Monday, February 23, 2015


I overheard someone the other day say that they had given up complaining for Lent. My ears perked up because I thought that was an interesting idea that went beyond the usual sacrifice of chocolate or TV.  Was this something I might try? I generally consider myself a positive person looking on the bright side things, but upon closer examination, I'm wasn't sure that was true. In certain circumstances, I am very positive, but in others, I can join the rest of the crowd with their, "Isn't it awful," complaints.

But if I were going to try to go cold turkey on complaining, what would that entail? Trying to define complaining was harder than I thought it would be. I think we'd all agree a statement like, "Liver and onions for supper Again?" Or "The grocery store never opens up enough lanes when I need to check out," involve complaining. But what about, "I'm cold." Is it not complaining if you say, "I'm cold. Could you hand me my sweater?"

I think context and tone of voice have a lot to do with the intent of the comment. I think most of us would agree that anything said in a whiny voice (especially by our kids) is usually a complaint. However, is it a complaint if we state a problem and then follow that by a proposed positive action to fix the problem? (the cold, sweater example above.) And is it okay to complain if it is going to get a problem fixed?

Basically, after trying to think through the concept of complaining, I'm confused. So, here is what I plan to do. I've decided to try not to complain about something if I'm not ready to take action to fix it. This may mean being quiet and reading the checkout magazine headlines, instead of complaining about how slow the checker is. Or it may mean writing my congressman about what I would like to see happen instead of saying what a bunch of bozos are in congress. (But does it count if they really are? Said with an attempt of humor. Ha, Ha)

Wish me luck.