Last night I watched this clip from 1969 of Mr. Rogers defending public broadcasting at a Senate hearing. He was advocating for government funding of shows, like his, that encouraged and inspired children to be kind, generous and always growing on the inside. He specifically renounced the violence of the cartoons that were being fed to children depicting angry characters hitting each other over the head with pots and pans, rather than controlling their reactions. Citing his grave concern for our lack of teaching kids “the good feeling of control”, he asked to share the words to one of the songs he wrote to give children a tool in the middle of their heated moments of anger.
What do you do with the mad that you feel?
What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong…
And nothing you do seems very right?
What do you do? Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag?
Or see how fast you go?
It’s great to be able to stop
When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:
I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman
And a boy can be someday a man.
~ Mr. Rogers
Listening to his plea I couldn’t help but think, here we are 48 years later, and now it’s more than just our children who need to be reminded of what it looks like to be “a woman or a man”. So often, we forget about “the good feeling of control”. We’re rushing so fast through life that we forget to plan what we’ll do in advance, in those moments when we feel so mad we could bite. When we get pushed to our limit, sometimes we still pull out our pots and pans, instead of rounding up our friends for a game of tag. At least I know I do.
Whatever your situation, you have a choice.
You can decide in advance what to do with the mad you feel. You can have the good feeling of control or you can just keep pulling out your pots and pans. Only one leads to more love, connection and growth, the way of becoming more of adult.
What will you do with the mad that you feel?
to more love,
P.S. We’ll be learning new tricks to help us release some of the mad that we feel at our upcoming Laughter Yoga GNO in Frisco. Make plans to join us!