Keep Your Cool
by Ryan Krzykowski
It had been a while, but it happened again last week. I gave directions to a group of students, and they did not follow them well. They were told to work quietly while a group of their classmates was finishing a test. As the noise level increased, so did my blood pressure. As my cool melted away I managed to avoid an ugly blowup, but I still didn’t handle the situation as gracefully as I would have liked. I let my frustration show — I let the students see they had gotten to me. In the scheme of things, I doubt any of this was necessarily a big deal, but I know I can do better.
The next day I received a series of texts from a friend who presumably had no idea that I’d gotten irritated with students. But somehow his words cut right to my heart as he shared some thoughts on coaching:
I’ve noticed a pattern with coaches, things go well and they are all smiles, but then the game gets tight and they lose composure, squeezed anger begins to surface and kids leave the huddle with pressure, they play tense and bam the game is over. Lost, it was lost in the huddle, who likes to be yelled and screamed at, my wife doesn’t, I don’t. Stay calm and cool, stay focused on the mission.
I’ve thought about those words, thought about the last blog post I wrote about using 20 seconds a day to inspire someone, and thought about the example it sets when I stay calm and poised in the midst of adversity, no matter the kind. I’ve also thought about the example it sets when I lose my cool in a difficult situation and allow my frustration to boil over.
Yes, I am human and I won’t do this perfectly. And yes, there may well come a time when an angry display is perfectly appropriate in a given situation. Jesus got angry. But Jesus didn’t get selfishly angry. He didn’t routinely fly off the handle because people were pushing His buttons. In general, pushing the pause button, staying composed and correcting people quietly is going to yield a much better result than we’ll get by yelling at them. Keep your cool. Stay focused on the mission.