Category Archives: Anger

Protesting the Police


Albuquerque has made national news once again. This time because of the actions on Sunday of a couple hundred people protesting the Albuquerque police force. The protest lasted a long time and turned out not being very peaceful. Here’s the story in case you haven’t heard about it yet: APD Protest Ends After 12 Hours

There have been quite a few police shootings here over the past few years. A couple of weeks ago – just above my house in the foothills open space – a homeless man was shot and killed by the police after a long standoff. I saw all the police activity and actually heard the flash bang go off and the gunshots. It was pretty unsettling. This was the last straw for many in the city – thus the protest.

I’ve been thinking a lot about our police force in light of all this, and here are a few of my thoughts. Admittedly, I may be a bit biased as my brother-in-law is a sheriff in Ohio, and one of my good friends is a police officer here in Albuquerque. But here goes…

1. I personally would not want to be a police officer. The stress and scrutiny would be to much for me. I have a lot of respect and honor for those who serve the community in this way.

2. Albuquerque is a rough city with a lot of violent people in it. It’s no surprise to me that there is so much police activity and that some of the activity leads to violent confrontations with the police.

3. I find it quite humorous that the first thing the people protesting the police will do the minute they feel threatened by the violence in this city is call the police.

4. I’ve never seen a police shooting first-hand. I have no idea what goes on when they are called to confront a violent person. Most Albuquerque citizens haven’t either. So to say what the police should or shouldn’t do in those situations is presumptuous.

5. That said, I wish the man in the foothills wouldn’t have been killed. I don’t wish death on anyone for that matter. I wish the situation could have been resolved in a different way, but… see #4.

In spite of all of this, I still have faith in law enforcement. Are some officers corrupt? Sure. Do some law officers do unlawful things? Yes. The same can be said of anyone in any field.

I have faith that the large majority of law enforcement officers are committed to helping, protecting, and sacrificing for the good of the community. Even here in Albuquerque. And, I still know who I’ll be calling the minute I find myself in need of help.

Dealing with the Anger You Feel Toward Your Children (Part 2)

GoodAngryA while back, I interviewed Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller who wrote the book, Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids. They talked to me about how parents can use anger as a tool rather than a weapon with their children. Here’s part 2 of the conversation:

You encourage parents to have a toolbox full of consequences. Why is this important, and what are some effective tools?

Scott: Many parents have a poor repertoire of discipline strategies, and they are then left with what comes naturally – which is harshness and negative reactions that aren’t productive. We’ve encouraged parents to start developing a toolbox full of consequences that have a host of things in it – things like missing a privilege, adding a responsibility, giving some extra work, or simple confrontations. Sometimes we should ignore some things, sometimes we should be discreet, and sometimes we should confront directly. All of those are part of the tools, but the primary tool that parents should use with teens is the privilege/responsibility strategy.

Joanne: What we want to do is to take a look at all the privileges our young people have. It’s amazing! There are so many things that they have, but they kind of think that these things are rights that they have. They say, “I have a right to having a phone and an e-mail address, etc.” Parents need to communicate to them that things like this are privileges. Anything right down to having a door to your bedroom is a privilege, and we want to see some responsibility if they’re going to have these privileges. The child who is not able to be honest maybe doesn’t have the privilege of the door to his room because we’re not sure what’s going to go on in that bedroom. We need to be looking at the things our teenagers have and see them as privileges and very closely tie them into responsibility.

Scott: Teens should be held responsible for things like being able to live by family values even when nobody’s watching, being able to follow through on a task that they’ve been given without having to be reminded, being honest, or doing the right thing when nobody else is around.

When you give a child the privilege of an e-mail address or Internet access without the responsibility, then you’re asking for trouble. With teenagers, a lot of what we do is tie privilege and responsibility together. It really comes from the Bible story where Jesus gives the parable of the land owner and the stewards. At the end, he came back and said to the stewards, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Because you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.” Now…we don’t call our kids “servants,” but the idea is that if they can be faithful with a little, we’ll give them more. Privilege and responsibility go together.

Joanne: They need to see that with some of the privileges we give them (we drive them to their friend’s house, we drive them from this activity to that activity), there’s give and take. Before we drive them somewhere, we might want them to vacuum out the car first. That’s the way the real-world works. If you want the privilege, you’re going to have to work for it.

One of the things we need to remind parents is that they need to communicate the responsibilities and consequences to the kids before the kids break the rules, don’t we?

Scott: That’s so important. It’s like changing the rules of the game in the middle of the game. Kids are used to certain kinds of behavior and activities from parents, and when parents change (as they need to do), they need to tell their kids what they’re doing. We encourage parents to have a parent/child evaluation meeting. They sit down with their kids and tell them two or three things that they really appreciate about their kids, and then maybe they point out one thing that they need to do something about and they give their child a suggestion on how to work on it. Their child then needs to know that if something doesn’t change as a result of this meeting, then the parent is going to need to add consequences, because it is not acceptable for them to do this over and over again.

Talk to us about what happens to a child who grows up in a home where the parents don’t communicate well and just explode when they’re angry.

Scott: It’s unfortunate that many parents have a difficult time with anger, and many of us realize that we have more selfishness than we ever thought possible when we have children. We have a lot of growing in our own hearts to do, and there is some real work that the Lord needs to do in our own lives.

One of the important things to realize is that if we don’t deal with our anger, there is a real significant consequence in our kids because anger confuses the discipline process. Instead of having consequences that communicate to children what happens when they break the rules, now they have anger in the process, so they grow up saying, “Wow, I need to be careful or I’m going to upset Dad.”

What are they learning? They’re learning how to please people in life and avoid explosive situations. That’s not what we want our kids to learn; we don’t want them to be people pleasers. We want them to learn how to have convictions and to do something because it’s right not just because someone might get angry with them in the process.

In your book, you make the comment, “You can never get really rid of attitudes…you can only change them.” Talk to parents about this, and give them hope that the bad attitude they’re identifying in their teen can be dealt with and can be changed.

Joanne: Bad attitudes are a common problem, especially with teenagers. It seems to come along with the territory for some reason. I think part of it has to do with the change in emotions of a young person. Their emotions come on really intense and there’s just a change going on in their brains that causes this. But, as parents we do struggle with the bad attitudes in our young people. The reasons we say that we can’t get rid of attitudes is because we all have attitudes. We have good attitudes and bad attitudes. Even when we look at advertising on TV or billboards, advertisers are trying to affect our attitudes about certain things. Attitudes affect how we respond to life.

What we want to do with our young people is help them to change the bad attitudes into more positive attitudes. We have found that attitudes really have three components, and we can address these attitudes from these different angles. 1) There’s a behavior component – things like the rolling eyes and the huffy voice. 2) There’s an emotion component – maybe there’s anger, disappointment, frustration, or some other emotional component behind the attitude. 3) And sometimes, there’s a thinking error that’s creating an attitude as well.

Scott: Thinking errors are common in teenagers. A teen might say, “I don’t understand why you’re making me clean my room. It doesn’t bother you. I’m the only one who lives in that room. It doesn’t affect anybody else. I’d just like to keep the door shut, because I don’t mind living in a messy room. I don’t see why you’re telling me to clean up my room.”

This thinking error could be addressed this way: “I’m a dad, and you’re a son. As a dad, I have the responsibility to teach you character and pass on some values to you. One of those character qualities that I think is important is neatness. One of the ways we’re going to do that is by cleaning your room once a week. That’s why I’m asking you to go in there and finish cleaning it up.” There might be some heated words there, but we’re reeducating our young people. We’re giving them a perspective about work, confrontation, correction, and conflict.

Dealing with the Anger You Feel Toward Your Children (Part 1)

GoodAngryA while back, I interviewed Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller who wrote the book, Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids. They talked to me about how parents can use anger as a tool rather than a weapon with their children.  Here’s part 1 of the conversation:

What makes this book different from other books on anger?

Scott: What we’re trying to do here is teach our kids character and use routines of life to do that. It’s a challenge sometimes to work with our kids, and we get into bad habits with them – especially in the dialogue and the daily grind of family life. We believe that we can give our kids gifts of character and teach them how to respond in difficult situations. The goal is that they will then be able to use these tools for the rest of their lives.

The Apostle Paul says, “In your anger, do not sin,” so it’s assumed that we’re going to be angry. How can parents learn to use anger as a tool rather than as a weapon?

Joanne: Anger is a common problem in families. Parents often get angry but then they feel guilty about being angry. They know they shouldn’t be exploding on their kids, and they don’t know what to do with that emotion of anger. We believe that anger can be a positive emotion if it’s used appropriately. God created us as emotional beings, and anger is a part of that creation, but we don’t want to use it to damage our relationships and to hurt people.

We believe that anger is really an emotion that points out problems. When we’re getting angry, it’s because there’s a problem. The problem may be inside me…maybe I’ve got expectations that are unrealistic. Or, the problem may be around me…maybe my child is doing the wrong thing. Maybe they’re not responding to correction, or maybe my child has a bad attitude, etc. These things make parents angry. We believe that anger can be used as a flag to point out a problem, and we believe that there are solutions to the problem that do not use anger to solve that problem. Parents don’t have to become harsh and angry, but they can use that anger to point out the problem and move into a different direction…one that develops character in our young people.

So, parents need to understand that anger is not a bad thing. It’s what they do with it that can be bad.

Scott: One of the things we’re trying to do here is help parents and young people understand that anger is not necessarily bad. In our counseling practice with parents and with teenagers, we’ll often make the statement that anger is good for identifying the problems, but not good for solving them. That kind of summarizes what we’re saying here.

In the book, you talk a lot about the “instruction process”. You say, “Valuable lessons are hidden in the instruction process.” Talk to us about this.

Scott: We want to help parents establish a routine that kids can understand and expect. Kids need to know how instructions are given and how instructions should be responded to. When a parent gives an instruction, the child needs to respond. It’s good for a child to acknowledge the fact that an instruction has been given, so if parents add that as part of the routine, that will help that child when he or she becomes let’s say an employee someday.

Children also must learn that they need to report back when they finish the job. We suggest that parents use the same instruction routine every day over and over again, and this routine should involve having the child report back. This process increases the child’s sense of responsibility. When the child knows that she has to report back, she feels an extra weight to do the project. If parents want to teach children how to be responsible, part of this is reporting back.

Communication really is an incredible key here to the whole process, isn’t it?

Joanne: Yes! As young people head into the teenage years, family life changes. One of those changes is that young people are more opinionated and they have more ideas, so sometimes that creates conflict in family life. Parents don’t like being questioned and they don’t like their child evaluating what’s going on, so conflict happens.

We believe that parents need to be careful in those situations and know how to deal with conflict and communication in a way where it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. It can be a positive one. One of the things that parents need to learn is to know when to start a conversation that might be a little unpleasant. The last thing they want is to immediately put their teen on the defensive. They need to learn how to start conversations with their young people in a way that draws them out but doesn’t set them off on the defensive.

Scott: Parents also need to know when to stop. Some parents just escalate conflict, but there needs to be a point where they say, “Hey, this is getting pretty intense here. I think we just need to take a break and pick this up later.” So, parents not only need to know when to start but also when to stop conversations.

Joanne: Something that parents need to learn when they are communicating with their children is also how to listen. As parents, we think we have all the answers and all the knowledge, but we really need to learn to listen a little more.

Give parents some tips on ways in which they can become better at introducing touchy subjects with their older children.

Scott: Parents just have to be sensitive about timing. They have to sense the emotional climate in the situation. Sometimes the best thing to do is to confront right on the spot and deal with the issue when it comes up. However, at other times it’s best to wait, because dealing with it right then may produce a flood of emotions that might make any constructive conversation impossible. Just be sensitive to the emotional environment.

Some teenagers set up a facade that makes any time inaccessible. When that happens, parents need not be afraid of a young person’s emotion. Don’t get drawn in, and don’t be afraid of the emotion. There may be times when parents have to confront a situation even if it unleashes some emotion.

Parents have to remember that when they say something to a teenager, they may get an instant negative response, but their teen will most likely go away having heard what they said. Parents must be careful not to be harsh because it may cause their teen to lash out.

Joanne: When it comes to dealing with conflict or even just giving instructions, parents must remember to be sensitive to the environment they’re in. They should connect relationship-wise with their teen first rather than instructing them the second they walk in the door. Talk to them first and then listen to what’s going on; get into their world a little bit and then maybe they’ll be more open for confrontation or instruction. Be very careful about timing and environment.

Part 2 of this conversation will be posted tomorrow.

The Rapture That Didn’t Happen

The “rapture” didn’t happen.  I didn’t think it would.  The Scriptures teach that Jesus will return one day, but I was pretty sure that it wouldn’t be yesterday, and I’m losing confidence that it will happen like I was taught growing up (i.e. a LaHaye/Jenkins-esque “rapture”).  And so…I am free to blog once more!  I have many thoughts and emotions regarding the events (or lack thereof) of this weekend, and I turn to my trusty blog to express them.

I am mad.
I’m mad that, once again, someone claiming to be a Bible scholar neglected to include Matthew 24:36 in his theology.  But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. After so many failed attempts by so many other “scholars” over the years, including Harold Camping himself (1994), how can this kind of nonsense continue to happen?  In a New York Magazine interview just 10 days ago, Camping said of his May 21 prediction, “It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. God is not playing games. It is going to happen.”  As of this post, it’s being reported that Camping has gone missing, unwilling to face the music of all the damage he has done.  I’m mad at him and the many others in my lifetime who have falsely predicted the same thing.  The damage these false prophets do to their naive followers and to the watching, jeering world is unnecessary and far-reaching.

I feel bad.
I feel bad for all of Camping’s followers who took the bait – at great personal expense.  One follower took $140,000 from his retirement and bought 1,000 subway car placards and ads on bus kiosks and subway cars in New York City.  Another man from Maryland packed up his family, skipped a week of work (unpaid), and drove 3,000 miles to California to be close to Camping’s headquarters when the rapture occurred.  A married couple quit their jobs and spent the last penny in their bank account on a rented house in Orlando. She said, “We budgeted everything so that, on May 21, we won’t have anything left.”

I was comforted to read that now that Camping’s prediction has proven to be a complete failure, attention has been shifted to his devastated followers. Church groups are actively providing counseling and advice for the damaged souls. On May 21, around 4 p.m. (local time), a group of “rescuers” came in front of Camping’s Family Radio headquarter in Oakland, CA, with signs and banners, and offered to provide counseling and spiritual support to the dejected followers. One pastor said, “We are here to reach out to those people who might have bought the lie.  What we are hoping is that we would be able to invite people who might have been affected to our church and hold a special service that would embrace them and reach out to them.”

I am sad.
I’m sad that non-Christians have been exposed once again to the ridiculous and radical antics of extreme wackos like Harold Camping.  When will Christians learn to let their love for others do the talking rather than their mouths?  When will we heed the words of Paul in 1 Timothy 2:2 and “lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way?”  It would be great if Camping would publicly apologize for misleading so many and for making all Christians look like goons in the world’s eyes.  I’m sad that this will be yet another reason that skeptics and critics of Christianity will use to steer clear of the One who loves them and sacrificed His Son for them.

I am glad.
I’m glad that May 21 came and went like every other day.  I’m glad that the Lord continues to shower mankind with mercy and grace by choosing to wait to return.  Don’t get me wrong…I long for the day when Christ returns and establishes His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.  But, each day that He doesn’t return is another day for more and more people to be ushered into His Kingdom.  This is what I work and live for, and I’m glad for another day to share the love of Jesus with others.  On Friday, I was able to share the love and mercy of Jesus with three people who were seriously unsettled by the possibility of Saturday’s doom.  My prayer is that the Lord will take this ridiculous and false prediction and use it for His glory and for the expansion of His Kingdom.

had some skepticism but I was trying to push the skepticism away because I believe in God,” said Keith Bauer – who hopped in his minivan in Maryland and drove his family 3,000 miles to California for the Rapture.

He started his day in the bright morning sun outside the gated Oakland headquarters of Family Radio International, whose founder, Harold Camping, has been broadcasting the apocalyptic prediction for years.

“I was hoping for it because I think heaven would be a lot better than this earth,” said Bauer, a tractor-trailer driver who began the voyage west last week, figuring that if he “worked last week, I wouldn’t have gotten paid anyway, if the Rapture did happen.”