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Welcome back guys!! I’m so excited about this week’s post. So remember when I told you this year my focus was going to be on gratitude? And then remember how I started doing that whole thing with the gratitude jar? Well now, it’s a whole new quarter, and I just finished reading a book. An amazing book called The Grumble Free Year.
I chose this book at the beginning of the year because grumbling seems to be the opposite of gratitude. Ok, not the complete opposite, but it’s somewhere in the near vicinity. What I didn’t realize at the time was, how relevant this book was going to be to the year 2020. Right now there are plenty of things that we could be grumbling about. And on the flip side, there are plenty of things that we can be thankful for.
Here’s a quick summary of the book. A mom gets tired of all of the grumbles. She has 10 kids total, and 8 of them are still living at home. Imagine the grumbles you hear in your house….and now increase that amount exponentially. Yeah, she got tired. So she decided that she was going to challenge her family to have a grumble free year. Everyone wasn’t on board with this at first, but as the year progressed, they learned things about themselves that they never imagined.
I really enjoyed this book, I’d give it 4 stars. It really made me look at myself and ask some hard questions. Am I grumble free? Definitely not. Grumbling is a struggle of mine, and even though I’m usually just grumbling to myself, it still counts. I enjoyed the message, the mini lessons that I picked up along the way, and I enjoyed the style of writing. Overall, I’d definitely recommend it.
Ok, so now I want to get into some lessons that I learned from this book, and as always, no spoilers, I promise.
“…Maybe part of my grumbling came from my desire to feel powerful, while truly feeling powerless.” p.28
I didn’t really understand this at first. This was where I had my first ‘close the book’ moment. I had to think about all of my grumbles, and look into the root of them. While the majority of them didn’t fall into this category, some of them did.
It’s hard not to have control. It’s hard to feel powerless. Even in those situations where I know I am powerless, I still try to find at least something that will give me power. I remember having to give a speech right after my boss had mandated that we write the entire speech on notecards and hold them while we presented. I thought that was silly. So I said, sure, I’ll do what you say, but you can’t make me actually look at the notecards during my presentation.
This is a minor example, but taking a small stand is one way that I feel like I have a semblance of control even when I know it’s slipping through my hands. I get that now. But is complaining really the stand that I want to take?
“By grumbling, we showed our disapproval, but we also made it clear that we believed we had no ability to change things.” p.28
After I’d opened my book from the previous statement, this one sucker punched me again. And honestly, I resonated with it more.
Most times, I choose to complain as I wash the sink full of dirty dishes, instead of just asking for help. I usually only complain about traffic, when it’s about to make me late, when really, I could have just left earlier.
While there are some things we can’t control, there are others that we can. We can ask for help, be more prepared, and do a slew of other things that cause a change, and therefore eliminate the ‘need’ for grumbling.
“When I wrote books..I could see the results of my work…parenting didn’t bring as much quick success, and I couldn’t always see the rewards for my effort.” p.52
So this point isn’t necessarily about grumbling, but it’s still valid. At this point, she is getting worn out. She’s wondering why these goals she’s setting for herself, seem to be achievable in every other aspect of her life except for parenting.
She feels like she’s reaping the fruits of her labor in all of these other areas in life, even having successes. But in parenting she’s not always seeing those rewards, at least not immediately. Sound familiar?
It did to me. For me personally, it ties into the first point, I feel powerless. I wonder if I’m doing the right things, am I making a difference? Truthfully, I don’t know the answer to that. But based off of others who have come before me, I’ve got to believe that I am making a difference, and I’ll see the rewards and success, later on in life, as my child grows up.
But still, delayed rewards can be hard, and sometimes they can be the root of my grumbling.
“What could I do as a mom to encourage heart change rather than simply superficial change?” p.64
I don’t want to go too much in depth on this one because I plan to post on this very thought in the near future. When I do, I’ll link that here.
But I will leave you with this. Grumbling is a side effect. It’s like when you take a Motrin to ease your ear pain instead of going to the doctor to get antibiotics for the infection. We can just treat the symptoms, and that’ll pacify us for a while, but until we address the real problem, we won’t be fully healed.
Choosing not to grumble is a daily choice you have to make over and over again. It isn’t just a one time decision
Simply put, this isn’t a one and done thing. Every day we encounter situations that present us with a choice: should we grumble or show gratitude? Over and over again, you are going to have to choose to show gratitude.
I think over time, making that choice becomes easier. Maybe eventually, it will start to feel like habit, or second nature. That’s the benefit of making this choice over and over again, it’ll get easier, but it’s still a choice that has to be made.
Well that’s all for this time. I really hope you’ll read The Grumble Free Year. I’ve tried to summarize some of the lessons that I learned from it, but you might get something completely different out of the book. That’s the beauty about diversity, and lessons. Your background, experiences and issues will mean you’ll learn different lessons, even if we read the same book. I love that. So if you grab a copy of the book, tell me what you learn below. I’d love to hear from you!
Make life sweet and learn all you can.