Be Slow to Anger

by | Apr 8, 2016 | Family Life, Parenting

This sounds like a no-brainer, but I swear children are hard-wired to find our weak spots.

Even babies are out to get us or so it feels, like when our 2 year old wakes up at 1 or 2 am and won’t go back to sleep in her cot so ends up in the marital bed pummeling me in the back with both feet. Eventually she falls asleep while I lie awake for the next two hours, hopefully mustering up enough energy to carry her back to her own room and bed. Or like the time she so was pleased with herself at pouring full glasses of water over the brand new sofa (thank God it was only water!) she slow-clapped her efforts, and even though I laugh about it now, I wasn’t laughing then.

Biologists like Katherine Hinde know that babies cry at night for a reason. They’re not trying to make us miserable; they want to eat and survive. Even when my 6 year old son constantly leaves practically all of his toys out strewn across his bedroom floor all the time; it isn’t because he’s lazy about keeping tidy (though he needs to work on it) but because he wants to explore every permeation of his imaginary world with all of the objects (yes all at the same time) because he’s wanting to be creative and feel relaxed and happy about enjoying those toys without restriction or inhibition. I can’t be constantly annoyed about normal childhood development, nor do I have a right.  God is slow to anger, too. “Even when he scolds us, he does so with a caress,” Pope Francis reminds us. For me, this means no yelling because I had a bad day at work, or because I’m stressed from lack of sleep and it feels like we’ll never get out the front door on time for the school run or catching the train to work etc.  It means forgiving mistakes quickly, and disciplining only when it’s for my children’s own good.  In short it really means embracing not just the first bit of the famous ‘Serenity Prayer” but the lesser known second half too.

Serenity Prayer
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.

Edmund Adamus


Edmund Adamus

Edmund is currently Education Consultant for the human sexuality formation programme A Fertile Heart, Receiving and Giving Creative Love a theology of the body oriented resource for Catholic schools and families. He has worked professionally within varied leadership roles in the Church since 1990. Edmund was Private Secretary to two diocesan bishops. From 2003-2016 as Director of Pastoral Affairs in Westminster. He has contributed to various Vatican publications and addressed the VIth World Meeting of Families in Mexico in 2009. In 2007, he established the St. John Southworth Fund grants scheme on behalf of the Archdiocese of Westminster awarding more than £2m to help alleviate poverty for families across London. He helped establish Caritas Westminster in 2011. He addressed the 2014 annual conference of the American Academy for Fertility Care Professionals on Fertility Awareness –a Male Perspective; and was a guest speaker at the "Re-Engaging Humanae Vitae" conference at Ave Maria University, Florida in 2016. He has been actively involved in Catholic education for over 30 years and is UK representative for the GoodLove Foundation a global platform of sexuality formation resources for parents sponsored by the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. Among his most notable achievements is the establishment of the annual Mass of Thanksgiving for Matrimony at Westminster Cathedral, London, which since 2008 has gathered more than 15,000 couples to renew their marital commitment.  


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