As many of you know, Bruce Banner transforms in to The Incredible Hulk™ whenever he gets too angry. Or if you’ve seen the first Avengers™ movie one of your favorite Mark Ruffalo lines might be, “That’s my secret Cap. I’m always angry.” That clip gives me goosebumps every time. Banner unleashes the raw power and rage that is the Hulk and starts smashing the living daylights out of the evil alien army, and several buildings.
If you’re like me you’ve wished on multiple occasions that you had some sort of superhuman ability, and the Hulk’s super strength and practically impenetrable skin are two pretty awesome abilities. But I don’t think anyone wishes they had superhuman amounts of explosive rage locked inside just chomping at the bit to jump in to action. Luckily for the people of the Marvel comic universe, Banner has mastered his temper so that he only becomes the Hulk when it’s absolutely necessary.
Being a father can be extremely frustrating at times. The most trying times in my life right now with 5 small children are when they disobey. I try really hard to be patient and exact justice and punishment fairly, calmly, and with grace. Unfortunately sometimes I feel like Banner without any control of his temper.
The regret and guilt I feel after I unleash the Hulk on my children is unbearable, and it totally ruins the fact they needed punishment for disobeying the rules. Children need discipline, but they don’t need it handed out with rage. One silver lining for me is that my children are small enough that they don’t hold it against me, but that won’t be true forever. Their memories won’t be as forgiving as they get older. So I have to figure out how to be free of losing my temper before it permanently damages my relationship with my kids.
First things first. As a Misfit Man I have to rely on the Holy Spirit. The best way I’ve found to keep myself aligned with the Holy Spirit is to start my day off with prayer. I follow a daily prayer written by John Eldridge from Ransomed Heart Ministries. Go to your app store and download their app. There are tons of great resources on there to help you on your journey to becoming a Misfit Man. John Eldridge’s books and ministry have been instrumental on my journey.
Next, you have to understand what your triggers are. What types of things do your kids do that put you over the edge more quickly? Once you’ve identified your triggers, you can ask the Holy Spirit for specific help with those. Who knows, maybe Satan is trying to attack you through these situations. Remember, don’t give him a foothold. This same passage of scripture comes to mind again from Ephesians as it did in my last post.
Ephesians 4:26,27 – “26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.” (NIV)
One of my triggers is when an older child hurts a younger child. When I write that I have to chuckle a little to myself because it’s exactly what 90% of my punishment as a child resulted from. I would get annoyed with my little brother, then I would punch him, and then I would get in trouble. I’m sure to my parents it seemed a never-ending cycle of madness.
Lastly, when you feel like you might be about to unleash the Hulk you have to stop, take a deep breath, and then address the situation. Stopping for just a moment will help you calm yourself so you don’t overreact. I’m not saying you can’t speak loudly, but you know the difference in yourself when you are speaking loudly and firmly and when you are screaming.
As always, share your thoughts and tips so we can all be Misfit Men together.
p.s. For all you guys with stay-at-home moms in your life, don’t forget that she has been trying to control her Hulk all day when you get home from work. Don’t forget to look out for number one.