
Within half a mile, the driver had stopped the bus and was shouting up the stairs. If they didn’t behave themselves, he warned, they would be put off. I was downstairs so I don’t know what they had been up to.
But shortly before we got to the city centre, about 15 minutes later, they arrived downstairs, where one of them spent his time parading up and down while the other punched the backs of empty seats as if he was in a Rocky movie. When the bus doors opened, they were out and on to the crowded pavement in a flash.
On the way, they deviated for a microsecond to pull open the door of a taxi before they disappeared.
It was as they had a need to do things, to express their personal power, but hadn’t a clue how to go about it or how to control it.
Who knows what upbringing, if any, they’d had?
Hopefully, they will learn and hopefully the learning will not have to be inside a prison, though I am pessimistic about that.
They came into my mind when I was listening to an interview by Ruairí McKiernan on his Love and Courage podcast with David Jurasek. Back in the days of communist rule, Jurasek and his parents crossed mountains at night to escape Czechoslovakia and got asylum in Canada.
Today, he teaches martial arts through his Young Warriors programme in Canadian schools and he also works as a therapist.
A key part of his message is that boys and girls need examples and knowledge of the exercise of both power and love. For most, the examples and knowledge come from parents. Where one parent – usually the father – is out of the picture, it can be harder for them to get that input.
This is not about disrespecting or lamenting single parenthood which, for the most part, is provided by women. A man can be a very valuable father figure in his children’s lives even if he has never lived with their mother. Most men and women know this and, in my experience, will go to a lot of trouble to make sure that children get both perspectives – even when the parents don’t get on. But some men don’t know it – they have no idea how important their very presence in their children’s lives can be, and some women don’t know it either. Sometimes a person, other than a parent, who takes a benevolent interest in a child can give that child a more rounded development.
This all matters greatly. Power without love can be abusive, Jurasek points out. And love without power can leave a person unable to fight their corner. Boys and girls need both.
Ruairí McKiernan’s interview with Jurasek is on the Love and Courage podcast which you can find wherever you get your podcasts or via the links from ruairimckiernan.com.
The interview is well worth a listen. The topic of how to balance power and love is hugely important both as a global issue and as an issue for those two boys on the bus.
On a separate but, I guess, not unrelated topic, an event called Men’s Rites of Passage is to be held in Kiltegan, Co Wicklow, this July. Similar events are held in continental Europe and in North America. According to the organisers, “the event is aimed at men (regardless of age, race, religion, sexuality etc) who want to explore their own masculinity/spirituality in the company of like-minded men in a safe yet challenging environment under the guidance of a leadership team”. More than 5,000 men worldwide have attended these five-day events. You can find out more at malejourney.ie
– Padraig O’Morain (@PadraigOMorain) is accredited by the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. His latest book is Kindfulness. His daily mindfulness reminder is free by email (firstname.lastname@example.org)