Monday, February 16, 2015

"Anger is poison. You must purge it from your mind or else it will corrupt your better nature." Christopher Paolini

I am always on the the lookout for inspiration and ideas for writing this blog.  I like to give my readers suggestions or questions for reflection they can carry with them through the day.  I also like to think that a person who reads my blog feels happy that he spent the few minutes to read it.

That introduction takes me to my next part, television news, and how it led to this blog.

If you watch the news at all, you know that so many angry people live on our planet, as well as in the United States. Random murders and other acts of violence pepper our newspaper headlines and newscasts; sometimes the perpetrators are labeled as "normal", and other times they are known to be "different." What is "normal"?  What is "different"? And who is to say?  

I think the one common strand in many of these acts of violence seem to stem from the same thing:  anger.

I have been thinking about why everyone is so angry, including children of all ages, and I believe I have narrowed in on a at least a few parts of the answer.  I want to speak to adults first.  In today's world, so many demands are made on our time, and those demands make us feel stressed, overwhelmed, and sometimes, even depressed. We tell ourselves that we can handle whatever life throws at us, because we do not want them to be applied to our lives, so we get angry instead.  Life is so much easier when you can blame someone for your feelings:  the barista at Starbucks made the wrong drink, the carpet cleaner will be late, the boss wants the report on his desk tomorrow, giving no extra time because you are caring for an aging parent.  We could find endless reasons to be angry every day, but it is not healthy for anyone to follow that pattern of behavior.  

Children are also angry. I think that with two parents working and all of a child's days and evenings filled with activities, the child has no "down time" just to enjoy being alone and playing or reading, which causes anger.  Additionally, when a child is presented with angry parents ranting about real or imagined problems of the day, the pattern of seeing and accepting angry behavior becomes acceptable and normal behavior for the child. In other words, angry parents create angry children.  Angry children act out in school, just as angry adults act out in society, which comes back to my statement about violence on television. (By the way, I do not even want to think about the messages parents are sending their children during road rage incidents.)

As a society, what can we do?  I suggest changing lives one person at a time.  When something happens to you that elicits an angry response, take the high road and walk away. Or explain (in a calm manner and a non-threatening tone) why you are displeased, and then move on.  Do I ever get angry?  Of course, but I think before I act.  I realize that not everyone has been gifted with a normal to high IQ, and perhaps that person is doing the best he can do.  I will respectfully say why I feel I have been wronged, and listen when the other person tells his side.  I write letters to explain the facts and my feelings.

Here is a personal example that I have been dealing with for months. I spent hours and hours (over 40) over a two week period because  the data transfer to my new computer was botched.  Some files I really needed for the promotion of my book were lost, and these were files that were guaranteed to transfer with no problem.  When I finally had them in the Outlook program, POOF, they disappeared!  I will not go into all the time I spent on the phone and in the store, but I wrote an email to the CEO of this giant big box company, and I had a phone call from corporate and the local store the next day.  I spoke about the issues the consumer faces, which they never even thought about.  No voices were raised, no threats were made; it was a solid back and forth dialogue about how the store could better serve the customer.  I have a $100 gift card to the store, and I made things better for the next person.

Parents, I taught school for 37 years.  i saw angry students, and then when I met the parents, I knew the apple did not fall far from the tree.  Please think about the impression you are making on your child.  All parents want their children to be happy in life, and showing anger is not going to help your child.  Hugging your child, sharing positive parts of your day and life, and giving yourself a little alone time to sort through your feelings are far better actions than showing anger.

I just want the world to be a little happier, and I am trying to make it happy, one person at a time.  Please join me in this crusade to overcome anger and replace it with kindness.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Rittman Publishing, LLC

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