Mar 10, 2012

Righteous Rage

Never get between a mama bear and her cub. Or between a Papa Ricky and his 8-year-old's first bumper car ride.

They wouldn't let me ride with him. Then I watched in impotent agony as he could barely reach the pedals, lurching and stopping and starting and managing just one round of the rink in the entire time. By the time it ended he was crying & jumping into my arms and I was in a screaming rage.

I scooped him up and swarmed the young woman who had refused to let me ride with him. "THE NEXT TIME YOU SEE A LITTLE BOY HAVING TROUBLE AND CRYING, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!!"

She started to answer and I just cut her off. Each time she tried to say something, I just yelled back more, then stormed off with my sad, scared children. I don't even know what she was trying to say - explain, apologize, offer another ride, I have no idea.

By the time we reached the customer service office I'd calmed down just enough to remember that being civil gets one alot further. More calmly explaining what happened, they bent over backwards to make it better - refund, free parking, free ride on anything we wanted and walking us to the front of the line for the front seat of the 1936 Giant Dipper roller coaster. Our beautiful day at Santa Cruz boardwalk ended in happiness.

And in a lesson. I rehashed my reactions with the boys and asked which was more effective. I let them know that I was sorry, and wrong, for treating a person the way I treated that young woman who was just doing her job. That much anger for something as insignificant as a bad ride is unacceptable.

I hope my boys saw how fiercely I will defend them, but at the same time saw that I will usually, and eventually, use a humane, relational and effective approach to do so. Rage is blind, deaf, and un-compassionate, and it escalates rather than solves or heals. The next time my child is wronged, I will just as fiercely defend him, and at the same time be a much better role model for how to resolve conflict.


  1. Even though after some thought you realized you shouldn't have screamed, I do think your initial reaction shows how much you care for your son. I probably would have done the same and I know many who would have too.

  2. The LOVE that we feel for our children will sometimes cause us to go into a blind rage,while dealing with frustrating situations.You have learned what can happen,assess,what happened,talk to the family, learn from it,and move on,till next time......Then ????

  3. You played it perfect. Unleash all your righteous rage against the young woman who enforced the rules... She thinks just because she is making minimum wage she has to lay down the ridiculous law -- she would probably say "I'll get in trouble if I don't". HA! I hope you humiliated her with your Papa Bear screaming rage roar, and good on you not to apologize to that punk!

    Even better, you were reasonable with the customer service office, and got lots of sweeeeeeeeeeet perks. They were probably the people who made the rules that other woman was enforcing, but you managed to milk the system.

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing. This is exactly the kind of real life lessons kids need today. Kiss UP to the people with the power and money, because they can give you stuff. And Kick DOWN on the people who work the front lines whenever you can, it feels so good and there's nothing they can do. I envy your kids, I didn't learn that vital lesson until I was well into my fifties! Father of the year!

    1. Thanks Johnny. As I said in the final two paragraphs, it was all about a lesson - as much for me as for my children - in how to treat people. I hope they were able to understand the inappropriateness of my anger response to that young woman.