The 19 year old boy man child just passed through, and as he did he apologised to me for being grumpy earlier. The “grump” was so minor I had to think to recall what it was. The reason for the apology is that he has regularly seen his mother and father do the same thing after being grumpy or otherwise less than loving.
This got me to thinking about grumpiness. Is it wrong to be grumpy? Is it wrong to be grumpy and not apologise? Is it wrong to be grumpy often and not do anything to change that? I think the clear answer to the last two is yes, while the first is less clear – bad moods and short tempers happen, what matters is how we deal with them, and that we work to do better.
I recall a time when we were going to be working very closely with a Christian couple for an extended period of time. She warned us that he could be grumpy at times, and that the best thing to do when that happened was to ignore him. While I appropriated her warning and advice, I wondered after the fact if someone should have held him responsible for his behaviour. I also saw that he was well able to avoid being grumpy in public, saving his grump for times when only his bride and close friends were around. In other words, the folks who should have gotten his best were getting something far less. Of course this is human nature – we don’t risk being negative around those who might pull back from us, while we feel free to be rude and ugly to those we think will put up with it.
If any of this has rung true with you, consider yourself held accountable.