“What is needed during times of crisis is calm and clear-headed trust…Focus on the things you can do and not on the things you cannot do.”

  • Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “God Will Do Something Unimaginable”

My son asked me recently if my dad ever gets mad. As I thought back, I couldn’t think of an instance where my dad has yelled in anger. (He doesn’t bottle everything in – he does some frustrated muttering.) 

I think one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from my dad is that if anger isn’t going to positively affect the outcome, then what’s the use of getting mad? (And really, when does anger ever positively affect an outcome?) With my sometimes very short fuse, I am not the best at following his advice but I try.

As I talked to my son, I related a story from years ago. I was rear-ended and pushed into the car in front of me. It was very scary and there was a lot of damage to the cars. But, there were no injuries. As I prepared to get out of my car, I thought “What would my dad do?” 

The driver of the car behind me was a teenage girl who was sobbing. I walked up to her, asked if she was okay, explained that everyone in my car was okay and that’s what is most important. Then, I asked if I could give her a hug. (Apparently hugging strangers – podcast episode #2 – should be added to my resume. And for the record, I don’t think my dad would’ve done that.) She sobbed and said yes. 

A few days later, while sorting out all the after-effects of the accident I received an email from an unknown name. It was the mother of that teenage driver. She was writing to tell me how grateful she was that I had shown compassion and kindness to her daughter.

If it hadn’t been for my dad’s example of focusing on being calm and clear-headed and only worrying about what I could control, I don’t know if I would have acted that way. I’m grateful for him and the many lessons he has taught me.

What experiences have you had where you’ve demonstrated calm in a crisis or someone else has and it has blessed you?