He was so angry he couldn’t sit still!


MoveEver seen a kid so mad about his parent’s separation or divorce that he couldn’t even sit still for a minute?

I had a nine year-old boy like this last a few years ago. He started our DC4K group in September and he oozed anger. He literally couldn’t make his body be still. Anger was etched on his face. Anger was in his movements. It seemed like there was a cloud of anger hanging over him. Can you visualize this child?

Now jump ahead to mid February. I was asked to fill in as a substitute on the piano for our church’s early Sunday morning service. The piano sets up on the stage and over to the side of the stage. The service started and as I was listening to the pastor I hear this voice say, “HEY!” I look down and here is this kid looking at me. It was my nine-year old from friend from our  DC4K class. I reach down and shake his hand, smile and mouth, “go sit down.”

As I began to play for the congregational singing I feel a presence next to me. I look over and there standing on the platform right next to me is my little friend. He has his Bible under his arm and he is standing there so still singing every word on the projected on the screen.

This kid that couldn’t sit still five months ago stood perfectly still and sung every word of every song. Oh my. The tears sprang to me eyes. I could hardly see the music. All I could think was, “I supported him and helped him and now he feels like he needs to stand next to me to support me.”

I thought back to the first day he came to our DC4K group. He came in bragging about a kid he just beat up. He was all over the room. He flitted from one station (table) to the next not completing anything.

The second week he told us about a kid he was going to hit. Again he couldn’t concentrate. He couldn’t answer questions after the video or the story. He didn’t complete any project. He wasn’t belligerent or mean he just couldn’t be still. His anger was still ruling his actions.

The third week he announced there was a mom in the neighborhood that was upset with him because she thought he was going to beat up her son. Then he said, “I mean look at me, all soft and cuddly! Does anyone really think I would beat up another kid?”

WHAT? It was all I could do to keep shock from registering on my face. That’s when I realized he didn’t see himself as an angry child. We were already seeing a difference in his behavior. While he still couldn’t sit still, he was beginning to take part in the question and answer time.

He really was a funny and loving scrappy little kid. He was coping the only way he could figure out how to do it. His behavior was begging for someone to help him get in control.

What we did

  • We started working on his anger issues and helping him recognize when he felt anger rising in his belly. (A lot of children don’t recognize when they are angry.)
  • I connected with him by greeting him each week when he walked through the door. Connections are important to these children.
  • I asked him how he wanted to be greeted, ie, handshake, fist bump, hug, high five or no touch. At first it was no touch and then moved to handshake, fist bump, etc. (Being allowed to make choices helps the child feel in control of their world.)
  • Each week we had him tell us what he was feeling.
  • We worked on his belly breathing and calming breaths.
  • I would look at him specifically when asking a question about the video or the subject for the evening.
  • We let him stand up and talk in front of the other kids and tell his stories.
  • I encouraged him to look at the scriptures each week and we talked about how God’s words could help him heal.
  • We laughed with him and experienced joy with him.
  • More than anything we loved him with the love of the Lord. He felt it and knew it.

We were not the only ones helping him work through his anger. His grandmother plays an important role in his life. She prays with him and teaches him about God. She makes sure he is involved in other church classes. Other church leaders in church have ministered to him and helped him.

On our session on loneliness we were talking about how God can fill your heart so you don’t feel so lonely. Someone asked, “Where is God any how?” To which the nine year-old said, “God is omnipresent!” When I asked him if he knew what “omnipresent” meant. He didn’t miss a beat but stood up and said, “Yes, I do. He is everywhere, everywhere” as he waved his hands in the air.

Last week we had a new child come to DC4K. This new child is angry frustrated and much like my nine year old friend was in September. The new boy took something that belonged to the nine year-old. My friend gently took the item and as he did he said, “At DC4K we don’t take other people’s things without asking their permission!” Wow! Do you realize what an act of kindness this was for the nine year-old?

I am so proud of this kid that I could just burst with pride for him. His grandmother and God’s loving church family have surrounded him. It has made a difference – a life long difference.


This story was originally posted in 2015. My friend continued attending DC4K for several cycles. This kid is now a teenager and doing well. He lives a busy life with his dad and doesn’t make it to church often but when he does, he scouts me out and we enjoy a big hug. What a sweet joy in the Lord to see a kid’s life changed.



This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on the Kids & Divorce blog on March 17, 2015.

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6 thoughts on “He was so angry he couldn’t sit still!

    • Yes I do love seeing that healing but Ms Robyn you have done well yourself in bringing God’s word to hurting children big and little!

  1. Brought tears of joy. As I read I thought of the thousands of ministries across America who need to learn these loving, God driven skills to minister to hurting children. I understand the pride, probably more than pride it was the amazing awareness of how God had used you to touch this child with the Triune God’s love.

    • Thank you so much Wanda. And yes, the fact that God had used me in this young man’s life was overwhelming and thus the tears as I was playing the piano. I know you understand as you have ministered to many people yourself.

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