Tommy, Jonah and the Left Way

Has Tommy been learning about opposites at day care?

Tommy develops a bad habit–calling people “stupid.” With time and consistency, Lisa breaks him of the habit. Tommy learns that he must never say “stupid.”

Then I bring over some beautiful Bible story books, big books with bright pictures, and read him the account of Jonah.

It’s a gripping tale–Jonah refuses to go to Ninevah to warn the people of God’s judgment. He runs away from God, boards a ship, and is cast into the sea by the frightened sailors during a storm.  Swallowed by a great fish, Jonah is released outside the city of Ninevah three days later, ready to do God’s will.

The illustrations are gripping, too. We see the frightened people of Ninevah hearken to the Prophet’s message. They choose to change their ways and the city is spared.

But what’s this? When Jonah repents of his disobedience, he says “I was stupid.”

What to do? I like the wording of the story, and I’ve been pointing out the words as I read it to Tommy. Here’s an idea: “We can’t call people ‘stupid,’ I say, “but this is okay because it’s in a Bible story.”

Tommy concurs. “We can say it the right way,” he says, “not the left way!”


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