My wife, Debbie, is heavily involved in customer service where she works. Because of that, words and attitudes are very important to her. If you want to see Debbie really spin, ask her to explain something to you – since she truly values people, she will take the time and energy to assist you. Then, when you sense she is finished, roll your eyes and say, “Whatever.” Yup, that’ll do it.
My parents are members of “The Greatest Generation.” My father experienced the Great Depression and served during World War II. I was raised in a culture and a home that emphasized commitment to God, country and family.
The social and religious atmosphere seems different today. I hear less and less, “That’s right, let’s fix it,” and more and more, “Whatever.”
Sometimes the word whatever is said intentionally and out loud.
- There is nothing quite like conducting a pastoral counseling session with a teenager drug into my office by his mother; the young person sits cross-armed while I attempt to share from the Bible and life experience some truths that will assist them in daily life – at which point he or she stares at me and says with disdain, “Whatever.” (I know you can envision this in your mind, especially you parents)
- “Honey, it’s Wednesday. Would you please take out the trash?” “Sure, whatever”
- “You spent how much at Ann Taylor Loft?” “Whatever, get over it.”
- “Don’t you think it would be a good idea to go to church Sunday instead of the beach again?” “Fine, whatever.”
An equal amount of time the word is not actually spoken but merely thought and acted upon.
- “You work so much. Sometimes I get lonely and wish we could spend more time together.” Response: a nod of the head, as if agreeing – while all the time thinking “whatever” as you head back to work for a little longer that evening.
- “Folks, we had 161 people at the 9:00am worship service and 475 at the 10:45am service. There was no room at the second service for visitors. We really need some of you to commit to coming to the 9:00am service so we can free up space at 10:45am.” Response: you walk out the door at noon thinking “whatever” – you had a spot and figure the visitors can come to the early service if they want a chair.
So, we are sitting at Staff Meeting yesterday and Pastor Dale is going on and on about how important this next sermon series is and is sharing the scripture verses he is going to use. Then he looked at me and said, “Pastor Jim, is that enough for tomorrow’s church email?”
I nodded, as if agreeing, and walked out thinking “whatever, Dale.”