There are a few people out there who change the lives of millions of people. Some of them, you will have the honor of meeting face to face; others, you will watch a documentary about, or read their book. For me, in my little ole life, I feel honored to have had amazing teachers walk into my life. Some entered as formal teachers; others, as family members, as lovers, and as that obnoxious woman at the check-out counter who made me feel so small and insignificant.
The teacher I wish to speak of today is Dr. Haim Ginott, one remarkably cool dead man who inspired millions to raise their children and communicate to their families with love and respect. As always, ‘parenting’ is just a term, not at all to be limited to mothers and fathers. We are all parents. What we learn in parenting is how to speak to those we love in our greatest moments of anger, how to find our own inner child and forgive her for being imperfect, and how to sort out our own pain and convert it into something effective,respectful, and loving.
In 1965, Dr. Haim Ginott published his book Between Parent and Child in memory of his younger brother. I feel honored to witness how one simple, thoughtful man has guided millions of helplessness of well-intended parents to create love in their nests. And here, now, Haim himself, would like to talk to us about anger and rage. I feel, it is utterly unimaginable how much wisdom we can gain from just a few minutes with him.
Rather than taint what the man has to say,I’ll just quote this huge piece of text for you. Enjoy each luscious word.
Handling Our Own Anger
“In our own childhood, we were not taught how to deal with anger as a fact of life. We were made to feel guilty for experiencing anger and sinful for expressing it. We were led to believe that to be angry is to be bad. Anger was not merely a misdemeanor: it was a felony.
With our own children, we try to be patient; in fact, so patient that sooner or later we must explode. We are afraid that our anger may be harmful to children, so we hold it in, as a skin diver holds his breath. In both instances, however, the capacity for holding in is rather limited.
Anger, like the common cold, is a recurrent problem. We may not like it, but we cannot ignore it. We may know it intimately, but we cannot prevent its appearance. Anger arises in predictable sequences and situations, yet it always seems sudden and unexpected. And, though it may not last long, anger seems eternal for the moment.
When we lose our temper, we act as though we have lost our sanity. We say and do things to our children that we would hesitate to inflict on an enemy. We yell, insult, and hit below the belt. When the fanfare is over, we feel guilty and we solemnly resolve never to render a repeat performance. But anger soon strikes again, undoing our good intentions. Once more we lash out at those to whose welfare we have dedicated our life and fortune.
Resolutions about not becoming angry are worse than futile. They only add fuel to fire. Anger, like a hurricane, is a face of life to be acknowledged and prepared for. The peaceful home, like the hoped-for war-less world, does not depend on a sudden benevolent change in human nature. It does depend on deliberate procedures that methodically reduce tensions before they lead to explosions.
There is a place for parental anger in child education. In fact, failure to get angry at certain moments would only convey to the child indifference, not goodness. Those who care cannot altogether shun anger. This does not mean that children can withstand floods of fury and violence; it only means that they can stand and understand anger which says: “There are limits to my tolerance.”
For parents, anger is a costly emotion: to be worth its price it should not be employed without profit. Anger should not be used so that it increases with expression. The medication must not be worse than the disease. Anger should so come out that it brings some relief to the parent, some insight to the child, and no harmful side effects to either of them. Thus we should not bawl out a child in front of his friends; it only makes him act up more, which in turn makes us only angrier. We are not interested in creating or perpetuating waves of anger, defiance, retaliation, and revenge. On the contrary, we want to get our point across and let the stormy clouds evaporate. “
I Know, I Know
What can I possibly say here?
That’s about it.
Go back and read the Haim’s lines that I bolded. These are the lines I feel reflect the highest light and guide us in what to do next. Prevent the storms, don’t wait for them to just go away; relieve self and give insight to the other; accept it, guilt-free as a natural, healthy way to express the crossing of a limitation.
Which lines did you like? Do you see how being a parent has nothing to do with kids and parents here? How every single word said here reflects any loving relationship? God, I have a lot to learn here. Tell me your thoughts. Seriously, he is God for me. I have read and re-read Between Parent and Child, each time finding another passage that filled my heart with hope, benevolence, and guidance. I’m listening if you feel like sharing your beautiful mind.
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