I’ve tied whining to this orange rhino idea.
My first reason is a self-centered one: Whining drives me crazy. It is one of my triggers, in fact. And if I’m going to work on my temper-losing, and controlling the volume of my voice, then surely the children can work on controlling the pitch of theirs.
The more I think about this, the more it makes sense.
Why do I yell?
(Obviously there are good reasons to yell. When the kids are in danger or they just cannot hear you because they are all taking at once. This is practical yelling, and I will do this to my dying day without apology.)
I yell (the bad kind of yelling) because my patience is gone, because whatever I am doing is just not working. I yell to MAKE STUFF HAPPEN. I yell to control or to punish.
And why do they whine?
They whine for the very same reasons.
Whining makes stuff happen. Whining controls people. Whining is an effective punishment.
Yelling and whining are often just different expressions of the same desire to have it my way.
So, the orange rhinos that decorate our house carry both yelling and whining on their strong backs. I figure they can handle both of these things if they can handle all those birds.
This is really nothing new.
Love God, and love your neighbor- this is what we are “working on” in a sense. But, hanging this idea to the “orange rhino” helps us keep it in the front of our minds all day long.
We remember our goals, we remember the silly alternatives, and we remember to pray for help.
When we are beginning to slip, we say “orange rhino” and we remember.
God help us love more, and yell less.
(and whine less, too.)