When it comes to motherhood I have two pet-peeves: whining and arguing! Both of these "skills" my daughter seems to be an expert. She is eight years old and whenever her words come out sounding like an overly tired two year old I want to run screaming for the hills!
She has a thing I like to call the "whiner voice". You know the sound, for all children have a whiner voice! It varies in tone to match their individual set of parents, but all children have this feature! A feature I truly wish was not preinstalled! Often times when she makes a request/demand in her whiner voice I give in and gratify her. I know that is not exactly demonstrating my best parenting skills, but I'm only human and sometimes I just really want some peace and quiet!
However, I don't want you to think that I always indulge her, because I do not. This my friends, is when she automatically deploys a new tactic, arguing (I am almost positive that all children come installed with this one too)! You may think that arguing is not as bad as the whiner voice, but that is not the truth! Remember if arguing has commenced that means we've already been through the whiner voice stage, which means my nerves have already been worked. (lol)
One day deep in the trenches of argument I told my daughter "Just stop arguing", and her reply was, " I'm not arguing with you, I'm having a conversation with you". My initial thought was that my daughter is a clever one, and some day she might make a great lawyer, and after that I wondered if she knew the difference between arguing and conversation?! So, I made her go and get the Webster's Dictionary (By the way have you ever read a biography on Noah Webster? Fascinating stuff, no joke!). I made her look up both argument and conversation and write out the definitions. (See, I do have some parenting skills after all, ha ha)
Argument was "to go against" and conversation was " to share ideas" (that is the simple break down anyway). She was not happy about having to look up words in the dictionary, nor was she happy about having to write out definitions, but now anytime an argument starts to erupt all I have to do is mention the dictionary and it almost instantly ceases.
All this whining, all this arguing it really does get on my nerves and make me want to pull my hair out, I myself am not innocent when it comes to these two faults though. For not being able to tolerate whining I sure am good at it. I wonder if it makes the hair on the back of God's neck stand up when I come whining before his throne?! It makes me think of Martha (you know, in the Bible...you can check it out in Luke 10:38-42). She whined a little about all the work she had to do while her sister Mary was enjoying Jesus' company. I often whine about all the work I have to do and how little time I have to enjoy just being still! Perhaps it is a wise idea to spend my time with Jesus enjoying his company and not whining to him.
Do my arguments echo through God's ears and make him grind his teeth with frustration?! Whoa! I just had a light bulb turn on! Did I say argument and God in the same sentence?! Who am I to argue with God almighty, the creator of everything?! Surely he knows all, and knows best and it is not my place to contend with him! I must understand that it is okay to conversate with God but not argue with him, I do not ever want to "go against" him!
I am so glad that our Heavenly Father does not simply gratify me because he wants some peace and quiet after a long day of listening to every one's complaints. What a wonder it is to know he will forever stick to his word and has no weak moments or lapses in judgement, how reassuring that when I falter he does not! On many occasions I have told my daughter to "check your tone" and "think before you speak", from now on I shall be reminding myself of these things before I talk to God. :)