Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Inside Voice

I think of the number of times I have asked my children to use their inside voice. Time and time again they have proven to me that they either have no idea of what an inside voice actually is, or they will never be one possess such a treasure.  My inside voice ranks pretty high up there. Not only can my voice be extremely quite, (while reprimanding my children and instilling the fear of God) I have also mastered the art of lip sinking and whispering.  My husband is deaf in his left ear, so often when the kids and I are repeating ourselves, our voices tend to be elevated. I blame this modeled practice as the culprit for my children shouting whenever they get the chance.

I have now said bizarre things such as, "Only raise your voice if you are hurt or in danger. " Or, "That loud voice should be used only in your room."  Once again, I have made a grave mistake with both comments.  My children and I clearly have different definitions of "hurt or in danger".  Also, going into your room to yell at me or your sibling isn't exactly what I meant.

I have also discovered that some families, with just one small little one in tow can struggle with volume control just as much as a family with 5 kids.  It all has to do with the family dynamics.  There are also families filled with loud talkers. Where every last one of them talks louder than the next and obviously missed the day God was handing out the volume buttons. The mom, dad, and every single child can talk so loud it is deafening. I will go home, medicate, cover my eyes and retreat to dark room with strict instructions to not be disturbed after experiencing such a family.

One of things that I have also observed is that some younger siblings will talk much louder than their older siblings.  I often believe this is because they want to be heard. They believe what they have to say is important and don't feel that they will be heard unless they increase the volume of their voice.  But then again, there are those that always have to fight to be heard, and feel that yelling, as ineffective as it can be, will not only enable them to heard, but justify what they have to say.

And then there are the parents that do not possess an inside voice. The burdened, overworked mom who needs a break and feels outnumbered and at her wits end. She raises her voice more so out of frustration and also in hopes of her children will do what she has asked of them. (I am so very, very guilty of this.) Or the tired dad who works hard to support his family, comes home to emotional and tired hot mess children and desires to set some guidelines for behavior and discipline. Kids shut down when we as parents raise our voices.

Not once, do I see raising your voice to be heard as an effective means... of being heard!  Let's take a minute here and break it down.  Being heard is also about listening and extending the same courtesy to others.  To have a two way conversation, it involves controlling the volume of our voice, asking questions, listening to answers, replying to questions asked and providing additional information. But is also involves kindness and humility. It involves letting someone talk, and sometimes talk too much but still being kind. It sometimes involves listening to things you don't care much about and waiting your turn before changing the subject matter. But mostly, it requires not having to be right all the time and being okay with the idea that your voice doesn't always have to be heard. Just be good to each other.  Just love each other.

Above all else, please stop acting as if you are always inside of a helicopter surrounded by running chainsaws. #icanteven

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Brass Knuckles

         I love telling stories. I also love retelling stories that aren't mine. Stories that have been shared with me. Stories overhear...