“Do all things without murmurings and disputings” (Philippians 2:14).

Children grumble. So did the Israelites.

Children (and parents) who grumble are grumbling against the Lord.

Sometimes, like the Israelites as they faced the Red Sea with the Egyptians at their backs, our children grumble because they are afraid. We can challenge them with our questions and instruction:

“What are you afraid of?”

“Is God strong enough to take care of that?”

“What has God done for you in the past?”

“Let’s pray and ask God to help us trust Him.”

Sometimes they grumble because they’re impatient, like the Israelites who weren’t getting water fast enough to relieve their thirst.

“What do you need that God is not able to provide for you?”

“Does God love you? Will He take care of you?”

“Do we love you? Will we help take care of you? Did we take care of you yesterday and the day before that?”

“Does God want you to learn to wait?”

“Can you ‘close your lips’ and wait quietly while we get what you need?”

“Let’s pray for God to help you be patient.”

Sometimes our children grumble because they just don’t like what we have given them. Like the Israelites who were tired of manna, our children often ungratefully complain about the food put before them, or which park we took them to, or which story we are reading to them. They want something else instead of what they have been given.

“Who has given this to you?”

“Are you being thankful if you complain?”

“Are you going to be thankful for this, or would you rather not have anything?”

“Can you say thank you?”

“Let’s stop and thank God for this, too.”

Sometimes they grumble because they don’t trust God to lead through us, like the Israelites when they stood at the threshold of the Promised Land and panicked at the report of those who had returned from spying out the land. They were ready to choose new leaders and go back to Egypt!

“Who made us your daddy and mommy?”

“Who is in charge of us?

“Who are we supposed to obey?”

“Who are you supposed to obey?”

“What do Daddy and Mommy have to do if you choose not to obey us?”

“Let’s pray that Daddy and Mommy will obey God, and that you will obey us.”

When our children grumble, they are really grumbling against God. Moses recognized this when the Israelites continually complained to him. We must remember the same thing when our children grumble and complain.

“…The Lord hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the Lord” (Exodus 16:8). They are not really grumbling against us, but they are grumbling against the God who made them and takes care of them. Our job is to help them be thankful.


(Photo from Shutterstock)

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