One of life’s embarrassing characters is the screamer, and screamers show up in various settings.Â Let’s say you are at an outdoor picnic and someone gets stung by a bee, and thus begins the screaming and flopping on the ground. No one really knows what to do even though everyone knows the unspoken cultural expectation to rally round and offer comfort and what not. But with the over-the-top screaming and shrieking, no one feels compelled to offer the comfort because what is actually needed is someone to tell the person to grow up and blow it out, it was only a bee sting after all.
On two-year-olds we all look at the parents and feel a mix of sympathy and criticism. No one likes to have their child flip out and melt down in public like that, so we feel sorry for the poor parents. At the same time, we wish the parents would step in and correct the child. It is not wrong to be hurt; but it is wrong to throw a complete fit about it. Learning good conduct, even in pain or fear, is a godly discipline.
When a teenage girl falls down and skins her knee in the volleyball game, we expect her to jump up and keep on playing. When she curls up in a ball and starts wailing, we feel ill at ease, wishing she would reel it in. Even if a bone is sticking out of her arm, there is a difference between legitimate cries of pain, and uncontrolled sobbing and yelling, cussing and kicking. You know what I mean. We delight to see courage and self-control because we admire it wherever we see it. But bad temper and cowardliness are always shameful,Â no matter what the age of the screamer.
Even grown women can over-react when they are hurt, crying and yelling, swearing and complaining, whimpering and fussing when they should be showing courage and strength, faith and self-control. Screamers never inspire us; they make us feel embarrassed, like we are seeing something that should be off stage.
In pain and in fear, we should continue to consider our duties as Christian women. What is your duty when you undergo medical testing or when you slip on the ice? If you stub your toe or fall down the steps, do you shriek and panic or do you gracefully blow it out and control yourself? Though we might correct a two-year-old (or wish someone would), it is not exactly socially acceptable to tell a grown woman to quit acting like a baby. We would be accused on lacking sympathy and tact. But most people who are out of ear shot will certainly raise their eyebrows and express their disgust at such displays.
Christian women need to keep their duties of glorifying God in mind when they are in pain. We all understand our duties if our child is starting to run out into the street: immediate courage, strength and decisiveness. But we may forget our duty to conduct ourselves in a ladylike and God-fearing manner when we are the one who is afraid or hurting like the dickens. But those women who do handle themselves gracefully during such times always command our respect and gain our admiration.