What Do You Do With the Mad?


 This week brought several things my way that just created frustration….and at times….some anger.

 Whenever I get angry, I think back to the days when my oldest daughter, Alexis, was about 4, and we  watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood every afternoon at 3:30.  We loved the puppets, but I loved the music, as it was  simple, to the point, and at times, offered crazy melodies.  The one that stuck in my head was the song that begged the question “what do you do with the mad you feel?”

 This past week, I read about a boy who had suffered at the hands of his own father.  The father told the newspaper reporters that everything he did was because he was “provoked.”  I cringed as I thought that we try to justify our behavior after anger, but excuse it because of the actual anger.

Today I received an email that was from someone in attack mode.  It was harsh and unkind, and I felt mad.  I took a deep breath and heard the song…..what do you do with the mad you feel, and I thought….what do I do?  

I learned over the years that anger tends to motivate me to change.  I usually sit down at the piano and play a song, I pray, I go for a walk, I wash dishes, I call a friend, but I learned what to do.  And so this time, I went online to see what hear that old Mister Rogers song, and found this link:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_JPEWhV9N8 

The year is 1969, and the US Senate held hearings for funding  the Public Broadcasting Service, as a 20 million dollar grant from President Lyndon Johnson, was now in jeopardy, with President Nixon wanting to cut the budget in half.  Rogers had been working on his show for the previous 15 years (since 1954). 

Fred Rogers’ gentle, but firm words, were expressed before the Senate, and he reported  how his show ends, stating,  “At the end of my show I say….You’ve made this day a special day, by just your being you.  There’s no person in the whole world like you….and I like you just the way you are.” 

Mister Rogers talks about living his life with children in mind and shares the lyrics to his “mad” song:  “What do you do with the mad that you feel?  When the whole wide world seems oh so wrong and nothing you do seems very right….I can stop when I want to and what a good feeling to feel like this and know the feeling is really mine.” 

Rogers talks about helping children feel confident in who they are, and how they deal with anger.  He teaches that the answer is not in violence, but in managing the emotions.

After he shares this, the Senate leader affirms Mister Rogers, saying that Rogers words/dedication have given him goosebumps and says, “looks like you’ve got your 20 million.” 

Years later, in another interview, Mister Rogers states “Tears and sweat often bring out the best in us.”

I’ve found something to be a great truth in my life:  the things and people who make us mad, are often  the premise of what motivates us to do good work.  If we control our “mad” and continue to focus on truth and utilize the energy of the “mad” for good, we can move so many, many miles down the highway of this life, and do great things for ourselves, our lives, others, and for God! 

I watched Mister Rogers with a calm, clear, concise mind and voice, doing something that would terrify most normal individuals….he spoke in front of the President of our country, and the heads of government for something he believed in. 

Let your anger provoke you to do good things….not sin.  Let your anger be the motivation that allows you to know that “tears and sweat often bring out THE BEST in us.”

Ephesians 4:26  “In your anger, do not sin.”

 Be Your Best.
  1. Kathleen Sogge04-03-12

    Thanks Kathy! Good food for thought!