Last weekend we needed to move cattle from one farm to another to simplify winter feeding. It was cold so I asked the kids to bundle up. Somehow in the process of getting ready, our youngest son touched the glass window of the fireplace. He did it with gusto – all 10 fingers were blistered and he howled like a coyote.
After nursing his wounds and patching him up, we decided to let one of our older daughters stay home with him while we loaded and moved cows. This was met with whining and gnashing of teeth from our other two children about the unfairness of this situation. We proceeded to the truck with our grouchy helpers and headed out to the field. The first thing we asked our 10-year-old daughter to do was get the gate. She was mad about having to help so she moved in painfully slow motion to get it done.
Finally, the cows were penned and we proceeded to run them through the chute to load them up in the trailer. I watched as our daughter stood in her designated spot with her nose plugged to block the aroma of cattle. I laughed out loud. The cows were moved to the other farm and my husband and I told the kids what we were doing next. More whining. We had both had it with the whining. I told them with every complaint, we’d add on another task. Finally after feeding hay, counting cattle and loading the wood box, they figured out they needed to get tough and do the work if they were ever going to be free to go play.
Whining has become an epidemic in this country. Every time I open up a social media page, it’s plagued with whining. Complaints about our government. the price of gas or groceries, low wages, the list goes on! Whatever happened to working hard to make a living and living within our means? Or have we become a sniveling society of whiners?
We are starting to get ready for Christmas around here. Christmas today is a far cry from the reality of the first Christmas, but I like to reflect on it anyway.
Joseph traveled with Mary several miles across the desert while she was on the back of a donkey. Mary, in her third trimester of pregnancy was likely uncomfortably large on that miserable trip to Bethlehem. When they got there, there weren’t any five-star hotel rooms available for resting. They were left with an animal stable (a smelly cave) to make their bed for the night. Ya know, the night she was going to give birth to the world’s Savior. No cushy private hospital room with accomplished nurses and ob-gyn doctors. No epidural! A primitive spot for the greatest miracle in the world to take place.
There were a lot of things missing that go along with childbirth today. You know what else wasn’t there? Whining. The Christmas story in the Bible doesn’t recount anyone whining or complaining about this less-than-ideal situation. It does however mention – joy, singing, and adoration.
I once heard a farmer in my hometown say, “The hardest part of farming is learning how to complain properly.” I despise that phrase. I believe there are always reasons to be thankful. Farming is a really great life, even in the toughest of times.
I cannot say we’ve stamped out whining completely in our household – it’s a daily battle I fight even with myself. The spirit of Christmas and in life is found in being servants to one another and finding delight in our work. The elf-on-the-shelf has arrived in our home and is making daily whining reports to Santa. I hope the rest of the world takes a break from whining this holiday season too. Merry Christmas, neighbor!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here