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  A Christian Faith Magazine September 2003, Volume 9, Issue 2  
Addiction to Impulses
Rev. Mark Connolly
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One of the most common observations we can make today about people who show bad tempers or throw tantrums is that these habits that we see in them as adults existed for a long time before when they were children. I would like to share with you some thoughts on a subject that really brings a lot of pain and heartache to many homes. It is what we call the addiction to impulses or the addition to bad habits.

When you look today at all of the adults whom we see who find it so easy to yell, to swear, to curse, or to use rotten language especially in the confines of their home you can be pretty accurate when you say this is what they grew up with in most cases. Every adult knows that you cannot shout fire in a crowded theater just because you might have the impulse to do it. Every adult should know that the way you use your tongue at home is devastating to young people psyche and causes an awful lot of anxiety in the home and creates a silent living hell for most who are living under that roof.

If today you want to do something for your family, and this implies whether you are an adult or a child, you have to keep in mind that if you are going to be a person who has peace of mind and gives peace of mind to others, you have to grow up knowing what boundaries are all about and what a structure really means. In the development of any personality and this goes back from the time when the child in the home is 2 or 3 of age, that child has to be taught with all charity, with all compassion, that he cannot give free role to all his tantrums and all his childish actions. Please do not misunderstand me. We know a child has to grow up making mistakes. But we also know a child has to be taught to respect the rights of others, respect the people in his own home, respect those who try to offer him love.

We see children today coming into church that are so beautifully trained by their parents and you know the parents have taken the time to instruct them, to teach them how to behave in the house of God and that is a real tribute to the many parents who recognize that their children can upset the worshiping habits of others in the church at that time. We sincerely compliment those who take the time at home who teach their children respect for those outside the home.

In life every person is going to be subjected to the pain of discipline and the pain for regret. First of all the pain of discipline. One of the hardest things is for a son or daughter to do is to offer an apology at home to someone they have hurt. They might be learning in school that the hardest words to say in pubic speaking are the word, "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers." But really the hardest words oftentimes they will be asked to say, if they do something wrong at home is I apologize or I am sorry.

It is a simple principal, if they do not learn this kind of discipline at home, they certainly will bring an awful lot of chaos and disturb the peace of mind of others when they make a serious mistake in their own home without apologizing or without saying I am sorry. They have got to be taught to learn these basic principles of apologizing in the confines of their home at the earliest stage possible. That is what you call the pain of discipline. And that discipline has to be implemented by responsible parents who discipline their children with love and with kindness. If ever a child walks out of a home without having been subjected to the pain of discipline, that child as an adult will make it extremely difficult to live within the confines of his new home.

The pain of regret. One of the reasons you teach children about the value and pain of discipline is that, hopefully, with the right manners and values being taught they will have few opportunities to experience the pain of regret. Today everyone feels that because freedom of speech you can say what you dam well pleased. We call that sins of the tongue. Why anyone feels they have a right to yell, to engage in arguments, to cause turbulence at the home just because they have the impulse to do it, is oftentimes the beginning signs of an immature person.

Concerning the sins of the tongue that are committed by children at home and adults at home, one of the basic principles that should be kept in mind concerning spouting off is the principle, it is far better to be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubts. When you analyze our culture today, we want everyone to change but ourselves. We know how to fix other people's lives. We know what is good for them. Our basic failure is that we are more concerned about how we can correct the lives of others than correct our own lives. Getting out of control whether you are driving a car, whether in the confines of your own home, really telling people off really, prolonging the argument, in no way contributes to the peace of any home. Clinical psychologist for years have said, the last word in every argument generally surfaces later on in a future argument with the same people.

Christ on Cross

Another aspect of the unkind word concerning those who have had tough childhoods. For example, the dysfunctional person. Some where along the line we seem to think that because a person has an impediment such as being dysfunctional, that they have no obligation to show restraint or even be sensitive. Although we know it is difficult for people who are carrying hurts, no one because of that reason has a right to go out and hurt others by the sins of their tongue. We also know that many divorced children live with that feeling that they might have cause the breakup of their parents. That they were at fault and, therefore, they have more of a right to act out, yell and scream and go on tirades. Whether you are a product of dysfunctional home or a produce of a divorced set of parents each one has that free will to respect and honor the feelings of the one's living in your home and the one's living outside your home. They are not to feel the brunt of the adversities that happened to you in the form of dysfunctionality or divorced parents. Those outside your home had nothing to do with it in most cases and they should be not penalized just because you want to act out. Our society for the last 25 years has grown up with the philosophy of the me generation. What is in it for me. But the sign of a mature person is one who can live the principles of Christ even while experiencing adversity, even while experiencing pain. Christ himself showed this while he was hanging on the cross, experiencing great pain, he said so the world can hear, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do". That forgiveness of Christ has to start at home at the earliest age possible so that the peace Christ spoke about when he said, "my peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you", will become a reality in your own home.

Jesus is able to forgive so much
because He loves so much.
Great love can forgive great sin.

- Mother Theresa

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