I realize Vietnam Veterans are the grandparents of our children these days but I saw a post during the Veteran’s Day remembrance this month about Grumpy Veterans that boldly owned anger issues in a painfully accurate way.
It read, “I am a grumpy veteran. I served, I sacrificed, I don’t regret. I am not a hero, not a legend. My oath of enlistment has no expiration date. I have anger issues and a serious dislike for stupid people. I am proud to be a veteran. If this offends you, I DON’T CARE.”
Unless you were alive during the 70’s you won’t understand the grumpy veteran reality. Vietnam veterans didn’t come home to cheering crowds. When they boarded the train or the airplane in uniform to return, they may have been greeted with more scorn than patriotism. Those who stayed were in protest of the war and we didn’t leave Vietnam victorious, we just left.
I understand the anger. It is resident in the children of the vets who came home because it was passed down in their upbringing.
Now we hear fighting about whether America is great or not. People with hats proclaiming a desire to “Make America Great Again” have coffee thrown on them. Children in school are told to turn their shirts inside out. Tolerant Americans are amazingly intolerant. Anger seems to reign.
So what can be done about the anger?
This is a perfect time of year to begin turning the tide. We cannot choose most of the circumstances and events of our lives; we can choose our reactions to them. It is difficult to accept a government that sent young men into war without clear orders to win. But the ungrateful nation back home was still much better than the conquered nation they returned from.
Thanksgiving is the only true remedy for anger. Rather than begrudge what you don’t have; be grateful for what you do possess. Rather than sulk in anger against those who seem to have control over your life, be grateful that you are in control of your thoughts and reactions. The place to stop the cycle of anger is in the hearts of parents who refuse to pass anger along to their children. There is a much better legacy.
Years of anger do not disappear overnight. The trend to lessen anger’s impact can reverse enough to change the entire course of a child’s life. Courageously choose to be thankful rather than to be resentful. Count your blessings. Literally make a list. Then add to the list daily. You will need to search for things to be thankful for on some days, but the search will provide a better frame of mind.
As you count your blessings for the people in your life, remember that anger turns their hearts away from you. If you want close relationships, anger must be treated as an unwelcome intruder into your peace.
Let your thankful heart remove your angry heart one day at a time. Begin now while the support for giving thanks is high around you. As you change your reactions and attitudes, your children will begin changing theirs as well.