My vote for the dumbest injury in the world is the Boxer's Fracture, or a fracture of the 5th metacarpal bone in the hand (the bone that connects the pinky finger to the wrist). The name describes how the injury occurs. Someone, usually with no boxing skill whatsoever, punches something or someone. Their aim is bad and they connect with the outside knuckle and SNAP goes the metacarpal. Whenever I see the fracture my first question is, “What did you hit?” The answers are usually sheepish, as the injury is usually accompanied with an excess of alcohol, anger or both. I say usually sheepish because of one patient I saw a few years ago. He was in his 30's and had punched a wall in anger.
I started to question him about his anger, explaining that if his anger could cause him to break his hand then he might want to do something about it. He was defiant. When I asked him if he got angry with his wife and kids he proudly responded that he did, but because he only yelled and did not hit anyone it was not a problem. With set jaw he declared, “I am not that bad of a dad!”
“Is that your goal?” I asked. “To be a not too bad dad? I would think that you would want to be a good father, someone your kids look up to.”
I should not have been surprised at his angry response, but I was.
“I don't come to you for advice, I came so you could fix my hand!”
“Well, as a Family Doctor I take care of the whole person and the whole family and I know that anger can damage families.”
“What do you know?”
And that was that. All I knew at that time was what I had learned in 20 years of medical practice, 30 years of marriage and 22 years of parenting. All I knew was that I had seen a lot of anger, been raised by abusive parents in an anger filled home, learned (the hard way) how to deal with my own anger and managed to build relationships with my kids and wife. To him, none of that mattered. To him, my opinions and experiences were no better than his, and his broken hand did nothing to change his mind.
After he left I reflected back on my own experience with anger, remembering the words of a pastor friend who had shared of his own struggles with anger. His simple statement-“Anger. Never. Works.” resonated with me in a powerful way. I listened to his counsel and swore off anger and changed the way I disciplined my children. It was a life changing realization and I learned it from someone else. I learned it because I was willing to listen to someone else. On my own I may have never learned it.
There is a natural tendency to not want to listen to others, to think that we can figure it out on our own. It is natural, but it is wrong and it is foolish. The writer of the Proverb nails it-
"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice." Prov 12:15 ESV
Let's be wise.
Coming soon- "6 Characteristics of a Great Dad" spoiler alert: Yelling and hitting walls don't make the list! Remember to share the posts you like with friends and to share your thoughts in the comments.