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Keith John Paul Horcasitas

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Advent / Anger Management / Traffic Light
by Keith John Paul Horcasitas   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Sunday, November 27, 2011
Posted: Sunday, November 27, 2011

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Using the analogy of a traffic light to understand human behavior and applying it to how to appropriately approach Advent.

Today at Mass, the First Sunday in Advent (Year B, November 27, 2011, New Missal), Fr. Trey Nelson of St. Jude Parish shared in his homily about a recent experience of driving in Baton Rouge with his 4 y/o nephew as a way to highlight our need to be careful and watchful in our spiritual lives this Advent - as we likewise do when approaching a Yellow traffic light.

When I was a kid, my aunt, Sr. Mary Joselia Kleinpeter, SSND (a School Sister of Notre Dame who at 95 years of age lives at St. Mary of the Pines in Chatawa, Mississippi) taught me a neat song to remember what a Traffic Light meant:

Red, Yellow, Green
Stop, Change, Go
Red, Yellow, Green
Stop, Change Go

Red means stop
Green means go
Yellow means, Caution!” everybody's standing in a row

Red, Yellow, Green
Stop, Change, Go
Red, Yellow, Green
Stop, Change Go

We can learn some great truths to following rules and managing anger by using a Traffic Light. And this can also be applied to how we approach the Season of Advent.

Red = feeling anger or other feelings that are normal but using Aggression, which can be behaviors that express our feelings in a way that may hurt others. We need to “STOP” and reconsider our responses.

Yellow = we need to “CHANGE” our initial impulsive response options - one or two behavior emphasis:

1)Caution – feeling uncertain and being appropriately careful about the decisions we have to make about what behaviors we do next based upon how we think, not just feel - this can be helpful in difficult situations like from peer pressure to do something that may be unlawful or not line with what we would want done to us, OR

2)Passive – feeling out of control and allowing others to take advantage of us in ways that are not appropriate and making us feel like our needs are not important; for teens this may also involve not following the directions of the appropriate authorities in our lives.

Green = Assertive – “GO!” - being in touch with our feelings and being honest about what behaviors that we will consider doing, using caution, as noted above, and understanding, as well as taking responsibility for the consequences that will be involved.  

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