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Instead of Complaining…

How a family deals with complaints.

Instead of complaining

It’s hot and humid in the city this week. Hence we have inaugurated the Annual Attaway Ice Cube Argument, a multi-person accusation fest in which each person complains about unnamed others who neglect to refill the tray after getting ice for their water.

Maybe the temperature makes people forgetful. Or it could be that the humidity creates moisture in the brain that prevents my teens from remembering something so simple. Whatever the case, whenever there is a lack of ice there seem to be a lot of strong feelings and words around.

I am aware that the Israelites wandered 40 years in the desert without an ice chest. We don’t hear of cubes clinking in the chalice at the Last Supper, or of Jesus holding cool ice chips in His mouth at the crucifixion, either. Bible folks got along without cold drinks, air conditioning, popsicles or electric fans. This makes me suspect that the real issue at my house has less to do with ice cubes than with the knowledge that others are not being thoughtful.

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I’m not inclined to buy color-coded ice cube trays for each member of the family, nor to set up video monitoring to catch the inconsiderate culprit. The better strategy is to set a time limit on complaining that’s equal to the number of seconds it takes to refill the tray. From there, each of us can decide if we want to make the situation better or worse. Arguments don’t often stop because of complaints or blame. They get resolved when we take responsibility for doing our share–and notice when others do theirs. Let’s focus on what we want and build toward that.

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