First Baptist Church of Rahway, 177 Elm Ave., Rahway, New Jersey 07065 is a multi-cultural congregation that has a Blended English Service on Sunday Mornings, a Latino Service at 12:00, and a Service in Telugu at 3:30PM. For more information, call (732) 388-8626. Or click here to send an email. If you wish to help the Mission and Ministry of First Baptist financially click the Donate Button.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Battling it Out on the Playground


I hate it when I handle a difficult situation badly. I hate it when I lose my temper or let my feelings get out of control. I want to keep control of my emotions all of the time. Nothing ever good came from me getting angry and yelling at someone. I work hard to make sure that situations with other people do not get out of control. I don’t want to see a good relationship with another person destroyed because I lost my temper. Sometimes I am not so good at this trick. Sometimes I can learn a lesson or two from my children.

I remember a few years back when my son Richard impressed me with his superior conflict resolution skills. One would not think that a seven-year old boy could handle an explosive situation better than his old man. But one can be wrong. Richard was playing at a playground jungle gym. There was another boy playing there and he started to push Richard around a bit. I was standing nearby and when I saw what was happening I started to get mad.

When I was growing up, I was picked on like most people. I was picked on because I was thin and therefore an easy mark for larger kids. But I was also an easy mark because of my temper. I had a very short fuse and it didn’t take much of a spark to light it. As a result I was picked on a lot and I got into a lot of playground fights. To this day I am very sensitive about my children getting picked on by other kids. When I see this happening the old angry feelings start to rise up within me and boil over. I lose control quickly when I see my kids in trouble. And so a blowup was coming between me and this kid at the playground.

Then a wonderful thing happened. Richard came to the rescue. Seven year old Richard masterfully handled the situation and put me to shame. Instead of getting mad he started to talk to the other boy about how they could play together. What appeared to be an explosion suddenly turned into détente. The two boys started to play together while I stood there dumbfounded. How did this little kid handle this so well when I at 37 years old was not capable of diffusing the problem?

I have rarely been more proud of Richard than on that day. He showed me that he is on his way to becoming a terrific young man. He worked out a solution to a problem by keeping his head, not losing his temper and working together with his antagonist to come to an equitable solution. Anger only rarely solves problems. It usually begets more anger. Diffusing an angry situation takes the ability to be calm in the midst of a storm. It takes a clear head to see a way through the tangle of emotions. Clear thinking produces results. Anger does not produce peaceful coexistence. Working together does.

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