Tuesday, August 2, 2011

If You Don't Listen...You'll Get Swallowed by a Whale

Every now and then we have a day where the children seem to be having difficulty listening                                                                                                                                 hard of hearing.
                                                                                                        down right defiant.

It's one of those days when you're not sure why, but you are certain that your children have set their goal for the day and they are bound and determined to get whooped at any cost.

When we have those days around here, we always return to a familiar Bible story in the children's Bible about Jonah and the whale. To recap, God told Jonah to deliver a message for Him. Jonah didn't like this assignment, thought he would run from God (silly, silly boy), and hopped on a boat with some guys heading in the other direction. God became angry, and caused a storm to be so rough that the men threw Jonah overboard, certain that he was the cause of their bad sea fortune. In His grace and mercy, God allowed Jonah to be swallowed by a whale rather than drown, and once Jonah asked for forgiveness and agreed to do what God had asked, the whale spit him out onto dry land.

Obviously, the moral here, is to listen to what God tells you to do. You can dive deeper into it as well, stating that while being swallowed by a whale seems a horrible thing, it was merely a temporary discomfort Jonah had to go through rather than drowning. So sometimes, when we think we're going through a hot mess, God is really protecting us even though we didn't listen to Him in the first place. 

All of that being said, what this story has come down to in the Greene household is this, "Listen to Mommy and Daddy, or you will be swallowed by a whale!" This sounds like horrible Christian parenting at it's finest, I know. And it didn't begin this way. However, over the course of time, and struggles with difficult days, we just landed on that story in moments of weakness and frustration (but in a pinch I can turn any Bible story into a story about listening).

Yesterday afternoon was a particularly rough day for Elijah. I think he had grown tired of the attention Chastity was getting because of her injured arm, and he was behaving outlandishly to get his own, however negative, attention. Bedtime came, and we settled on the floor for Bible time. Daddy grabbed the children's Bible, looked at Elijah and asked, "What story do you think we're going to talk about today, Elijah?" 

"Jonah and the Whale. Megan's favorite!" 
Megan couldn't help but laugh. She is our friend who has visited many times, and witnessed our Bible time lessons.

"Very good! Why do you think we're going to talk about Jonah and the Whale today?"

"Because I didn't listen?"

"Yes, and what happens when you don't listen?"
"You get swallowed by a whale."

Of course we shared the real story with him, and of course we explained the real meaning. When it was all said and done Daddy asked Elijah to recap the story for us. He did his best, but it still came down to "Jonah didn't listen to God, so he got swallowed by a whale." 

Daddy asked, "So who are you going to listen to?"

Elijah answered with big smiles, "Mommy!"

"Who else?"





And just so no one was left out, Elijah added, "And Megan!"

An added quirk, is that over the past few months Elijah has randomly mentioned to me how he's scared of whales, doesn't like whales, etc. I just now, in this moment, while writing this story, connected those dots. So the next time your children are acting up and refusing to listen to a word you say, remind them of poor Jonah, and tell them they'd better watch out for those whales.

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