Ask parents what bothers them the most about their children’s behavior and “whining and complaining” probably make the top five list of almost everyone. What if you could do something fun that might just help them better understand why complaining is something they need to erase from their lives?
This one takes a little effort, but it’s more fun and thereby possibly more effective than your daily lectures on the topic. You will need to get some tonic water, some quail (your butcher can special order it they don’t normally carry it) and make a batch of “manna” cookies (you can find a recipe here). Then grab your kids and a Bible.
Tell your kids they are going to have an experience very similar to one the Israelites had in the wilderness. Take your kids outside and go on a really long walk. (This works best on a warm day.) Have the tonic water and some cups in a tote bag. When your kids complain about being thirsty, give them a drink of the tonic water. (It’s bitter, but won’t hurt them.)
When you arrive home, serve them manna cookies. Ask them what it would be like if that were the only food you served them at every meal for the rest of their years at home – no restaurant meals, no school lunches – just manna every meal. (Note: No one knows for sure exactly what manna tastes like. This recipe is based on the few clues we can find in the Bible.)
Pull out your Bible and tell them the story from Numbers 10 and 11. When you reach the part about quail, let your kids taste some of the quail meat you cooked.
As they are eating have them discuss how they felt on your little “journey”. What are some reasons all of the complaining made God and even the leaders so upset and angry? Remind them God had just delivered the people from horrible slavery. Discuss what the people should have been grateful for instead of complaining. Ask your kids how all of the complaining might have affected Moses and Aaron and their leadership. What about Joshua, who was in training to become the next leader? What about the people themselves?
Ask them what things they complain and whine about a lot. What should they be grateful for instead? How does their whining and complaining have a negative effect on others? Challenge them to think of ways to remind themselves to be more aware of their complaining and make an effort to stop. (You might even want to have a family challenge to encourage everyone to break bad habits!)