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Thankful: The less time we have to complain

January 3, 2011

We are such a negative society.

I get beat up by people because I tend to spend too much time on the negative in this column.

I try not to do that.

I just try to tell the truth.

I have told Randy Sells, pastor at Colonial Baptist Church, that when I have an idea in my small brain for a column idea, more times than not the idea gets wrapped in a tidy bow either during his Sunday school lesson or his sermon.

It happened again Sunday.

A few months ago I was in a local sandwich shop waiting my turn and listened to a man say please and thank you and yes ma'am and no ma'am.

A lady in line told the man that he was probably the most polite person she had seen.

He thanked her and said, "If I don't do it, how can I expect my children to do it?"

So, what do our children learn from us?

"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." - 1 Timothy 4:12

Our kids learn from us - all the good and all the bad.

We don't spend enough time being thankful for what we have and what we are able to do.

We spend too much time complaining about what we don't have and what we can't do.

The more thankful we are, the less time we have to complain.

We are our worst enemies.

It's not Satan.

It's not our parents.

It's not our friends.

It's us.

Look in the mirror.

"Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 18:4

Parents complain about coaches.

Well, what's the alternative?

Kids complain about doing homework.

If you spent less time complaining about it, you would finish it sooner.

Parents complain about playing time instead of looking at their kid and simply say, "You should have spent more time getting better in the summer."

Kids would rather miss practice and be shocked when there are consequences for their actions.

Parents find reasons not to go to work.

Kids find reasons not to go to school.

We parents then wonder where our kids get that type of attitude.

My family and I will have been in the area for 10 years come March. I believe in that time I missed maybe two days of work and that includes probably more six-day work weeks than five-day work weeks.

I do not complain about that because I appreciate that God has put me in a position to write this column and for you to read it.

This is not always easy and it is not always fun.

But, there were no guarantees of that when I got back into this business.

My attitude toward my job determines my job.

I still do not understand employees of other establishments who have no problem complaining about the job and all it entails while we customers are within earshot.

Seriously, if you don't like your job - quit or get better at it.

It's that simple.

You don't like your playing time, do something about it.

Work harder.

Become a better teammate.

Be a good role model instead of a bad one.

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." - Philippians 4:11

We far too often do not have contentment, respect or are satisfied with what we do and what we are given.

We would rather spend more time putting "dis" in front of those words.

We have discontentment about what we do, disrespect the opportunities we are given and are dissatisfied with our lives.

We spend too much time waiting for God to fill us when he is standing there waiting and saying, "I can't because you are too full our yourself."

We would rather be Sonny Listen in 1964 than Cassius Clay.

We would rather sit on the stool at the end of the sixth round and quit, throw in the towel, than get our collective behinds back in the ring and fight for what we have been trained to do.

We would rather spit out the mouthpiece than spit in the bucket, put the mouthpiece back in and get back to business.

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." - Hebrews 13:5

We would rather set unrealistic New Year's goals and say rather loudly "I knew it wouldn't last long," than just go about life being the best we can be on a daily basis, helping as many people as we can along the way.

Can you imagine how much fun a teacher's life is today - kids coming back to school after a two-week break not wanting to do a thing?

It is our jobs as parents to help those teachers out because we know firsthand that our kids really do not want to step foot inside those schools today.

In the long run, we have no idea how to be humble or find contentment.

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out." - 1 Timothy 6:6-7

It is also rather obvious we don't spend enough time correcting our youth.

I watched about a 12-year-old boy walk into an establishment in front of his two younger sisters, grandmother and mother and not hold the door open for them. He just walked in first (rude) and did not want to be bothered by holding the door (really rude) and he wasn't admonished right then and there.

"Excuse me, ma'am, but can I please have a word with your son?"

Kids spend too much time whining about the lack of playing time instead of giving every ounce of energy they have during the time they are in the contest.

If that would happen in a game and, most important, in a practice, your playing time would increase.

"He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls." - Proverbs 25:28

Ohio State's best player, Jared Sullinger, was benched by his father, Satch, at Columbus Northland, as the team (21-0) was prepping for a district semifinal game with Westerville South.

The younger Sullinger was not doing his schoolwork.

So, he watched his team go through a 67-59 loss.

"We never get bigger than the game itself," said Satch. "The game was here before we were born and it'll still be here after we're all dead and gone.

"I told my three sons, and I tell all my players, 'You play the game the way you live your life.' If you don't give this game the total respect it deserves, it's going to frustrate you.

"You dedicate yourself, then when you accomplish something the rewards will come."

"What's more important: the program or the individual? If an individual thinks he's more important, then we probably aren't going to win with that person anyway."

Sullinger earned his fourth-consecutive Big Ten Freshman of the Week award after averaging a double-double with 12.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in wins against UNC-Asheville and Oakland last week. The 6-foot-9 center currently leads Ohio State with 17.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.

"I messed up with grades and we lost that (district) game," Jared said. "That's the most pressure I've ever had on me.

"It was for my own good. Him doing that, it opened my eyes and gave me a big ol' slice of humble pie."

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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