If you were a parent in the late eighties or early nineties of middle school or high school-age teenagers, and or/ a teacher like me with children around that age (double whammy)… you might be cringing just hearing the word “WhatEVER!”
Definitely one of those words…you prayed would get buried in the aftermath of thrown-away slang jargon…when it was no longer “cool” to say it. Alas…it has outlasted several generations.
When young people said it…it was always with an “attitude” plus that most annoying of all gestures…a “rolling of the eyes” which took place simultaneously with the verbal comment…even with a shrug of the shoulders thrown in for good measure!
It was nothing less than a miracle to get through a middle-school day without a confrontation with either a student in your class or a student in the hallway cutting up or perhaps instigating the food fight in the cafeteria. The scenario always played out the same way.
“Bobby was that you throwing meatballs at Johnny?” Bobby, the eighth grade “bad boy” would look at me like...’Are you blind…of course I threw meatballs at Johnny.’
I would stand there feeling my blood pressure escalate to a place worthy of a stroke….count to 10…and then respond calmly…“I want you to pick up those meatballs off the floor and apologize to Johnny.”
Bobby…realizing he had an adoring table of followers and must save face…would remark back that he wouldn’t have to pick them up if Johnny had eaten them like he supposed too…and then, in dripping sarcasm, mumbled…“Jeez…I was just sharing with him.”
Poor Johnny looked like he wanted to sink through a hole in the floor under his table while everyone laughed and Bobby gulped down another big meatball for visual effect.
I told Bobby to pick up his tray because he was going to share lunch with our principal…(I’ll call him Mr. Smith.) It was then it happened…”W H A T E V E R!“..the rolling eyes…and the innocent shoulder shrug followed.
By now I was in one foul mood…once again…I was losing my precious 20 minutes of “freedom” to eat before all my afternoon classes (I was starving) all because of Mr. Bobby…”Whatever.”
By the time we reached the office…there were already two other misbehaving students having “lunch” with Mr. Smith…When he saw who I was bringing to him…he immediately choked on his own meatball. Not the notorious “Bad Bobby” of eighth grade legend! Sigh!
I calmly let Mr. Smith know…that Bobby had thrown meatballs at another boy and then was upset because he got in trouble when he was just “sharing” and he shouldn’t have to pick up the meatballs, in question, off the floor because Johnny should have eaten them after they pinged him on the head.”
Bobby, nonchalantly, sat down and high-fived the other two culprits…”Thank you Ms. Dingle...Principal Smith responded as I slowly turned to leave his office. It was then that I heard him hopefully asking… if any of the boys had an extra cup of ice cream on them by chance? All three students sullenly stared back at him. “Whatever“ sighed Mr. Smith sadly.
So yesterday when I read a devotional from Daily Splashes of Joy it caught me off-guard when the author was recalling a terrible low point in her life when she seriously considered ending it.
But some Presence stopped her before she did herself any harm…as she called out “Lord take this burden of estrangement I feel (from my son) so deeply… that I can’t fathom taking one more step forward without him in it. But yet I know I must try.”
“I’m tired of this elephant on my back…this rug in my throat…I’m giving him to you Lord. And if I never see him again, whatever Lord, whatever happens…I’ve had it…I’m surrendering him to YOU. God Please show my son my love for him.”
So until tomorrow….
“Whatever, Lord!” That is the prayer of total relinquishment in faith…trusting those you love the most to the God their Creator Who loves them unconditionally.!
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh