Middle School

Don’t Be A Whiner

Lesson 4 

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Fall 2019

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By: Kelsey Grulke 

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September 22, 2019

Lesson Focus:

Don’t complain.

Bible Basis:

Exodus 17:1-6

Materials Needed:

Step 1:

  • Prepared game cards using index cards or scraps of paper (see instructions below)

Summary & Links:

Students will roleplay over-the-top whining and watch a video about a non-complainer as they begin to think about their own complaining habits.

Memory Verse:

Do everything without grumbling or arguing.
—Philippians 2:14

Step 1:

Students will roleplay over-the-top whining and watch a video about a non-complainer as they begin to think about their own complaining habits.

Materials Needed:

  • Prepared game cards using index cards or scraps of paper (see instructions below)

Before class, prepare game cards by writing one of the following whine-worthy problems on each index card or scrap of paper. Depending on how many students you have, add additional scenarios or make duplicate cards and have two or more students show their best, whiny response at the same time to the card they received.

  1. Your mom makes your least favorite meal.
  2. Your sister’s taking forever in the bathroom.
  3. Your teacher promised to bring donuts for the class and forgot.
  4. Your coach promised to let you start the next game and went back on it.
  5. Your dad made you late for school.
  6. The movie you wanted to see is sold out.
  7. Your friend didn’t invite you to their birthday party.
  8. Your gaming system broke.
  9. You got in trouble for something your brother did.

Greet your students as they enter. Ask them to share something that has annoyed them in the past week.

It’s amazing how easy it is to start talking about things that annoy us. The truth is, life is full of situations—big and small—that are not our “ideal.” We’re going to play a game. Give your BEST over-the-top, dramatic whine to the situation you receive.  Hand out cards and play a round of the game by calling out the letter of a scenario and having the student give their best whine. Make sure that they know to give enough information in their whiny response so that the other students know what they are whining about. If you’ve created duplicate cards due to class size, ask for everybody with an “A” card to step forward to give their best whiny response to the scenario on their cards, etc. 

  • Why do you think complaining about things comes so naturally to us? (Answers will vary and could include: There are just a lot of things that can go wrong, we all need to vent, it’s easier to complain than actually try to solve a problem, etc.)
  • What kind of response does complaining normally get? (Nothing changes, you just annoy the person you’re whining about or to, etc.)

We’re not the only ones who can fall into a bad habit of complaining. Today we’ll look at what happened once the Israelites left slavery in Egypt and started experiencing freedom. It wasn’t as easy as they’d hoped! They whined about food and water and even wanted to go back to slavery in Egypt. Let’s see what we can learn from them, from their leader Moses, and from the response of our perfect and loving God.

Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?

You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.

Step 4:

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access
  • Whiteboard and marker
  • Index cards
  • Pens/pencils

The thing about the Israelites’ complaining is that they were complaining about a legitimate problem. They NEEDED water to live. It’s not like they were asking for limos to drive them to the promised land.

  • So, what was the problem with the Israelites’ complaining? (They only complained about the problem, they didn’t turn to God. They didn’t look for the solution.)

Let’s watch a video of a football player who, like the Israelites, had a very real problem. This guy, however, didn’t turn to complaining about his situation.

Share this video with your students [2:51]:
Local kid uplifting others through his darkest times

  • At his lowest point after his stroke, what kind of negative thing do you think Tyriek could have been feeling? (Answers might include: Devastation at the loss of his football career, depressed at how much his life had changed, weak, worthless, sad, etc.)
  • Tyriek obviously made the decision not to dwell on the negative, but what could some of his complaints have been? (Answers will vary but might include: I can’t do anything I like to anymore. How am I going to afford college without my football scholarship? Why would God allow something like this to happen to me? Etc.)
  • What did Tyriek decide to do instead of complaining? (Some possible responses: He decided to make the best of his situation. He decided to help others look for signs of a stroke. He decided to work his hardest at rehab.)

Tyriek and the Israelites both had legitimate problems that needed to be solved. The Israelites chose to complain. Moses and Tyriek looked for a solution. God doesn’t expect us to ignore the problems in our lives. God expects us to turn to Him and to do our part in solving the problem. Moses’ example teaches us to pray and then act according to God’s will. Let’s practice solving a problem like Moses did.

Hand out index cards and pens/pencils to your students. Write the following steps to problem solving on the board and ask your class to copy them as you write:

Anti-Whine Strategy

  • Pray about the problem.
  • Listen for God’s response.
  • Receive God’s provision.
  • Rejoice in what God has done/is doing.
  • Encourage others in similar situations.

Invite your class to commit to turning away from complaining when a problem comes up and instead turn to God for guidance on how to react. Have them turn their index card over and write a problem they are facing in their lives right now. Encourage them to spend this week following the Anti-Whine Strategy they copied down on the opposite side of their index card.

End in prayer, asking God to help all of you notice times when you slip into complaining. Ask God to help you turn to Him first when a problem arises. Ask God to help you discern how He’s calling you to receive His answer and participate in His solution.

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