"Whiners have the capacity to suck possibilities out of a situation faster than Count Dracula can grab a quick snack."*
When I was little, I was a whiner: I whined when Mom took me to the grocery store, hoping she would buy me a chocolate bar; I whined when it was naptime; I whined when my sisters wouldn't play a game with me; I whined when I had to eat my chili; I whined when I had to clean my room. My Mom had to listen to me 24/7.
Now, it's payback time. I have a little girl who whines: she whines when it's bathtime; she whines when she has to eat something she doesnt' like (which is a lot); she whines when she has to do her homework; she whines when she's bored; she whines when she wants a new stuffie. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
So, I suggested for Lent that we give up whining. It works for both children and adults; while the former whine, the latter complain. I suggested that we put a jar on the table marked "WHINING/COMPLAINING -- 1 cent". Every time we do so, we must put a penny in the jar. Hopefully the action will make us more aware of our whining and help us break the habit.
I googled "No Whining Zone" and found an article by Roxanne Emmerich who suggests that we ask our friends, family and co-workers to warn us when we start to whine by making a double-u with their three fingers. That way, we can use out energies to create a solution rather than to magnify the problem.
It is far too easy to fall into the habit of whining rather than giving thanks. We focus on what we don't have rather than what we have. It's interesting that those who have less often appreciate it more. I heard it once said that: "Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have."
That was Rob's Oma's secret to success. Although she lived through the Great Depression, two world wars, two evil regimes (Naziism and Communism), two deadly diseases (typhus and malaria), lost two husbands (one to a botched operation, one on the battlefield), lost two children (one in infancy, one in adulthood), lost her farm (when Germany was redivided), she appreciated God's blessings, no matter how small.
Oma used to giggle when she scratched a one-dollar lottery ticket. She used to light up when she blew out her birthday cake candles. She loved spreading chunks of butter on a fresh piece of crusty bread. She took delight as she cooked a sizzling pound of bacon for her grandson. She loved painting Easter eggs, shelling them and sprinkling them with a mini-saltshaker to serve to her great-grandchildren.
May we take our cue from Oma. We might live until the ripe old age of 96, too. For a happy heart is a healthy heart (eventhough she ate a pound of butter a week).
Image courtesy http://problemstosolve.files.wordpress.com.