I taught my first Sunday school lesson today. :) The couple who normally teach our class were out of town, so I volunteered to teach it. I was pretty excited. I think my lesson went pretty well. Tom said it was good, but I would have been mad at him if he said it sucked....so yeah....but that's what the lesson was about: anger.
The topic was "Responding to Challenges". Since it is a "Marriage and Family" class, it turns into how to "Respond to Challenges in Marriage". It was a GREAT lesson. The whole lesson was focused on anger. There were a few parts of it that I really, really liked!
The first thing that really got to me was about anger itself and how it is a choice. People say, "Oh, he made me so mad." Or, "I just lost my temper"....well....it doesn't work like that. Because of free agency, no one can make us do anything. We choose to do it. No one can MAKE you angry....that means you didn't have the agency to not be angry - which is ridiculous. You are CHOOSING to get angry. Of course, other peoples actions can sometimes add into the equation, but in the end - you are choosing to get angry or not.
For example, I don't know if I've ever seen my little sister, Angela, get angry. I know she has gotten frustrated, but I definitely don't recall any tizzy fits growing up. Me and my other sister, on the other hand...were CONSTANTLY in pursuit of making the other one mad :) Haha! Looking back, I fondly remember pestering each other, which I'm sure drove our parents CRAZY! But yes....I would say she and I were constantly angry at each other :) I guess Angela just had better self control...and she was a born peace maker. Angela....sheesh....Good thing she was born in between me and Kathryn! Haha!! Love ya sis's! :)
I also liked this scripture and analogy: "Satan is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another". The verb "stir" sounds like a recipe for disaster: Put tempers on medium heat, stir in a few choice words, and bring to a boil; continue stirring until thick; cool off; let feelings chill for several days; serve cold; lots of leftovers. "
Talk about the best analogy! Isn't that exactly how it goes when you lose your temper?? You say things you don't mean, and it is SUPER hard to get past it.
Another part I liked: "Anger is a yielding to Satan's influence by surrendering our self-control. It is the thought-sin that leads to hostile feelings or behavior. It is the detonation of road rage on the freeway, flare-ups in the sports arena, and domestic violence in homes." Now, I'll be the first to admit I have succumbed to road rage....but I didn't need to! I CHOSE to! That's what this lesson is all about!
No good ever comes from losing your temper, either. The lesson points out: Anger is an uncivil attempt to make another feel guilty or a cruel way of trying to correct them. It is often mislabeled as discipline but is almost always counterproductive.
I have lost my temper with my kids, spouse, and family. But there I go again - I lost my temper. That is ridiculous. No one took away my free agency. I chose to be angry. I need to chose NOT to get angry.
"Understanding the connection between agency and anger is the first step in eliminating anger from our lives. We can choose not to become angry. And we can make that choice today, right now: "I will never become angry again." Ponder this resolution." Granted we may need to continually remind ourselves not to be angry, but its a start :)
So yeah, that was the gist of my lesson and I loved it. I've always struggled with a temper. Ask my parents! Ha! I remember all growing up, I just had to yell....all the time....yell and throw temper tantrums. It has taken A LOT of realization and deep breathing to help me sort of grow out of it and be able to reign in my emotions. I definitely know it has helped my marriage - not freaking out too quickly.
Anyway, I thought this lesson was perfect for every couple - even those who don't go crazy angry...now you can help your significant other overcome it if they do!