Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Coping with Anger

"In dealing with the young, we must not allow the shadow of anger to darken our countenance. Self-control must rule our whole being – our mind, our heart, our lips. Do you remember how Jesus answered those apostles who wanted him to call down fire and brimstone upon those cities that had refused to hear their teaching about him? He had only words of pardon for them.

"Let nothing disturb you!" was an expression often on the lips of St. Teresa. It is good counsel.

"St. Francis de Sales, that meekest of saints, never allowed his tongue to speak when his spirit was disturbed. "I am afraid," he once said, "to lose in a quarter of an hour that little sweetness that I have gathered up, drop by drop, like dew, in the vessel of my heart through the efforts of 20 years."

"Master your own character, and then you will succeed in mastering those of your pupils. Show them that uncontrolled emotion plays no part in your actions; they will respect you for that, and their respect will prompt their obedience. But betray the least sign of weakness, of passion, of impatience, and your authority and prestige will not long endure. Besides, your punishment will not be taken as a remedy for the boy’s fault, but as a vent for your own passion. It can bear no fruit!

"Even a slight flush of the countenance or a slight change in the tone of voice caused by anger betrays us and incites the boys to lose their esteem and confidence in us. Then all punishment is useless, because the boys feel that reason alone ought to be used in correcting them.

"Keep Jesus before you. He patiently bore the ignorance and rudeness of his apostles. He had to put up with their faithlessness. The friendly hand he extended even to sinners aroused surprise in some and scandalized others. Yet his one interest was to inspire confidence and hope in the hearts of sinners. Well could he command us, then: "Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart."

--St. John Bosco

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