Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dealing with Anger...

Is it wrong to get angry? For my lesson to the 4 and 5 year olds this week, there is a Q&A summary at the back of the lesson that has you ask the children, "Why do you think Nephi did not complain to Heavenly Father while he was tied up? [during the boat journey with his rotten no-good-shoulda-left-them-behind brothers].

I don't know the answer to that. And there is no answer given in the book. So I asked around to some people that I respect, and here are some of the answers I got:

Anon 1: Nephi saw that there was already plenty of contention, and that it only led to disaster and getting lost, so he just let it go. He knew that it was supremely important that he get, and keep, control of his emotions.

Anon 2: Just cuz the scriptures don't mention it specifically doesn't mean that it didn't happen. I mean, he wrote that probably months or years after it happened. History is kind to us when we write it ourselves. :D

Anon 3: Nephi is superhuman; he was "born that way." The Lord knew that he'd need someone patient who wouldn't complain in order to lead this whole troop across the water. Nephi just had a kinda "natural faith" that always saw the eternal perspective.

Anon 4: Nephi knew that they were only suffering from the effects of his bad, and somewhat rancid, cooking. Mad cow disease - or maybe Mad Camel Disease.

Anon 5: Nephi really struggled with being ticked off and wanted to toss them off the boat. He probably had the muscles to do it as he was strong and had just built a boat for gosh sakes! But he prayed for strength beyond his capabilities to deal with a bunch of idiots who just weren't going to change, angels, floods or otherwise. He just figured, "We're all in the same boat." Literally.

It seems that the definitions fall into one of two groups: Some people are just born with natural patience - its in their DNA, OR patience is a virtue that you can, and should, develop until you can just about drown with your family without complaining.

Maybe it's just that I tend to be an angry person - or rather, I have a more generous definition of what is worth getting mad about; but I just feel at a loss as to what to tell these kids about anger, and complaining. Maybe the art of "sucking it up in silence" is just becoming a lost art? I dunno. But while you're thinking about it, please pick up your shoes and put your laundry away, I've already asked you twice and I'm gettin' a little fed up with the mess!!!


Danika said...

I've never that picture before - I really like it (as much as you can like a photo of someone bound). I would have to agree with answer 2. It's been fascinating writing my personal history (10 years or more after the events). What seemed like a HUGE event/frustration does not seem that diasterous when I think back...time is a kind healer of our anger. And if it is wrong to be angry, than I have a whole lotta repenting to go get started on...

Meredith said...

Interesting thoughts on anger. Even Christ was angry when he threw the money changers out of the temple. I just imagine it is a little bit of revisionist history when referring to being angry when bound! LOl!

So, on the picking up after asking several times...we are starting a new is the "Buy it Back Basket" or the BBB as I am coming to call it. At FHE on Monday they can buy back their stuff. They decide if it is worth spending their hard earned money (or stolen, I am beginning to believe - somehow Caroline ended up at Marshall's the other day with $35 burning a hole in her pocket!) is worth spending to buy back stupid stuff they leave around the house. I earned $3.15 on Monday. I get less angry. They know the consequence. I told Caroline, after asking a couple times to pick something up and reminding her about the basket, she said "Fine. I will just buy it back." OK. Their choice. Wait til their funds run out. Lindsay is hoping for a No Money Monday! They have been doing so much better...for a few days anyway!

Reggs said...

I've never really thought about it, and usually went with the "Nephi was superhuman" explanation. BUT NOW, I am leaning towards the "history is kind when you write it yourself". Mostly because it makes me feel better.

Deep down I think I will have to really believe the super human explanation. Nephi is probably a little annoyed that even after all of his hard work and faith, his people got wiped out and his mean and nasty brothers posterity is blooming like a rose. Now THAT is something to get mad about!!!