Fall is my favorite time of year. The crisp mornings feel great, especially after our hot, hot summer. And, the leaves are so colorful; although I have to admit that I don’t enjoy raking them.
Fall also brings the start of school. No matter how old I get and how long I have been out of school, I still remember how excited I was to begin a new school year. The start of school always reminds me about the importance of getting a good education.
When my children were young, I encouraged them to complete their education. One of my sons not only graduated from college, but from law school and became an attorney. Now, I am encouraging my grandchildren to finish their education. I was so proud last spring when my oldest grandson graduated from Ball State University.
Not everyone, however, receives this kind of encouragement from their families. Many of our clients were never encouraged to get their high school diplomas, let alone go on to college. They may have faced other problems too in completing their education. The lack of a formal education is one of the barriers facing our clients in getting jobs and moving from assistance to independence.
At Wayne Township, we try to help clients who are able to get their GED’s to find ways to do so. We refer them to GED classes and sometimes waive their Township work requirements to give them time to study. In a sense, we become their family and provide that family support they lacked when they were younger.
We also offer them employment training classes once a week at our office. Our classes will not earn our clients a diploma, but will teach them basic job search skills and skills to help them keep a job when they obtain one. So often, employment training focuses on assisting clients to get a job, and leaves out the skills necessary to keep that job once the client gets it.
One of the skills clients must master to keep their jobs is anger management. Interpersonal relations in the workplace can be challenging for all of us. This is especially true for some of our clients who may not have had the advantage of being taught about how to react to difficult situations with bosses or co-workers.
Many of us learn anger management skills early in our working life from family, friends or mentors. For our clients who didn’t have this opportunity, we at the Wayne Township Trustee’s Office must serve as their mentors.
Recently our Employment Training Class addressed anger management. The class was taught by LeRoy Page, the Director of our Payee Department. Director Page told the class the real problem is not anger, but the mismanagement of that anger. He helped the class define anger as “a strong feeling of displeasure or hostility.”
The class members examined ways to manage their anger, including taking a deep breath or counting to ten before saying something to the person with whom they are angry. The class considered the consequences of mismanaged anger, one of which could be job loss. They discussed too the benefits of managed anger.
Lastly, Director Page discussed with the class the five R’s of Managing Anger—Recognize anger triggers, Respond instead of react, Regain control of emotions, Remember we don’t always get what we want, and Retreat by stepping back and thinking about the consequences.
Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee
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