February 11, 2023

What Do You Do With The Mad That You Feel?

Written by Tripp Prince

One of the great ailments of our world today is that it is filled with children who claim to be adults.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 11, 2023

Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. Psalm 4:4, ESV

I have young children who have more energy than they know what to do with, and like any child their age, they often struggle with these passions, quickly seeing them turn to anger and fits of rage. Though no parent enjoys such moments, it has been a joy to see them slowly embrace healthy habits of processing these complex emotions.

In light of this, I’ve often thought of a song that defined my own childhood, What Do You Do With The Mad That You Feel? In a way that only Mr. Rogers could do, he entered into the world of an angry young child, giving voice to the emotions that swirled like a tempest inside their hearts and minds:

What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong…
And nothing you do seems very right? 

And while highlighting the ways a child often works through these feelings – punching a bag, pounding some clay, or running around outside to burn it off – Mr. Rogers, himself an ordained minister and devout lover of God, offers a vision of change, growing from infancy into full manhood and womanhood:

Know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman
And a boy can be someday a man.

For me, the true profundity in these words lies in the invitation into transformation. Yet, and this is key, age alone does not guarantee this growth! Note his carefully selected words: “a girl can be someday a woman, and a boy can be someday a man.” Can be someday. Possible? Yes. Certain? Absolutely not. 

In truth, I think one of the great ailments of our world today is that it is filled with children who claim to be adults.

Men and women in seats of power who are of age biologically, yet spiritually infants, lacking even an ounce of wisdom or God-given maturity. And we see this in every sphere of society: business, politics, and, yes, even the church.

I don’t fault my kids for being children. It’s who they are! Yet as a father, I am daily holding out a vision before them of what they can become. “Your anger does not have to control you. The Spirit longs to free you and transform you into someone who loves what he loves and serves as he serves.” They’re not there yet, but they are growing and moving in the right direction, which in truth, is all any of us can hope for: growing and becoming more and more like Jesus. Or, as Mr. Rogers puts it, becoming someday a woman and someday a man.


Father, help us to see signs of lingering infancy and immaturity, and keep us on the path to true manhood and womanhood, looking fully to Christ as our model and very source of life. Amen.


Ask the Lord to help you know yourself and to give you eyes to see where you most need to grow and invite the light of his love into your life.

Related Reading

Romans 12:2; Philippians 3:12-15; James 1:2-4

Worship Resource

Mr. Rogers: What Do You Do With The Mad That You Feel?



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