When you spend as much time around children as I do, you kind of develop silly little things to help you keep your sanity. I teach all day, and then some nights coach gymnastics for four hours after my workday. I deal with more juvenile behavior in a week than I think most normal people do in a life time. As a coping mechanism, I come up with crazy little ways to try and talk to these children in a way they can relate. My latest crazy antic is the “Angry Little Wormies”.
I’m trying to teach my students, my own children and my gymnasts that we all have things in our lives that make us upset and angry. I explain to them that we all get those Angry Little Wormies that flare up in our stomachs (I have a great action that accompanies the phrase that I do with my fingers for visual entertainment purposes only). It is how we deal with these little critters that make us or break us. We can smother the angry worms by closing our mouths and controlling our angry thoughts, not letting out our anger, or we can let these ugly buggers show through our words. I’m trying to convince these children that the first option is the best path to follow.
Sometimes, however, it comes back to bite me! The other day, after a long day of teaching, I was at the gym and all my gymnasts were not being very productive, which, on a good day frustrates me. I was giving them the option that if they weren’t going to show me more effort than I would give them some conditioning in their area of need to help make them a better gymnast.
My daughter, who struggles with those angry worms on a daily, sometimes hourly basis, piped up and tormented, “Mom, are you getting those Angry Little Wormies?” She had the hands in action mimicking me to a tee. “You know you should smother those before you let them come out.” She is so much like her father. I had to laugh at her using my tone of voice and body language, it was like looking into a mirror. It definitely lightened the mood of my frustration.
We all get those Angry Wormies. Whether it is your spouse frustrating you because they don’t see the mess that they leave laying around, or it could be with your children trying to push your buttons. The workplace is always a place for those worms to rear their nasty heads, because you aren’t getting along with your boss, or your coworkers are annoying you. We can choose to let these nasty creatures out of our mouths or we can try and choose to have happy thoughts and convince ourselves of what really matter in life.
When you look at the big picture, the grand scheme of things in life, doesn’t it really matter if your husband keeps forgetting to put the towel in the hamper, or leaves his clothes on the bedroom floor? No! Is the world going to fall apart because your child isn’t quite turning out the way you envisioned in your dreams for them? No, they have to live out their dreams, and if they have to learn the hard way, let them. Is it that big of a deal if that coworker is gossiping again? No, remove yourself from that situation, sure you might be lonely but it’s better than getting yourself all worked up over their behavior.
Whatever it is that causes the Angry Wormies, change it. Find the good in things. I tell my gymnasts to change their attitudes because Angry Wormies just make life negative and horrible, and nobody profits being in that state of mind. Who wants to live like that? Don’t get me wrong—I get Angry Wormies too, and my daughter will call me out every time, but I appreciate that, because it makes me reevaluate why I am upset. It’s not my gymnasts’ fault that I had a rough day at work, and if they have one unproductive practice once in a while, does that really hurt anything? No!
Proverbs is one of my favorite books of the Bible. There are many great words to live by, but since we are talking about dealing with our anger, take Proverbs 14:29, “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” Or, Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” What about Proverbs 16:32, “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” And Proverbs 19:11, “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” Must I go on? Aren’t these brilliant?
Angry Wormies are in every one of us, we can feed them or starve them. Let them out of us, or smother them. Let them fester inside our heads and ruin our day, or exterminate them and live a worm free life. These nasty worms can rob us of our happiness. We are all in control of our own happiness, and our happiness comes from our thoughts, and we control our thoughts. We can’t control what happens to us, how people treat us, or what we find frustrating, but we can control what we decide to do with these Angry Wormies. Call the exterminator and get rid of yours today!