Adversity- Something to Appreciate or Despise?
BANG! A gun is fired from down the hall, and one can hear the panicked screams of children and adults alike. There is a shooter in the school. You only have a minute at most before the shooter makes his way down to your classroom. It’s too late for a lockdown. Children are crying and you can’t calm them down. You feel like wailing and crawling under your desk like the child in the corner is doing, but you can’t. You’re the adult in this situation and you have to act like it. The door is turning. You freeze. The shooter steps into the room and you feel like hell just froze over. Why? Because the shooter is your son. The man you spent 15 hours in labor with is now pointing a gun at you. Why? Because you’re standing in front of a class of 25 first graders refusing to let him hurt them. It’s your life or theirs. You’ve had a good life, right? You’ve had the chance to experience life and all it has to offer. The kids standing behind you sobbing and shaking in fright however? They haven’t had the chance to experience high school let alone the rest of their lives. Sad isn’t it? At this moment, you don’t care that you haven’t finished your coffee or washed the breakfast dishes. You don’t care that your bed is unmade or that you left the door unlocked this morning. Things that seemed so important months, days, or even hours ago seem trivial compared to what is happening right now. All you care about is keeping those kids safe. It’s your life or theirs. And in this moment, nothing is more important than those poor, innocent kids. You pick them.
“Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.” In stressful situations, some people rise to the occasion while others buckle under the pressure. For the most part, people are able to rise above the hardships they face and channel it into a positive experience that is beneficial to not only themselves, but to others around them. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Every once in a while, somebody comes along who can’t handle the metaphoric lemons that life throws at them and decides to transform all that pain into something negative and sometimes downright malicious. While Horace is absolutely correct in saying that adversity can be a positive thing, he is wrong to assume that this is always the case. While the majority of the human population is able to overcome adversity and make it a positive experience, there is always someone who will find a way to make themselves the victim of a cruel life and inflict their pains on others.
There are always two sides to every story. In every good story ever written, there needs to be a protagonist and an antagonist. Not everyone can be the teacher who sacrificed herself so that her students would live. While there are the Victoria Leigh Soto’s in the world, there are also the Adam Lanza’s, Dylan Klebold’s and the Eric Harris’s. People like them, as horrible as they might be, were once the protagonists of their own stories. We don’t personally know the struggles that any of them had to go through or who the antagonists in their lives were. What we do know, however, is that each of them reacted negatively to their own experiences, choosing to continue the vicious cycle of violence instead of channeling it into something of greater good. Often times, kids who get bullied go on to bully other children as well. Children who go on to become the bully themselves are one reason why Horace is not 100% correct in saying that adversity elicits many talents that would have otherwise been unknown had one’s life been prosperous. By pushing their personal experiences on others, they are portraying harmful characteristics that should remain hidden. Luckily, it is more common for people to grow from the troubles that have haunted them in the past than retrogress and force the same faith upon others. Tragic events like the Holocaust show that no matter...
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