Friday, April 23, 2010

Temper, temper, temper...

Ellen has asked each of us in the presidency to occassionally share our thoughts on gospel principles here on the blog as a guest blogger. If any of you would like to do the same, feel free to e-mail Ellen your thoughts! We’d love to hear from you!

Guest Blogger Devon Linn

Children are not always easy to live with. This morning while I was having a grouchy moment, I lost my temper at my children and instantly felt terrible about it. I have been trying to become more patient this year, and I get so discouraged when I don't parent my children in the way that I'd like to. I wanted to figure out how to avoid another moment where my nerves were frayed and I let little things get the better of me.

I got on and searched “temper,” and I found a great article from the Ensign called Tempering our Tempers by Douglas Brinley (A BYU professor). In it he says, “I can think of no positive context for displaying anger, though certainly righteous indignation and the righting of wrongs can be justified. The scriptures indicate that undisciplined anger is always cankerous and destructive. It is one of Satan’s primary tools for destroying marriages and family relations.” I remember President Monson saying something very similar in his previous Priesthood session talk he gave, and I realized it is true. There really is no positive reason for displaying anger.

But how can I change the way I’m wired? I think I have more of a "grouchy" problem rather than an "anger problem," but I know I have a lot of room for improvement. I want to be the kind of woman who always parents with love and speaks kindly all the time, but it isn't easy to ALWAYS be that way when little things all seem to pile up!

This was from Dr. Brinley’s article, and I think the concepts can apply to all of us when we'd like to change any of our behavior:

“So how does someone who struggles with anger learn self-discipline? The world would try to help people conquer their tempers by setting up some kind of behavior modification program that might take years and yet produce only marginal results. But the Lord and the prophets tell us that we already know how to control anger. The problem of anger results from not understanding and applying the doctrines of the gospel. President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said: ‘True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.’”

He then quotes Elder Holland of the quorum of the twelve, who said, “You can change anything you want to change and you can do it very fast. That’s another Satanic sucker-punch—that it takes years and years and eons of eternity to repent. It takes exactly as long to repent as it takes you to say ‘I’ll change’—and mean it. Of course there will be problems to work out and restitutions to make. You may well spend—indeed you had better spend—the rest of your life proving your repentance by its permanence. But change, growth, renewal, repentance can come for you as instantaneously as it did for Alma and the Sons of Mosiah.”

I am probably going to be working on learning to temper my temper for years to come, but hopefully as I learn to study the scriptures, apply the gospel to my life, and just strive to become more like the Savior, I can begin to overcome the grouchiness that creeps into my life and keep the Spirit with me. I know that the principles of repentance work and really can change lives, and I know they can even change our behavior and emotions.

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