“You Get What You Get and You Don’t Throw a Fit!”

One evening our family was sitting at home for dinner and our 8- year old daughter Emma began to complain about the menu.  Suddenly, our son Andrew, who is 5, blurted out “Emma, you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit!”  Tammie and I burst out laughing.  This was great wisdom from our son.  We asked him where he heard it, and he said his pre-school teacher taught him the phrase.  Since his teachers work for me, I should have given her a bonus, or at least a Starbuck’s card for imparting such enlightenment upon my son.  As parents, we want our children to be appreciative for what they have rather than be jealous about what they don’t.

The tenth commandment states, “Do not covet,” which is where most of us leave it.  However, the full commandment reads, “You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17, NLT).  It is not virtuous to envy others’ success and possessions.  Yet, it is within our selfish human nature to desire what others have, even when we accept that God has chosen to bless another family with more financial resources than us.

In America today, there are politicians, journalists, and other activists, who teach an idealogy that demonizes the successful.  They paint successful Americans with the same broad brush that says they didn’t earn it, cheated their way to the top, and because they are rich others will now be poor.  These are excuses to justify jealousy.

As a parent, there are few things that grate on the nerves more than hearing my child complain about so-and-so’s new Nintendo 3DS or IPhone (why does an elementary kid need an IPhone?  A discussion for another day).  I wonder what God thinks when we whine about what we don’t have and are not grateful for his many blessings?

King David wrote numerous psalms that are called psalms of “thanksgiving” (Psalm 30, 34, 40, 138 and others).  These are prayers to God on behalf of David individually and the nation of Israel thanking God for the gifts He had given them.  I hope we model our prayers in a similar manner, so that they are not filled with selfish requests and complaints, but of thanksgiving and appreciation to the Creator of all that is good.

Trust me, you’ll feel better if you choose to live with an attitude of appreciation rather than jealousy.  But when you encounter those who drive a better car, have a bigger house, and work at a higher-paying job, don’t childishly declare, “that’s not fair!”  We don’t let our kids get away with such whining.  And please remember what we teach the children here at Renton Christian, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit!”

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