People are More Important Than Things: A Tantrum Lesson

A while back son #1, Kavin, entertained a grand mal tantrum when I told him he could not have a balloon.  Crying, screaming, kicking, begging, accusing words, hitting… this display of disapproval included it all, and then some.  We stood in the middle of a birthday party for our 3-year-old neighbor with full repertoire of emotion.  Although I was mortified inside,  I smiled, informed Kavin we were going home when the party just started, and then said goodbye to our host and exited the room.  Man, wish I caught that on tape.  Would love to replay that dramatic scene for him someday.

Through the next hour of parenting, hubby and I hunkered down together. We prayed and tried to discern what was really going on in Kavin’s heart and thought this:  Kavin is more concerned with things and not people.  Because of his “things” obsession, he disrespected me in such disregard and selfishness.  I was shocked, I still am, to be honest.  He never was so brutal in his verbal and physical attacks towards me.  My heart hurt.  What happened to my son?  THINGS happened to him.

So, some will call me a crazy mama or we are being “too hard,” but we had a sit down with him and explained the “people are more important than things” week ahead of him… no toys… no toys, you read that right, BUT… time with mama doing things for others because people are more important than things.  Helping mama with a happy heart to show mama that she is more important than things.  Two days into this experiment, I was exhausted from engaging him all day long, but he thrived.

At the end of a long parenting day that week, I slipped into my seminary class and Dr. Yarbrough, the professor, took us on a descriptive journey through the book of Jonah.

This is where my blog post get’s juicy… Towards the end of the class we arrive to Jonah Chapter 4.  Jonah, the messenger of God, sits under a tree the Lord grew right then and there, as he waits and watches to see if God will smite the city of Nineveh with judgement. The prophet just traveled through the city to warn them of God’s impending judgement and they confessed and repented.  This peeved Jonah because he hated the Ninevites.  So, Jonah is sitting up on the hill, under the tree God provided waiting, and waiting, and waiting…  and hoping judgement ensued.  What is God going to do?  (drum roll…) Will the Holy God destroy this city or will he spare them?

The tree withers and Jonah starts complaining to the Lord about the tree.  The Lord basically says, “You show deep concern about your shelter (plant) and your comfort, but Nineveh is full of people and animals.”

But here is the kicker… the professor then said, “Jonah was more concerned with things than people.”

Um… God?  Is that You speaking?  The same message we taught Kavin that week the professor highlighted as one of the main points in the message.

And… it is a message for us all.  Do we value things or our pocketbook more than people?

I hope we don’t have to get our toys taken away or our trees to wither for us to realize real value.  Let us be more concerned with people than we are with things.  God cares about all people.  Do we?

* indicates required