Monday, October 22, 2012

Alternatives to Anger

For the third or fourth time in his life, Peter had to be taken out of Mass on Sunday. Most of the comments afterwards fell into two categories: "that's what kids do" or "just wait". I suspect the former was meant to make me feel better, but that's not what my kid does. I didn't want him to get the impression that everyone else was OK with his misbehavior. I honestly don't know what the motivation for the latter was. I've posted before about my strong feelings against that kind of nay-saying, so I won't get into it again.

I know. Hard to believe he is ever less than angelic.

Instead, I'll spend this post trying to do something more productive than dwelling on how frustrated I am. What are my alternatives? How can I respond without getting angry or defensive?

1. Smile and say thank you. I can assume the best intentions of the person commenting. If they are trying to be helpful, this is completely appropriate. If they're not, maybe my response will make them think about what they are trying to achieve.

2. Focus on the future. "Today was less than ideal, but we've always got next week to try again!" Not only does Peter need a new start next week, so do I. I can be grateful for God's forgiveness and try again.

3. Ask for help. I can ask people to pray for me. Certainly children respond to their parents' moods and behavior. It's quite possible I unwittingly triggered this outburst and need to examine my own Mass behavior. Prayer never goes amiss!

Do you have more ideas for responding positively in trying situations?


  1. Hmmm,

    This is a new one for me. I've had several adults walk out of Mass when I've presided, but I don't think I've ever made a 2 year old leave. Is he going to write the bishop with his complaints?

    -Fr. B

  2. In all seriousness, if you want some suggestions, it would help to explain what Peter did that required him to be taken out of Mass. -Fr. B

    1. He was talking too loud. A lot of it was even on topic (repeating parts of prayers), but not appropriate volume. I'm not so much looking for advice on how to deal with his behavior, though, as how to deal with the behavior of other adults.