National Grouch Day | JOY for Today

When I'm a grouch, I long to find JOY again. I don't like the way I'm acting, feeling, or what I am saying to others. To find JOY faster, I need to remember the ultimate target of my complaints and take my problems to Jesus.

A bulldog pouts against a wall. Text overlay quotes Exodus 16:8
National Grouch Day | October 15th Annually

JOY for Today Offerings:


Did You Know:

  1. Oscar the Grouch was originally orange First appearing on Sesame Street in 1969, he became green after vacationing in Swamp Mushy Muddy. (National Days Today, Britannica & Gen-xtraa) 
  2. The Black Rain Frog is commonly considered grouchy? A downward facing mouth on this South African frog's face offers us the perma-frown perception. Moreover, instead of hopping away, these frogs expertly dig themselves into a hole and then inflate up to seven times their normal size to prevent others entry. (National Days Today, Fact Animal)
  3. Sometimes complaining is good for you? While it is best to adopt an overall positive mindset, keeping all your complaints to yourself can cause them to pressurize and make you explode. But, when you share your frustrations with the right people you might find validation for your feelings, a workable solution, a different perspective, motivation to make a change, or willing hands to help lessen your load. (Very Well Mind & The Atlantic)
  4. Older people tend to be happier, not grouchier? Despite the movie reinforced stereotypes, in general, the older you are the happier you become. The turning point from happiness to grumpiness happens at about 70. (AARP, NPR, Live Science)
  5. Most of our favorite grouchy personalities are male? Dr. Gregory House, Red Forman, Oscar, Al Bundy, and Squidward take the top five ranked positions. The first female, Sophia Petrillo, appears at position eight. In actuality, though, it is disputed which gender possesses an overall grouchier disposition. (Ranker, Huffpost, Starts at 60, How Stuff Works)

We'd Love to Know:   

Which grouchy fact will be the first you share?

Wolfe Stew Connects

It's odd, right, that I'm somehow delighted to write a post on being a grouch. Within my closet exists a grouch shirt, a grumpy jacket, and, at one point, a misunderstood sleepshirt - all gifts from family. I suppose if you want to understand what people truly think of you, just look at the gifts they give. And perhaps it is true. My favorite character type is the grumpy, misunderstood, often avoided, difficult-to-love ones. Although, I prefer to think it is because I long to help them find JOY instead of because I identify with them.

But the truth is, I do identify with them. I'm a grouch more often than I care to be. In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if in preparation for writing a blog post, God helps me experience what I'll be writing about. When I wrote my hope post, I went through a bout of hopelessness. When I wrote my peace post, I had a falling out with friends. Now, I'm writing a grouch post and became Oscar - repelling and grotesque - but without the trash can, thankfully.

I hate being a grouch. Like hopelessness, my emotions take over and as if in an out-of-body experience, I am saying, doing, and believing things that I don't want to be saying, doing, or believing. And the worst part is, it's my loved ones that get the brunt of it. Maybe that's why they gift me with grouch-themed paraphernalia, because they are letting me know they've seen me at my worst and still love me. It's their token of acceptance.

It is ironic, then, that I write a blog on JOY, isn't it? Because obviously I don't have JOY completely figured out, do I? But I do know how much I need it. I know I would rather live my life from a place of JOY than from the muck of grouchiness. I do not write because I am an authority on JOY. No, I write because I need to be reminded how to find it.

But how do you find JOY in the middle of your grouchiness? For each episode, it will be something different. Each person will require a different antidote. But for me, this time, it was a realization that I was being completely self-centered and prideful. I pulled myself out of the dump by remembering that my only job, the only meaningful expectation of me, is to love Jesus and to love Him well. I must throw all of who I am into loving Him first, and everything else will follow.

In response:

  1. Think about the last time you were grouchy. What helped? Create a list of three tools to use the next time grouch mode takes over and commit to using them.
  2. Consider joining us in our Proverbs 31 study. Last week, we wrapped ourselves in Christ's strength to prepare for the evil of the day. Next week, we are digging deep into Proverbs 31:25 to explore topics such as honor, laughter, and the future. Both sound like worthy grouch antidote candidates to me.

Bible Verses and Quotes 

Bible Verses 

  • "Do everything without complaining and arguing." Philippians 2:14 NLT
  • "Be hospitable to one another without complaint." I Peter 4:9 NASB
  • "A constant dripping on a rainy day and a cranky woman are much alike!" Proverbs 27:15 TLB
  • "...Your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord." Exodus 16:8 KJV
  • "Yeah, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD. Therefore he lifted up his hand against them to overthrow them in the wilderness." Psalm 106:25 KJV


  • "Bad temper is its own scourge. Few things are more bitter than to feel bitter. A man's venom poisons himself more than his victim." - Charles Buxton
  • "Never do anything when you are in a temper, for you will do everything wrong." - Baltasar Gracian
  • "You use and lose a lot of energy being grumpy." - Ted Danson
  • "If chocolate were a mandatory part of breakfast, people wouldn't be so grouchy in the morning." - Joanne Fluke
  • "The best remedy for a short temper is a long walk." - Joseph Joubert

We'd Love to Know:

Which verse or quote most resonates with you?

Activity Suggestions

Preschool to First Grade

  • Share descriptions of what a good day looks like, sounds like, and feels like. 
    • How do other people treat you? How do you treat others?
    • What is the weather like?
    • Where are you? 
    • What are you doing?
  • Listen to Oscar sing "I'm Sad Because I'm Happy" with this YouTube video
  • Talk about how their good days and Oscar's good days are the same and how they are different. "Would Oscar be happy on your good day? Would you be happy with his good day?"
  • Conclusion: What makes you happy may not make your friend happy, and that's okay.
  • Draw a picture with one part from your good day and one part from Oscar's good day. 
  • Label it with two emojis that communicate how that day would make you feel. (Happy, sad, mad, etc.)
Second and Third Grade
  • Read The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
  • Give them time to think and journal or partner share about a time they felt grouchy. 
    • What happened when they were grouchy?
    • Why were they grouchy?
    • How did other people treat them when they were grouchy? How did they treat others?
    • What helped them get over being grouchy?
  • Make this Oscar craft from DLTK or this Ladybug craft from Buggy and Buddy.
  • Complete the sentence "I am grouchy when..." on Oscar's trashcan or under the ladybug's wings.
  • Make hearts to add to the trash can or the ladybug's wings to remind learners that when someone is grouchy, we can help by covering them with love.

Fourth and Fifth Grade

Challenge your "Stinkin' Thinkin'" with this "Hey, Smell This!" exercise from I Don't Stink. The exercise is a personal activity, but you can modify it for the classroom. The main objective is to help participants realize that what you focus on swells. So, the more positive thoughts you have, the more positive things you'll notice. Which, from a Biblical standpoint, pairs well with Philippians 4:6-8.
  • Prepare a bulletin board: 
    • Title it "We Smell Good", or "Choosing Sweetness" 
    • Underneath, display three large hearts labeled: SWEET-SMELLING Thoughts, What Was Attracted, and SWEET Emotions.
  • Introduction: Each learner writes, draws, or pastes on small cut-out hearts:
    • 2 achieved goals they believe would make their life better
    • 1 emotion they would like to experience each day.
  • For the next week: 
    • Daily distribute notecards to every classroom member - learners and leaders.
    • Carry the notecards with you everywhere.
    • Whenever a SWEET-SMELLING thought occurs, tally it on the card. 
    • At the end of each day, tally up how many sweet-smelling thoughts the entire class had and record it on the appropriate heart labeled with the date. (*The original activity suggests spraying a sweet-smelling fragrance during this reflection period. But, as opinions vary, consider inviting learners to imagine favorite sweet scents, vary the scent used daily, or pass around sweet-smelling objects that they can choose to smell or not.)
    • If any classroom member received any of the things they desired, invite them to share how it happened. Then, have them draw a line from the "What Was Attracted" heart to the cut-out heart that represents their desired goal on the bulletin board.
    • If any classroom member experienced their desired sweet emotion, invite them to share how it happened. Then, draw (or trace if a line is already drawn) a line from the "SWEET Emotions" heart to the cut-out heart that expresses that emotion.
  • At week's end:
    • Make a sweet-smelling trends graph and discuss data patterns. When did the most or fewest sweet-smelling thoughts happen? What happened on that day that might have influenced the number of sweet-smelling thoughts?
    • Discuss what surprised you about this activity and what benefit would come from completing it independently.
    • Notice the cut-out hearts that are not connected. Discuss reasons why they are not and suggest ways these desired goals or emotions might result in the future.
An alternative activity, "Take Out Your Stinkin' Trash" invites classmates to tally the negative thoughts they have daily. At the end of the day, they tear up their sheet into exactly that many pieces and add it to water then freeze it. Thaw the container each morning to prepare to add more pieces at days end. At the end of the week, learners throw out their now truly stinkin' trash.

Sixth and Up

Create positivity ambassadors by training learners to combat negative thoughts with positive affirmations (list from 7 Mindsets). Display your favorite three to five affirmations as a class, make personal affirmation journals or posters featuring individual favorites of three to five, and model using the affirmations when negative thinking emerges. Encourage students to remind you to use them also. Our five favorite affirmations:
  • "I matter, and what I have to offer this world also matters."
  • "I learn from my challenges and always find ways to overcome them."
  • "I fill my day with hope and face it with joy."
  • "I am who I want to be starting right now."
  • "I see the beauty in others."

Discuss "Would You Rather..." Questions

  • Be grouchy or sad?
  • Be left alone when you're grouchy or have people try to make you feel better?
  • Play a role as Oscar or Eeyore?
If you would like three "Would You Rather...?" questions for every October day, download this Wolfe Stew PowerPoint or get it (for free!) at our TPT store.

Take on the Family Challenge

Make a list of what each family member needs when he or she is grouchy. Then, commit to abiding by it. Ask others to respect your needs when you are grouchy.

We'd Love to Know:

What helps you overcome your grouchiness?

We’re excited to share one more day with you and wish you JOY for Today and HOPE for Tomorrow. 

Your Partners in JOY Finding,
Red stew bowl with steam rising from top. Wolfe Stew crawled on front.

Sample these related posts:

Find even more JOY for Today in our monthly calendars, holiday, and seasonal posts.


Popular posts from this blog

World Turtle Day | JOY for Today

Proverbs 31: Week 14 | The Wolfe Notes

October 2023 | Calendars