A chronic complaining habit has been plaguing our house lately, so during yet another paroxysm of "the blues," I decided a little parable was in order on the way home from church.
"Anaya," I began, "have you ever heard the story of the woman whose house was too small?" As the story unfolded and the woman's complaints to her husband escalated, the boys stopped their backseat chatter.
"So the woman went to her pastor and told him about her problem. And do you know what the pastor told her?"
"He told her to bring the goat in the house for the week."
As the goat walked all over the woman's toes and interfered with her work all week, everyone in the back seat was quiet (oh miracle of miracles in itself!). Then when the woman returned to church a week later, she told the pastor what a terrible week it had been with the goat in the house. I asked, "And what do you think the pastor said?"
"To take the goat out?"
"Nope. The pastor said, 'Now bring the chickens in the house too!"
The kids giggled as the chickens spread feathers in the soup all week and pecked at the woman's hands as she chopped vegetables, while the goat stepped on her feet. "And when she went back to church the next week, she told the pastor what a terrible week it had been! And he said, 'How big is your bedroom?' And what do you think the pastor told her to do?"
Anaya was ready. "Bring in the cow!"
So another week passed rapidly in our story, with the cow lowing beside the bed all night, the chickens pecking all week and the goat eating out of the trash can.
At the end of the final week, of course, the pastor told the woman to take the animals back to the barnyard, and predictably, the woman was thrilled at the spaciousness of her house.
"Anaya," I queried, "did you learn anything from this story?"
"Well, Mommy..." she demurred, "I would rather just think about it and not say."
"No problem," I agreed. "Boys, did you learn anything?"
"I did!" Skyler blurted. "Don't tell the pastor anyfing!"