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Doing Something Good with Anger

“There was a little girl and she had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead.

And when she was good, she was very, very good, and when she was bad she was horrid.”

You may have heard about that little girl. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow introduced her to us.


And the little girl’s name was Susie. And when Susie got angry, a red flame came out of her head. The red flame frequently did damage, and then people said that Susie was being bad. In fact, they said that she was being horrid.


Susie didn’t like being called horrid and she didn’t like doing damage,. She felt badly about it afterward. Susie wished and wished and wished that the anger would just go away, but it never did. Every time her brother annoyed her or she saw something unfair in the world, she got angry and the red flame started in her head. And because she didn’t know what to do with it, the red flame just shot out of the top of her head and got all over everything and did damage.


Then one day Susie noticed the tea kettle on the stove. And she noticed that the stove flame didn’t damage the tea kettle. The stove flame made the water in the tea kettle hot, and she liked the tea she could make with the hot water. The stove flame did something good, and nobody called it horrid.


Susie thought, maybe if I kept my flame inside my head, instead of shooting it out all over everything, maybe my flame could do something good. So, instead of just wishing that the anger would go away, Susie tried keeping the flame inside her head. And she discovered that she could do that.


Susie noticed that although keeping the flame inside her head was a little uncomfortable at first, it was actually more comfortable than the way she felt when the flame got all over everything. And she also noticed that keeping the flame inside her head helped her tell her brother about being annoyed with him in a way that he heard, and then sometimes he was less annoying. And Susie liked that. And, when she saw something in the world that wasn’t fair, keeping the flame inside her head gave her the energy to actually do something about it. And Susie liked that, too.


And because Susie liked what happened when she kept the flame inside her head where it could do good things, she tried to do that whenever she got angry. And nobody called her horrid any more. And she liked that a lot.

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