May 17, 2011 // Posted by Brad Hoffmann //
We all whine from time to time, though it’s a trait not worth bragging about. After seminary in 1988, I went to a church to serve as youth and education. After serving a couple of years, I resigned for reasons of burnout. Oddly enough, I would go back to pastor that church seven years later, but that’s another story all together. Post resignation as the youth guy, we joined a church on the other side of town and volunteered where we could. I served on the finance committee, served as a deacon, and taught a young adult group. Jo worked with children’s choir and sang in the adult choir. One year, there was no one to teach a preschool class – the class for our first child. We were approached with the argument parents of children ought to step up to the plate and teach. My reply argument was my kid is in that class, someone else should step up to the plate and serve. If you’ve been around volunteering in church, you’ve heard those types of responses – and many others. There are typically two types of parents in the preschool ministry – those who serve and those who want to be serve. Ashamedly, I was the later for a (short) while.
During this external debate and inward conflict, I had lunch with my parents one day and started my whining during the meal. Why can’t they find someone to teach a preschool class? Just because we have a kid in that class, there’s an expectation that parents step up to the plate? Parents need a break, right? I already serve and give – someone else needs to do this job. I must have spent fifteen minutes griping and whining about my predicament. But, what happened the next few moments caught me completely off guard. Instead of agreeing with me, my parents had a very different perspective. They first shared how they had hoped I hadn’t acted this way with fellow church members. The next words of the lecture can only be summarized as, “Grow up!” That’s right, quit your whining and do something about it.
I learned a valuable lesson that day as a young husband, father, and volunteer. There are two kinds of people in the world – whiners and solvers. We’re either one or the other. We either whine our way through life or decide to solve the dilemmas of life. By the way, Jo and I taught the preschool class. Each week we worked with 8 to 10 children two of which wore capes when they arrived each week – it was an interesting year. I chose to be a solver and quit my whining.
Are you doing any whining these days? Maybe it’s time to grow up? It’s definitely time to be a solver!