A Sherwood Thang

No, the spelling of thang is not a typo, though I’ve been known to make a few such errors in my time.  The Sherwood thang in a euphemism for ‘flying off the handle,’ or demanding one’s own way.  I have first hand knowledge of the Sherwood thang.  As a grade schooler my nickname was ‘hay wire’ because I easily lost my temper.  As a result I was bullied and teased just for the show of it.  One day I  became so angry I left school and walked home only to have my mother immediately march me back to school.  Eventually, time and maturity regulated my outbursts to a socially acceptable minimum.

My nephew coined the term, a ‘Sherwood thang’.   It seems, while the Sherwoods were a lively and particularly pugilistic branch of our family were good law abiding citizens, hard working Americans, and pioneers who helped settle the far western lands of Pennsylvania following the Revolution.  A vital part of that ‘toughness’, included being a pugilistic people,’ quick to take offense–necessary perhaps on the American frontier.  Hence the coining of the term, a Sherwood thang.

Unfortunately the Sherwoods don’t have a monopoly on short fuses. Every family has someone, who at every Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving or other family celebration, exercises the Sherwood thang.  It may be over an imagined slight or an innocuous remark.  Whether it be uppon the choosing a restaurant at which to eat, what TV show to watch, or what table game to play, one person’s preferences will be met.  Out of tradition or out of good will, the rest of the clan will capitulate to avoid a distasteful confrontation.

Should this individual be challenged, he or she may pout, go into a snit, launch a tirade, or storm from the gathering.  The reasons can be complicated.  It could be due to a character flaw, the need to control formed in childhood and allowed to grow, the feeling of insecurity of being overlooked, or  the simple need to be in charge of the situation.  This person adds the preface dys to a dysfunctional family.  

For those of you who can honestly see yourself performing the Sherwood thang, the advice of Ephesians 4:31 and 32 NIV may speak to you. “Get rid of bitterness, rage , and anger…be kind and compassionate one to another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you.”  And for the receivers of the Sherwood thang, take the advice found in 1 Peter 4:8,11 NIV, “Above all, love each other deeply because love conquers a multitude of sins…if anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.”

During this holiday season it isn’t the prettily wrapped gifts under the boughs of my tree or the sparkling lights donning my doorway or the tantalizing aromas wafting from my kitchen.  All that really matters, the only thangs, Sherwood or otherwise, that will accompany me throughout eternity are God and family.  I will make a note to treasure everyone, even the odd balls and the tempestuous.   I will enjoy them.  I will take pleasure in their oddities and thank God for each and every one for the diverse gifts they bring to my table.





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