No. 319

Here is a question I would like for you to think with me about for a few minutes today. Do you live near a volcano? To this question I am confident most people will say “no”, save for those people who live near Mt. St. Helens in Washington state and a number of others who live near volcanoes in our newest states of Hawaii and Alaska. When I did research for this column I learned a good deal more than I already knew and that a volcano is “an opening in the crust of the earth from which steam, hot gases, ashes, etc., are expelled, forming a conical hill or mountain with a central crater.”
In this case the word “expelled” is not so foreboding, but when they “erupt” that’s a different story. We have had over 500 volcanic eruptions around the world in historic times but the one most Americans remember vividly is Mt. St. Helens back on May 14, 1980. The first blast along with subsequent blasts on May 25th and June 12th left 57 people dead. Now as bad as volcano eruptions are, I want to tell you about a different kind of eruption that is far more destructive than any volcano eruption in the history of the world.
This is when human beings “erupt” because of a violent temper. Whether it’s in a fit of rage or a deep seated anger, these people are destructive and in their wake they leave bruised and battered lives that never completely recover. Tragically in many cases this is fatal, as countless people in our country lose their lives each year in confrontations with violent and angry people. Fortunately there is help for people who have deep seated anger. Some time ago I ran across a brochure on ANGER RESOLUTION that gave the details of a character building course developed and presented by the Institute in Basic Life Principles based in Oak Brook, Illinois. Here are some symptoms of anger to consider as you think about your own life and your relationship with your family, co-workers, friends and others.
“No. 1: IRRITABILITY.. Are you hurt and offended by people or situations that should not bother you? No. 2: IMPATIENCE.. Do the weaknesses and limitations of others frustrate or exasperate you? No. 3: RAISED VOICE.. To get your point across, do you speak louder or even yell to get your point across? No. 4: GLARING EYES.. Do you stare with cold, mean eyes at someone who has offended you? No. 5 HURTFUL WORDS.. Do you show contempt or disapproval by calling people names? No. 6 EXPLOSIVE ACTIONS.. When tension builds, do you slam doors, pound your fist or break things? No. 7 ARGUMENTATION.. Do you allow yourself to get involved in heated arguments or debates?”
When it comes to controlling anger, here is one of the real pitfalls that often keeps many people from doing anything about it until it’s too late. Many people think they have no problem with anger because they only “blow-up once in a while.” Back to what I said in the beginning, “how would you like to live near a volcano that only erupted “once in a while?” You would live in continual tension wondering if today was the day it would erupt. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that this is the kind of stress that many marriages and families are experiencing.
Anger is the number-one cause of damaged marriages, abused children, and violence in the home, school and workplace. It is the common denominator among juvenile delinquents and the reason that so many youth are running away from home. To do anything about deep seated anger, we must be able to trace it to it’s roots. If you would like to know more about the ANGER RESOLUTION course, contact the Institute in Basic Life Principles, Box One, Oak Grove, Illinois 60522, 630-323-9800 or visit their Web site (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)