Last Tuesday I was waiting for kindergartners and first graders to arrive for an after school Bible program. I’ve been able to teach and help organize these classes for a long time, and it’s been and incredible blessing, but last week was one of those days when things didn’t go well.
For starters the name tags for children weren’t properly organized by age group or boys and girls so I had to go through each one looking for every child’s tag. This kept me from helping keep the group under control, so it didn’t take long for things to get VERY LOUD.
Some girls became indignant when I couldn’t remember their name (I usually give name tags to only the boys) and were giving me a lecture on the subject
One of the boys was yelling at another because he “threw his hat”
A student whose mother was a teacher went into her classroom looking for candy after he was told four times not to go in her room, and once entering refused to leave
A girl lost her ear-ring and became convinced another boy had “stolen it” which led to a very heated argument
Once the girl couldn’t find her ear-ring she started crying, so all of the other girls comforted her while ganging up on the boy who had stolen it (he hadn’t)
Another boy was playing in the middle of the hall after I had told him roughly one-hundred times to stay against the wall
All of this and other things that happened within five minutes caused me to go from “relaxed and happy John” to “angry John” and I proceeded to let the boys know when they had been taken down the hall to their bathroom a few moments later. The actual words can’t be remembered; but I remember lots of finger pointing, a raised voice, and threats of going to the office while they all looked at the floor.
Now some people may have an issue with my showing anger to kindergarteners and first graders since they were just being kids, however in my opinion it was very important they saw Mr. John angry. This of course did bring things under control (we had an awesome class from that point on) but it was what I did after the speech that was more important.
The first thing I did was take a deep breath and calmly explained I didn’t want to be angry with them, but they brought it upon themselves by not listening to me when we asked them to do things. For the rest of class I focused on praising those same boys who had made me angry a half-hour before and thanking them for doing such a good job obeying the rules. And though the dreaded “naughty chair” was used a few times during class, I was always careful to explain why they were there.
There is a need for the lost in our community to see us frustrated and angry in extreme situations because it allows us to model “anger under control.” I’m sure many of those boys had seen their mother and father angry about disobedience, but sadly that would lead to unhealthy actions like yelling or violence. So it’s important that they see someone who is indeed angry, but doesn’t stay that way.
This doesn’t mean we as Christians should walk around getting angry at everything. But in those rare cases we do, it’s important to show Love and Grace as well.