Don’t Let Anger Blind You To What Really Matters

by Bill Brenner on April 4, 2012

The front office at my kids’ school is mad at me and another parent for complaining about something on the school’s Facebook page. I don’t think they saw yesterday’s post in this blog. That would make them angrier still.

Mood music:

I’ll admit I was angry when my wife told me the principal and office administrator got after her about my behavior. It’s not like I jumped up and down on Facebook yelling obscenities and calling people names. I simply agreed with the other parent’s dismay over a specific matter of the school not following up with parents on a school closing next week. I think I was more ticked off that they gave Erin trouble, because she did nothing wrong.

I make no apologies, because, as I said yesterday, we practically break the bank every month paying the tuition to send our kids there. In essence, we parents are the customer. The customer is not always right, contrary to popular belief. But school administrators should respond to them as if they were, unless the parent is way out of line, which we weren’t.

On to the main point of this post.

There’s a lesson here for everyone, whether you’re dealing with difficult people at your kids’ school, in your workplace or on your street. Anger should never blind us to what’s truly important.

Some are probably asking why we would continue to go to a church and send our kids to a parochial school where there’s dysfunction. My answer is simple:

–For me, going to church is about getting closer to God. Everything else is second fiddle.

–Our children’s education is far more important than squabbles with parents and administrators, though it obviously becomes a problem if the latter has a negative effect on the former.

–This is our home, and I don’t believe in pulling up stakes and leaving because of dysfunction in the institution. I’d rather stick around and try to be part of the solution. That’s not always possible and sometimes it’s best to leave. But I don’t see this as an example of that.

–If you leave and go to another community, you’ll find dysfunction there, too. Where there are humans, there is dysfunction. That’s life. It may not be fair, but no one ever promised life would be fair.

Since this is an issue within our parish family, I can’t help but bring my faith into the remainder of the post. If religion isn’t your bag, leave now.

This is Holy Week, where we remember the sacrifice Jesus made to give us all a shot at redemption. It’s incredibly easy to forget the core message when we get busy arguing with each other over matters that are more political than spiritual.

I officially became a Catholic at Easter of 2006. I was in a pretty dark place at the time, struggling with a binge eating habit that had me shot-gunning $40 worth of fast food on the drive from the office to the house every day. I was crazy with fear and anxiety, the result of OCD out of control. I was a depressed, disgusting mess inside, and it was slowly working its way to my outward appearance.

Finding my faith was a major step in bringing those demons to heel.

But it remains a struggle sometimes, especially when you have disagreements with people in the community. So I wrote up the following manifesto to help bring me back to the center. I’ve used it several times in this blog, but it bears frequent repeating.

These are the bullet points. Click on any of them to see the full explanation.

1. Don’t Succumb to “Happily-Ever-After” Syndrome.

2. Peace IS NOT The Absence of Chaos. It’s a State of Mind (or, if you really want to get technical, a state of being in God’s Grace).

3. What You Get is Only As Good As What You Put In

4. Don’t Let Politics Get in the Way

5. Plan to Fight the Good Fight to Your Dying Breath

Keeping my head and heart on those personal items is much more important than besting church and school officials in an argument.

And so I move on.

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