Claudia Chaudhary is the two-year old daughter of a White House correspondent. She was recently at a dinner at the White House with her Mom when, having behaved for as long as she could, Claudia hit her limit. Wearing a pink plaid dress, looking as cute as could be, Claudia flopped on the ground and threw an epic tantrum. Her Mom, the press, the President, and the First Lady smiled and collectively said, “been there.”
After all, what other age has the name “terrible” attached to it other than the “terrible-twos?” The Mayo Clinic defines the “terrible twos” as: “a normal stage in a toddler’s development characterized by mood changes, temper tantrums and use of the word ’no.’” Yep…sounds about right.
But if there is one-thing parents have learned is this – DON’T GIVE IN! If you do, the child learns that the tantrum is a great way to get what they want. And that can be a disaster. Have you ever seen an adult who never finished that “normal stage” of development?
In 1 Kings 21, we see the danger of an adult tantrum. King Ahab wanted a field owned by Naboth. He tried to buy it, but Naboth wouldn’t sell. So Ahab went home and pitched a fit. He was “sullen and vexed” and he “lay down on his bed and turned away his face and ate no food.”
The result? Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, had Naboth betrayed and killed so Ahab could get his way. Ahab was to blame for his immaturity, but the worst thing happened to him that can happen to a tantrum thrower…someone gave in!
It is really embarrassing when adults throw tantrums. But it is even worse when someone rewards them to pacify the rant. We don’t always get our way!
Unfortunately, many of us learn a different lesson: “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Ever see someone yelling at a waiter for faster service? Ever see someone yell at a teacher for appropriately disciplining a student? Ever see someone yell at a referee during a kids’ soccer game? Ever see a serial horn honker?
I suppose we all have a bit of terrible-twos in us. But don’t give in to your inner two-year old any more than you would a screaming toddler. The results might be worse than you think. Rather, have the mind of Christ and “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.”