Ben Franklin’s Thoughts on Anger

by Ryan Krzykowski

With the right prompt, I can quickly be transported into an absolutely cringe-worthy memory.  Just typing that last sentence brought to mind 4 or 5 moments I would really like to have back.  The time I got worked up and fired a verbal assault at a co-worker who I felt had disrespected me.  The time my college buddy was disagreeing with me for fun just to push my buttons, and I ended up stomping out and slamming the door.  The time I felt embarrassed when asked to quiet down at a team meal and fired back a rude, smart-mouthed comeback.  The time (which I’ve mentioned before in this space) I shamed a 12-year old on the field during a football game and angrily sent him to the sideline for no good reason.  Unfortunately, there are plenty more.

(Wow, that last paragraph was no fun to write.) 

Last week I read this:

Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame. – Benjamin Franklin

Sounds a bit like these:

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil. – Psalm 37:8

Whoever is patient has great understanding,
    but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. – Proverbs 14:29

As we head into a new school year and fall sports seasons, I know I can use the reminder to stay calm and take a breath.  Working with people, particularly young people, is demanding and things can get emotional.  Strong feelings will come, and anger is part of life.  But I can catch the anger, process it, stop, think and follow these instructions:

In your anger, do not sin. – Ephesians 4:26 (quoting Psalm 4:4)

Whether we’re inclined to heed the advice of David, Solomon, the apostle Paul or Ben Franklin, the charge is basically the same.  When it comes to anger, catch it and avoid being controlled by it.

Let’s Coach With Purpose…