As we enjoyed lunch at one of the restaurants on the beach here in Quarteria, I noticed a little girl and her mother having an encounter. The little girl, about age 6 or 7, was wearing a helmet and had been riding a scooter. The mother had just taken the scooter and placed it in the back of a baby pray, and the little girl was not happy about it one bit. She started to jump and scream, and she refused to walk with her mother. So, the mother just started walking away without her. The child watched as the mother got further away, still stomping her feet, but when she realized that her mother was not coming back for her, she skedaddled along after her. Tantrum over!
I threw a tantrum on Friday morning. Believe me when I say that an adult having a tantrum is not a pretty sight to see. I had awaken with a determination to go home the next day, come hell or high water! I did not care about losing money or any other arguments for why we should stay, I wanted to go somewhere that had beds and sofas that do not contribute to pain. I know that it is just a difference in the firmness of beds from different cultures, because every bed here over the last two years coming to Portugal has left my back aching.
In the last couple of posts, I have discussed having pain, and the doctor here prescribed three very strong painkillers that have kept me somewhat pain-free but left me in a loopy state. It is hard to remain asleep all night (as anyone who sees that I posted a comment on their blog at 3:00AM can testify), so I wake up fidgety and out of sorts. The least little statement made I disagreed with and I forgot all about being slow to anger. I was fit to be tied!
The child today had nothing on me! I could have given her pointers in how to be thoroughly annoying and incomprehensible to the person you are trying to control. Tears and announcements of imminent departures were the order of the day. Poor Douglas, he just stood there, unable to deter my demands to leave immediately. I told him to find me a flight and get me home! Don’t even think of trying to get me to change my mind, because it ain’t happening!
In the middle of my continuous dialogue of “I’m going home,” he simply asked me if I wanted eggs for breakfast! That stopped me in my tracks, for Douglas makes some of the best scrambled eggs ever. I love it when he cooks eggs. I ceased all of the demanding and tears, and sat down and waited for the eggs to be cooked. Douglas had decided to move forward to the next part of the day, and when I saw that an argument was not forthcoming, I settled down. Tantrum over!
As we ate those wonderful eggs (he beats them with a bit of milk), he listened to my complaints, and we decided to go for a long walk to ease the pain in my back. He came up with two or three ways that I can rearrange the pillows on the bed and the sofa that might make me more comfortable for the next two weeks. We discussed how much extra money we had already spent, and we knew that we did not want to lose any more money. After the walk, we went to Faro, and it turned out to be one of our best days yet in our time here. I remembered why I love to travel and that there is a lot more to see in the two weeks we still have left.
I don’t usually throw tantrums, after all I am 66 years old! Needless to say, I have slowed up taking the medications, because they exert an undue negative effect on my behavior and outlook. Adults should not have tantrums because they tend to cause undue sadness and suffering for the other people in our lives, and that is never good to do. No wonder we are encouraged to be slow to anger, slow to speak, and quick to listen and forgive (James 1:19; Colossians 3:13).
I am reminded of the Apostle Peter, who in his fear and anxiety over seeing Jesus arrested went into a tantrum. In Mark 14:66-72, Peter denied that he knew Jesus. After he had said twice that he did not know Jesus, someone still insisted that he was a Galilean and was with Jesus.
Then, in verse 71 in the New Living Translation, he stated, “A curse on me if I am lying. I don’t know this man you’re talking about.” Of course, the rooster crowed the second time, and as Peter remembered that Jesus told him that he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed twice, he cried. In Luke 22:61, the author writes that Jesus turned and looked at Peter, and Peter started to cry. Tantrum over!
Tantrums are simply a way to get control over what appears to be an uncontrollable situation. Tantrums are mechanisms used to exert power in a way that benefits the one having the tantrum rather than the one who is controlling the situation, or as a means to get our message across that we are not happy. They are usually used by children to get their way.
I have seen them used effectively by children to get their own way, but, I have also witnessed adults ignoring a child, and the child, when they see that the game is up and that they are losing the battle or they are in danger of having their bottoms swatted, simply stop the theatrics. For me, it was an unusual moment, but it taught me to be thankful for a patient and loving husband who knows what it takes to distract me: scrambled eggs! Tantrum done and over!