WOH: Able to Move

Our family liked to tease Dad that he would be peaceful hearing about his car being wrecked but enraged about five crumbs on the table. He would laugh along with us, and we would have a good conversation about anger. Growing up, Dad had deep anger toward his father, but he was not allowed to address his anger. He had to learn to direct it somewhere else. This diversion created suffering for Dad.  

I feel so much compassion for children who have parents who cannot be adjusted, who do not tolerate anger from children or allow any avenue for relational changes and repair. Dad created space for my brother and me to express our anger toward him without taking it personally or making the situation more toxic. He listened and leaned in. He grew calmer. He became studious working to learn and understand exactly where we were coming from and why. This created a tremendous sense of peace for me. It gave me confidence I could talk about problems and know they would get better, not worse. I had complete faith I could express my feelings without negative repercussions. This vulnerability and trust led to a close relationship and a deep love.  

I think if parents could listen without blame, reactivity, or defensiveness, so much healing could happen. Because a child’s anger triggers so many insecurities in parents, it is tough for many to respond appropriately. I am thankful my dad learned how painful this inability to move a parent who is angering us feels like and how he worked to provide something different and better for my brother and me.  

I bless Dad for being brave enough to handle difficult emotions with grace. 

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.- Proverbs 29:11