Controlled Anger-FHE Lesson
Have family members select and implement and effective method to control their anger.
SUGGESTED HYMN AND SONG
“You Can Make the Pathway Bright,” “Hum Your Favorite Hymn”
SUGGESTIONS FOR THE FAMILY
Controlled Anger Is an Ounce of Prevention
Have someone read the sixth commandment from Exodus 20:13: “Thou shalt not kill.”
Point out that this is one of the ten great laws given by the Lord to Moses. Instead of feeling complacent because we refrain from killing, we should direct our discussion of this commandment as Jesus did – to controlling anger.
What emotion must be controlled in obeying the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill”? (Anger.)
After the responses, have a scripture relay. Divide the family into teams of about equal skill in reading, and give each team a Bible. Separate the teams so that they can have a discussion and not be heard by the other group. Cut out the duplicate sets of scripture reference cards accompanying the lesson, and mount them on heavier paper, if desired. Stack them in two sets, but not in the same order. Place the cards face down on a table, one set where each team is to work. At your signal one person from each team takes a card and reads the reference to his team members. Another member finds the reference in the Bible and reads the verse to his team. Together the teammates determine what they think aids in obeying the sixth commandment and write it on the back of the card. Take another card and do the same until all the cards are identified. The first team to complete the set wins.
When both teams have finished, have someone read each scripture and the items his team has suggested.
Jesus recognized the close relationship between anger and kill
He combined the sixth commandment with a strong injunction against anger. Read 3 Nephi 12:21-22 (the same law is recorded in Matthew 5:21-22.)
Tell the family that the remainder of this lesson will be devoted to recognizing anger for what it is – futile and destructive, a tool by which the devil gains control over us.
Uncontrolled Anger Is Harmful
Get each family member to consider seriously Jesus’ statement that anger against another is wrong. Discuss the reasons for such a teaching. Use the following illustrations if necessary:
1. Uncontrolled anger causes us to lose the power to reason and think clearly.
Relate the following story:
Tommy Wasn’t Thinking Straight
Tommy wanted to borrow his sister’s bicycle. She refused because she had to take some books back to the library. Tommy would not listen as she tried to explain, but became angry and stalked out of the room saying, “You’ll be sorry.” In anger he slipped into his sister’s room and picked every blossom off her African violets, crushed them in his hand, and threw them on the floor.
Later, Tommy heard his sister in her room sobbing. He went to the door and silently stood watching her. He knew she had been planning to take the violets to school for a special program. He felt terrible.
When did Tommy lose control?
When did his reason begin to take over again?
2. Anger can harm us physically. Let the family discuss how this might be so. Following are some facts to consider:
Anger can cause the blood pressure to rise, the heart to beat faster, and glands to over secrete. There is an in-crease of acid secreted in the stomach. Nearly everyone has witnessed the flushed face of someone who was extremely angry; some people with heart trouble have died when they became angry.
3. Anger can destroy friendships.
How do you feel about being around someone who is often angry?
Illustrate the point with examples from your own experience, or use the following story:
Friendships Were Broken
Several friends gathered for a monthly dinner and visit. This had been a custom for many years. Once evening the talk turned to a political question, and two of the men became so angry with each other that they made insulting personal remarks. Lifelong friendships were dissolved by a few moments of uncontrolled anger.
4. Anger makes us look foolish in the eyes of others. One mother would quietly say to her children after their anger had subsided, “I don’t think you would want to do that again if you could see your face in the mirror.” This sometimes helped curb the anger of her children.
5. Anger may be dangerous.
Again, use your own experience or the following story to illustrate this statement:
Pat’s Act Was Dangerous
After the family dinner was over, it was Vera’s assignment to clear the table, put the food away, and sweep the floor. Pat, her sister, had the assignment to wash and dry the dishes. Vera did her work promptly while Pat went off to read a book. After some time the mother spoke sternly to Pat and insisted that she go into the kitchen and get her work done. She was angry because she had been scolded and because Vera’s work was done. When she entered the kitchen, she thought she saw Vera smile. That made her so angry she picked up the first item she could grasp, which happened to be a fork. She threw it at Vera. As soon as she had done it, Pat realized how childish and dangerous it was.
6. Anger creates a tense atmosphere.
Let family members give illustrations of this point.
7. Anger keeps us from having the Spirit of the Lord.
This is one of the greatest reasons for controlling anger. Ask and discuss the following questions:
How does it feel to have the Spirit of the Lord with us?
How does the feeling of anger differ from this feeling?
Tell the family that all of these reasons are important for us to avoid anger, but that Satan also wishes to prompt us to anger. Substantiate your statement by having someone read 3 Nephi 11:29-30.
We Will Control Our Anger
A person does not immediately learn to control his anger. Let family members tell of any method they have successfully used or seen someone use to control anger. Following are some additional suggestions:
1. Think of how you look to others when you become angry.
2. Think of how you will feel if you do what anger prompts you to do.
3. Do something that is physically strenuous, such as going for a brisk walk or scrubbing a floor.
4. Think about what Brigham Young:
“If you find a passion coming on you, go off to some place where you cannot be heard; let none of your family see you or hear you, while it is upon you, but struggle till it leaves you; and pray for strength to over-come…if, when the time for prayer comes, you have not the spirit of prayer upon you, and your knees are unwilling to bow, say to them, ‘Knees, get down there’; make them bend, and remain there until you obtain the Spirit of the Lord…
“Do not get so angry that you cannot pray.” (Discourses of Brigham Young comp. John A. Widtsoe)
5. Think about what Jesus said,
“Agree with thine adversary quickly” (Matthew 5:25). (Adversary in this case means the one with who you are angry.)
Ask family members to decide which of the suggestions for controlling anger might be best for them to work with, and challenge them to try it during the coming week. You may want to let your family know which one you have selected since family members can sometimes help each other improve.
ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS FOR FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN
There are many things in this lesson that you can use for children.
To further emphasize controlling anger, let the children play a game called “Freeze.” Tell them to skip, run, walk, smile, frown or pretend to cry until you tell them to freeze. When they hear this word, they are to stay in the position they are in until you release them. A person caught moving takes the place of the leader.
After you have played this a number of times, tell the children that during the coming week when they become angry, they are to freeze, or stop and think, before acting. They are not to touch another person when they are angry but are to try to overcome their anger.
At this point families with small children may enjoy singing the song “If You’re Angry Stop and Think” (sung to the song If you’re happy and you know it) and act out the phrases. Use as many verses as you desire. In the place of ‘stop and think,’ use one of the following with each stanza: “run around,” “take a walk,” “kick a ball,” “pound a board,” “say, ‘I’m wrong,’” and “count to ten.”
If you’re angry and you know it stop and think,
If you’re angry and you know it stop and think,
If you’re angry and you know it then your face will surely show it,
If you’re angry and you know it stop and think.
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