Home: A Gripe-Free Zone

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"Make your home a no-gripe zone" by Ellen Mongan (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: Pixabay.com (2017), CC0/PD

“You get what you get, and you don’t pitch a fit.” I do not know the author of that profound statement, but the words are convicting. Are you a griper? Do you have a grateful heart or are you sinking into the pit of complaining?

Words are so important, especially when parenting your children. Did you know that a mom’s attitude can set the tone for the home?  Your children are listening and learning from you. A song of praise upon your lips can chase the clouds of gripe away. Teach them how to turn griping into gratefulness.

I was visiting the grandchildren recently and just catching up on what was happening in their lives. “How is school, girls?” I began. The griping door swung wide open and every complaint that they had in their hearts surfaced. One complaint was about the cookies served in the cafeteria. I, being a problem solver, readily gave my opinion. “I think the school should provide a suggestion box where complaints can be addressed privately.” Then I stated a second solution, though in jest. “Perhaps your mom can bake the cookies for the entire lunchroom crew.” I do not know if my granddaughters caught my sarcastic humor. Maybe I should have thrown in the words, “in her spare time.”

Griping has become a pastime of not just the young, but the old as well, and everyone in between. It is not a new thing, even the Bible characters griped. However, it has never been in style, according to God. In fact, griping can change your countenance — and so can praise. Who were the number one gripers in the Scripture?

Lot’s wife had a gripe or two. She gave lots of free advice. However, God did not ask her opinion. I guess you could say that she should have seasoned her words with love. I bet she was surprised when she turned into a pillar of salt.

Most of the holy prophets complained to God about the way things were. In fact, Jonah and Isaiah had such dissatisfaction about their situation they begged to die. Talk about over-griping!

Queen Vashti griped about her husband. The king nipped that in the bud. He quickly replaced her with Queen Esther, who knew how to guard her tongue. It was a beautiful choice.

The Israelites griped so much that they bought themselves a 40-year trip in the desert. Even though God fed them with manna and guided them with a cloud by day and fire by night, it was never enough to stop their griping. I guess you could say they chose to learn the hard way.

Then there was Job. I personally believe Job had the right to gripe. What about Job’s friends? They were not even the one suffering, but it did not stop them from complaining. What about Job’s wife? She both griped and gave advice. Does telling your husband to “curse God and die” sound like good advice from a godly wife? I guess it would have helped to have had a suggestion box in those days as well, where gripes could be placed anonymously.

Griping can change our focus toward the negative, which steals our joy. It gets our goat and everyone else listening. If you voice your gripe out loud, many who hear you will willingly join in. Griping does not get you anywhere at all.

Why not take a pause this month to do a heart check? With eyes on Jesus and judgement set aside, observe the conversations that take place in your home. Observe yourself first, then your husband and children. Is anyone griping away the day? How can you change the tone in your home to gratefulness?

Here is an idea. Take some time to make a family gripe box with the children. Decorate it together. Then instruct everyone to write their gripes and place them in the box. At the end of each week, set aside some time for you and your husband can read each gripe in private. Then pray together about solutions.

Never underestimate the fact that gripes may be real. Seeds of dissatisfaction left unchecked can grow a crop of bitterness. Every problem has a solution. You have gripes; God has answers! The gripe box. in a small way. will prepare your family to have room in their heart to be filled with thanks and praise. So box up those gripes and prayerfully discover the solutions.

Thanksgiving is a time to count your blessings. Place a thanksgiving box next to the gripe box. Ask each family member to write at least one thing they are thankful for each day. Open that box at the Thanksgiving table and read them out loud to the whole family. Does your gratitude outweigh your gripes?

God wants us to be one. Griping can separate us from one another. Make your home a no-gripe zone by walking away from griping toward gratefulness. Let your lives be a thank-you card to God for what he has done!


Copyright 2019 Ellen Mongan

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About Author

Ellen Mongan, a Catholic writer and speaker, has been married more than 40 years to Deacon Pat Mongan. They have 7 children and 12 grandchildren. Ellen is a host of WOW Radio Podcasts, a religious columnist for the Augusta Chronicle, and has spoken on both radio and television. She is the founder of Sisters in Christ, Little Pink Dress Ministry, and Women-Fests.

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