I have decided that the most effective way to deal with these problems is to keep calm. I have a "10" rule. Depending on the circumstance, I either count to 10, wait 10 hours or even 10 days. Each case is different.
If my children are the frustration, I count to 10 before I explode (or at least I try to remember to do that). I'm not perfect, but generally by the time I slowly count to 10, some of the red hot fire of the situation has been diffused and I am able to think in my head the best possible solution to my frustration. I can't change who my children are, but I can certainly be responsible for myself and how I respond to those triggers especially with those I love the most on this earth.
When it comes to my husband, I am blessed. I can't think of any situation where I have been mad enough that I even had to count to 10 before I spoke. This case is the only exception to my rule and it may sound weak and wrong when I say it, but when it comes to Ben, I generally just let it go and keep my mouth shut. I am so glad this doesn't happen very often, I'd even say rarely. But, the only reason this works is because he does the same thing for me and boy am I glad for that:) My life on this earth is too short to be angry with the man I love most on this earth.
When it comes to dealing with the school, whether it is a teacher or school official, I also use the 10 rule. If it is an urgent situation, I try to wait 10 hours before writing the crucial e-mail or calling the school. This gives me time to cool off and reflect on all the different aspects of the situation, not just my own side of it. If it is non-urgent, I try to use the 10 day rule before I do or say anything about it. Generally, after a few days, the whole thing has blown over or naturally resolved itself.
Ben has a similar rule when coaching football: If a parent is upset about something that happened at practice or a game, he asks the parent to please feel free to call him on his cell phone THE NEXT DAY. That way, the situation has been diffused and people are more likely to remain calm and discuss the problem and focus on a solution, rather than have a heated argument about what happened, which usually solves very little.
When it comes to dumb people, I just shrug it off most of the time and hope that in the next 10 years, they will figure out how dumb they really are and come to their senses. Age improves everything, right? Okay, maybe not everything, but sometimes it just isn't worth getting upset over.
Truly, our life here on this earth is just a pin point mark on our eternal existence. Who knows how long we will be here? We don't have time to be mean or ugly with others because today could be our last day on earth. Sometimes it happens though, and the best thing you can do is make sure you apologize quickly and move on. Tim McGraw said it best in his song "Live Like You Were Dying,"
...And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying
And he said
Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying.