I remember the first time I saw one of my parents really angry. Our little fox terrier had bitten my sister near her eye. While the dog ran upstairs, my dad flailed behind her with a newspaper screaming, “I’ll kill that dog!”
My sister ran after him crying, “She didn’t know – she’s just a dog!” while my mother ran after her yelling, “Joe, you’re scaring the hell out of the kids!”
The memory was burned into my brain due to a variety of surprises. I had never heard my mother curse, nor had I ever seen my dad look so angry and uncoordinated at the same time.
In the end, the dog was fast and made it under the couch in record time. But my dad’s knee and his reputation were a little bruised.
Anger usually doesn’t offer up our best photo opportunities . . .
In retrospect, the entire Terry episode was entertaining and if captured on film would have made “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
And the anger that spurred my dad on was passed on to his daughter. That’s right, I have a terrible temper. Many of us do. But we learn, with age, to control it. And while anger is understandable and inevitable in moderate amounts, I get the feeling that in today’s world it’s becoming the emotion of choice.
I read things that are said on the internet, and I am appalled. I listen to comedy roasts where the comments make Don Rickles sound like Gandhi.
Anger is becoming our Super Hero . . .
Remember when Super Heroes were the good guys? Now the dark characters who blow things up wear the capes.
We’re playing with anger. We’re giving it status.
I remember the time I stomped my foot in front of my mom because I wanted something. She told me that if I stomped my foot again, I’d be punished. Because I’ve never been able to help myself, I did it again, accompanied with a sassy “I don’t care if you punish me!”
Mom proceeded to make me stomp each foot twenty times. Each time I stopped, she’d swat the back of my legs.
The worst part was that she read a magazine while I stomped. She’d look up only if she didn’t hear my foot hit the ground.
She gave me no attention, but plenty of negative reinforcement. And, guess what? It worked.
Maybe we should stop giving so much attention to needless, spoiled-rotten bullying anger. You know, the kind of anger that is shallow and backed only by a need for attention.
Let’s tell some of the screamers on news shows that if they scream one more time we’re going to make them scream for an hour. Or let’s tell the cruel people online that they are going to have to write their ugly comment one hundred times on a chalkboard.
I know we can’t do either of those things, but let’s at least stop reading it and watching it.
We can reinforce those who have the courage to write; we make educated comments about those who make political decisions. We can respect those who get on the football field and risk their health every game to entertain us.
Let’s tire of the critics and hail the doers.
Because anger is so 2014.
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