Perception Story: The Confrontation

by on January 10th, 2015
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Here is a story scenario you can use to help teach about Perception. The story is called “The Confrontation.”

This conflict resolution story will be helpful to all students who find themselves being put-down by others. It will aid them in getting a healthier perspective about the motivations and strategies of some of their fellow students. Joshua’s best friend Zach leaned over to Dustin and complained about their classmate George asking a dumb question in math class. Later on, Dustin purposely told George what Zach had said about him. The next day, George found Zach and pushed and hit him in revenge before running off. Will the confrontation keep going, or will the boys find a way to make amends?

Click this link to read Sections 1-3 of Middle School lesson plan: The Confrontation

To read the prequel story, click the following:

Perception Story: Joshua’s Experiment in Sending Positive Peer Pressure

Section 4: Read Perception story: The Confrontation

A. Teacher reads story to the class called “The Confrontation.”

B. Story Description: Joshua’s best friend Zach leaned over to Dustin and complained about their classmate George asking a dumb question in math class. Later on, Dustin purposely told George what Zach had said about him. The next day, George found Zach and pushed and hit him in revenge before running off. Will the confrontation keep going, or will the boys find a way to make amends?

The Confrontation

© 2001 by Debbie Dunn

Chapter 1: George attacks Zach in the hallway

Joshua was walking down the hall and noticed something strange. His best friend Zach had just gone reeling backwards. Joshua rushed up and asked, “Are you okay? What happened?”

Zach was standing there, looking kind of shocked. Dazedly, he turned to Joshua and said, “See that guy up there with the red shirt?”

Joshua looked where Zach was pointing and then said, “Yeah.”

Zach explained, “Well, he just walked up to me, punched me really hard in the arm, then pushed me backwards, and then went zipping off.”

Joshua looked up to see the guy in the red shirt looking back at them. He was kind of grinning and looking triumphant. Joshua turned back to Zach and asked, “Do you know him?”

Zach said, “Vaguely. I think his name is George. He’s in my math class.”

Joshua said, “Well, first things first. How’s your arm?”

Zach said, “I’ll live, but it is a bit sore.”

Joshua asked, “So, why do you think he did it?”

Seeing Zach’s puzzled look, Joshua explained, “Remember what my Dad said?”

Zach asked, “Which thing? He said a lot of good things.”

Joshua replied, “You know: EVERY ACTION IS EITHER AN EXPRESSION OF LOVE OR A CRY FOR LOVE.”

Zach responded, “Well, George was NOT EXPRESSING LOVE by hitting and pushing me.”

Joshua nodded. “I agree. So he’s obviously CRYING FOR LOVE from somebody. I just wonder … .”

Zach observed Joshua’s knowing look. He asked, “What?”

Joshua said, “Well, I wonder if he’s looking for more approval from you?”

Zach asked in puzzlement, “What do you mean? I don’t get it.”

Joshua asked, “Well, did you bump into him?”

Zach said, “No.”

Joshua asked, “Have you ever put him down in class or anytime?”

Zach thought for a bit and then said, “Not that I can remember.”

Joshua probed, “Have you ever rolled your eyes at him or made a face at him?”

Zach said, “No, …, uh, …, wait. Yesterday in class! He asked the teacher this really dumb question about a really easy formula problem. So instead of giving us time to do our homework in class, she droned on and on, explaining that problem to the whole class instead of just to George. So I kind of made a face at him. I probably rolled my eyes too.”

Joshua asked, “Did you say anything to anybody that he might have overheard or sensed?”

Zach tried to think back to that class period. Then the whole scene came back to his mind’s eye. He said, “Oh, yeah, I did. I turned to Dustin and said, ‘Oh, man! There goes George wasting our time with his dumb questions again!’”

Joshua asked, “What did Dustin say?”

Zach responded, “He kind of laughed. He nodded his head like he agreed with me and then looked away.”

Joshua asked, “Did you say it loud enough for George to hear?”

Zach said, “No, I whispered it pretty quietly so that only Dustin could hear.”

Joshua looked thoughtful as he muttered, “Hmmmmmmm!”

Zach asked, “What?”

Joshua said, “Well, I suppose a couple of things could have happened.”

Zach asked, “Like what?”

Joshua said, “Well, maybe Dustin and George are really good friends, and he told George out of loyalty.”

Zach thought about this for awhile. He reviewed in his mind all his memories of Dustin and George. Finally, he said, “I don’t think that’s it as I’ve rarely seen the two of them together. Plus, if they were such good friends, you would think George would have been at Dustin’s party.”

Joshua said, “True. Unless he just couldn’t go that night for some reason.”

Zach reasoned, “No, remember? Dustin was bragging about that every guy he invited had come to the party. He also said that ‘every guy at his party was drinking beer except us two wimps’.”

Joshua said, “Oh, yeah. I do remember that. He did sound rather ticked off by that. So I guess it must be the other possibility I thought of then.”

Zach asked, “What?”

Joshua said, “Dustin wanted to get back at either you or me or both of us for NOT giving in to his negative peer pressure.”

Zach said, “Oh! And when I put George down, Dustin saw an indirect way to get his revenge on me.”

Joshua agreed, “Exactly!”

Joshua and Zach had more time than usual to talk as they were heading to gym class. They were able to continue their conversation as they changed into their gym uniforms and then started jogging around the track.

After one lap, Joshua said, “I’ve been thinking, Zach.”

Zach asked, “What?”

Joshua said, “Well, you said Dustin was trying to get revenge on you.”

Zach agreed, “Yeah! What of it?”

Joshua explained, “Well, that just confirms what my Dad taught me.”

Zach asked, “What?”

Joshua said, “Dustin did NOT feel loved when we said no to his beer.”

Zach interrupted anxiously and said, “Wait a minute! You’re NOT saying we should have taken his beer, are you?”

Joshua shook his head no and exclaimed, “No way! I’m just saying that perhaps we should have found another way to help Dustin feel good.”

Zach asked, “Like how?”

Joshua said, “Well, we could have bragged to Dustin of what a great party we thought it was. You know, stuff like that.”

Zach smiled and said, “Oh, I get it! Make him feel like we think he’s a good guy.”

Joshua nodded his head. Coincidentally, just then, Dustin came jogging up. Dustin kind of gloated as he said, “Hi, you guys!”

Joshua said, “Oh, hi Dustin! We were just talking about you.”

Chapter 2: Joshua and Zach talk things over with Dustin

Dustin got kind of hunch-shouldered and looked suspicious. He defensively said, “Oh, yeah? What did you say?”

Joshua looked at Zach. Zach understood. He quickly said, “Yeah!

We were just talking about how much fun your party was. You certainly know how to throw a great one!”

Joshua agreed, “Yeah! I had a blast!”

Dustin visibly relaxed. He also kind of puffed up in pride. He said, “Yeah! I’m glad you liked it!”

Then Dustin recalled the real reason why he had jogged over by them in the first place. Dustin said to Zach, “I hear you wimped out again!”

Zach asked, “Wimped out? How?”

Dustin said, “First, you refused to drink my beer at the party.”

Zach laughed and asked, “What?!!! And waste my two favorite snacks – Pepsi and chips? No way!!! I can’t resist Pepsi and chips! And the chips you picked out were the best!” Zach played up about the Pepsi and the chips as much as he could to try to throw Dustin off from going on about the beer again.

Joshua said, “Yeah! The Pepsi and chips were great! So what else are you concerned about?”

Dustin said, “Oh, yeah! George said he hit you, but you just stood there. So why did you wimp out like that?”

Zach stopped jogging for a second and stared at Dustin in surprise.

He suddenly wished he had the easy way with words that Joshua did.

At the Coach’s whistle, Zach started jogging again. In the meantime, Joshua asked, “Hey, Dustin?”

Dustin asked, “Yeah?”

Joshua asked, “Did George say why he hit Zach?”

Dustin nodded. “Uh, …, yeah! He said, …, uh, …, that Zach made fun of him yesterday during math class.”

Zach said, “You know, I was wondering about that. I guess I whispered it to you louder than I thought.”

Dustin looked uncomfortable all of a sudden. He didn’t want Zach to know that he was the one who told George.

Zach said, “You know, Joshua and Dustin. I think I should go apologize to George. I’m NOT saying that his hitting me was right, but I had NO right to put him down. I must have made him feel really bad. Gosh, Joshua! I did just what your Dad was always talking about. I wonder which I was doing when I said George was asking a dumb question again.”

Joshua commented, “Well, it doesn’t sound like you were EXPRESSING LOVE.”

Dustin exclaimed, “Expressing what??? What are you two talking about? What’s all this wimpy-wussy talk about love anyway?”

Joshua and Zach laughed. Joshua said, “You know, Dustin. It probably does sound pretty strange if you haven’t heard the whole story.”

Dustin asked, “What story?”

Joshua explained, “Well, my Dad always taught me that EVERY ACTION IS EITHER SOMEONE EXPRESSING LOVE OR CRYING FOR LOVE.”

Dustin grunted and asked, “Huh?”

Zach explained, “Okay! I kind of put George down. I said something like, ‘There he goes, asking dumb questions again.’ I definitely was NOT EXPRESSING LOVE since I was trying to give the idea that he was NOT smart for asking questions I find pretty easy. So I must have been CRYING FOR LOVE instead.”

Dustin asked, “Crying? How so?” Dustin looked extremely puzzled.

Zach looked a bit puzzled too. He asked, “Hey, Joshua? How was I CRYING FOR LOVE there?”

Joshua explained, “Well, my Dad also said that when people put other people down, it’s because those people are either wanting more power, more respect, more approval, or more turf.”

Zach confusion cleared. He said, “Oh, I get it! We could re-phrase that quote to say that ‘EVERY ACTION IS EITHER SOMEONE EXPRESSING LOVE, APPROVAL, OR RESPECT TO OTHERS OR THEIR ACTIONS SHOW THAT THEY ARE CRYING FOR MORE LOVE, APPROVAL, RESPECT, POWER, OR TURF‘.”

Joshua agreed, “That’s a good way to phrase it.”

Zach said, “Okay, Dustin! To be blunt, I was looking for more approval from you.”

Dustin asked, “Approval from me? Why?”

Zach explained, “Well, I felt like I kind of let you down at the party. Don’t get me wrong! I hate beer and don’t intend to drink it or any alcoholic drink. But I was sorry that being true to myself meant disappointing you.”

Dustin said, “Oh! Well, …, you’re fine. I mean, we’re still friends and everything.”

Zach smiled. “Good! I’m glad to hear it. Plus, I guess the other reason I complained about George asking questions is I wanted more time to work on my homework. So I took my disappointment out on George. I sure do owe him an apology.”

Dustin exclaimed, “Wow! That’s kind of a strange way to handle things, …, but, …, it’s okay.”

Joshua smilingly said, “I like it! It makes dealing with put-downs so much easier.”

Dustin asked, “How is that?”

Joshua said, “Well, take you for instance. You called Zach a wimp and a wuss.”

Dustin agreed. “Yeah! What of it?”

Joshua asked, “Did you notice he didn’t get offended?”

Dustin said, “Yeah! I couldn’t manage to get a rise out of him. How come, Zach?”

Zach asked, “How come what?”

Dustin probed, “Why weren’t you offended?”

Zach stared thoughtfully at Dustin. He finally decided to say what he was thinking. “Well, I was too busy kind of feeling sorry for you to be offended.”

Dustin stared in amazement. He was getting kind of tired out – not only from the strange talk, but from all the laps they were running. Nevertheless, he asked, “Feeling sorry for me? About what?”

Zach said, “Well, were you EXPRESSING LOVE, RESPECT, OR APPROVAL by calling me those names?”

Dustin said, “No, I wasn’t.”

Zach commented, “That means it was the opposite then. So you were CRYING FOR LOVE, RESPECT, POWER, OR MORE TURF. That means, you were NOT getting enough of one or more of those things in your life.”

Joshua asked, “Which do you think it was, Dustin?”

Dustin stared. Finally, he said, “Well, I guess, I wanted more POWER and MORE TURF. If I succeed in pushing your buttons and getting you upset, I would feel like I had POWER over you. But it didn’t work ’cause you don’t seem the least bit upset.”

Zach asked, “How do you feel?”

Dustin thought for a bit and then said, “Well, uh, …, I feel okay.”

Joshua said, “Good. But why do you feel okay?”

Dustin said, “I guess because we’re talking things out. That feels kind of good.”

Joshua, Zach, and Dustin grinned at each other and ran in silence for awhile. After completing another lap, Dustin finally said, “Uh, Zach? I think I kind of owe you an apology.”

Zach asked, “How come?”

Dustin said, “Well, I called you those names for one thing.”

Zach smiled. “No problem! It’s already forgotten.”

Dustin added, “Yeah, but, …, uh, …, well, …, I was the one who told George about what you said. I guess I was trying to get MORE TURF OR POWER or something. Uh, …, I’m sorry.”

Zach said, “That’s okay, Dustin. I know that took a lot of courage to be honest like that. I hope I have a lot of courage like you did when I go apologize to George.”

Dustin and Joshua both said at the same time, “You’ll do fine!”

Chapter 3: Zach and George Settle their Differences

Later that day, Zach went up to George and asked, “George, may I talk to you for a moment?”

George immediately got on the defensive, ready to ball up his fists and fight, if necessary. He gruffly asked, “What is it?”

Zach calmly commented, “Well, you hit and pushed me earlier, and I think I know why.”

George asked, “Why?”

Zach said, “Well, I kind of put you down to Dustin in class yesterday. He told you, and you hit me. Is that about right?”

George nodded. “Yeah, it is! So, what of it?!”

Zach said, “Well, I’m really sorry I said what I did. That was wrong. I mean, I don’t understand every formula problem either and have to ask questions too sometimes. I was just disappointed we didn’t get more class time to work on homework, and so I kind of took it out on you.”

George said, “Uh, …, that’s okay. So, are you going to hit me back?”

Zach asked, “Why? What would that prove?”

George explained, “Well, that’s what kids usually do.”

Zach declared, “Yeah, but then I might get suspended for three days and get zeroes on all my assignments. Besides, I kind of provoked you. Don’t get me wrong! I didn’t like you hitting me, but I kind of understood why you did.”

George asked, “So, are you going to tell on me and get me suspended?”

Zach said, “Nah! Tell you what. Why don’t we just shake hands and start over. I won’t put you down anymore and … .”

Zach smiled and waited to see if George would say the words he wanted to hear. George did not disappoint him. George said, “And I won’t hit or push you again. By the way, I’m sorry I did that.”

Zach smiled. “Thanks! No hard feelings!”

Zach stuck out his hand for George to shake. George briefly shook his hand and said, “No hard feelings!”

Then the two boys walked into their math class and went on with their day.

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