The Incredible Hulk is in my office right now.

If you know me, you’re not shocked to hear that I have a variety of action figures, toys, and other immature or unnecessary items in my office. One of these items is a 12-inch tall plastic Hulk. My wife found it for me at a thrift store. It has several prerecorded messages that play when you push a button on his back. I also have a Slurpee cup with the Hulk on it. You may be wondering: ”Why the green giant?” Well, he reminds me of a change I made in the earlier part of my parenting.

I have a confession to make: I am the Incredible Hulk

You see, being a parent of four little kids was so enjoyable! I loved getting on the floor playing with the kids, singing with them, reading and making up stories for them, and helping with their homework. We always loved tickling and play-fighting on the bed. I remember even having some good talks and praying with the kids before bed.

However, when the kids were little, they sometimes wanted an extra story, or a cup of water or the whole bedtime routine was just going too slow for my liking and I would definitely experience angry feelings rising up inside of me. Especially some evenings I would be tired from a busy day or I could see Pam was tired from the evening with the kids and I remember how irritated and impatient I became. Looking back, I’m glad I had pretty good self-control in what I said and did, but I do know that the feelings were strong and my tone and volume were not the best. I wish I never struggled with this!

As our kids started growing up, I realized that I should change. It was actually through my work at the church as the youth pastor that I realized an adjustment needed to be made. We had been studying the book of James and as we worked our way through chapter one, the following verses challenged me – actually, they hit me between my slightly enlarged green eyes.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

James 1:19-20 NIV

For me, just admitting that my anger was a problem f and that it needed to be “slower” was helpful. I decided not to be the Hulk.

As my kids became teens and now adults, and even as I connect with students in our church, I catch myself saying “I’m not mad.” I say this to them and myself! I now recognize when I’m sounding too intense, so I catch a breath and then continue the conversation.

Are you an Incredible Hulk parent? If you need to make a change, do it now. Admit it to yourself, to God and your family. Apologize. Talk to someone about this so you can grow and learn how to handle your anger.

Deep breath.

Lord, I confess that I have a problem dealing with anger. Please forgive me and help me to change. Thank-you. Amen.

Who can you talk to about this?

The Emmanuel Family Ministry Team works to pass on a vibrant faith in Jesus to the next generations by aligning and combining the disciple-making efforts of the church and the home.