It’s fairly loud at our house. We have three little munchkins that have voices that they like to use. Justin and I like to talk to them and each other. There’s a podcast playing a lot of time or someone’s beating on the piano while someone else squeaks on the harmonica. And occasionally, someone gets upset and yells.
Unfortunately, occasionally that someone is me.
Now I try to justify this by saying that I raised my voice so that they could hear me and that could be true. I have shouted across playgrounds, parking lots, and backyards to stop them from bashing a brother in the head with a stick or climbing to the top of playground equipment that is as tall as Mt. Kilimanjaro. But sometimes I shout because I’m angry. I shout because I think it will relieve my feelings.
It never does.
You would think I would learn this. That never works. But my sinful self always thinks I will be relieved when I yell and that it will fix things.
Yelling doesn’t fix things. Yelling doesn’t fix bad behavior. Yelling doesn’t fix hurt feelings. Yelling doesn’t fix the problem in a person’s heart. Yelling doesn’t draw another person closer to you.
Yelling almost always happens when a child is misbehaving. I don’t think I’ve ever yelled at anyone for clearing the table or bringing his brother a toy. Yelling happens over disobedience and one of the goals of correcting misbehavior is to bring the child closer to me. I don’t want to correct them and leaving standing over in the corner alone. I want to reach their hearts. I want them to know that I love them, that I am for them, and that I care too much to let them continue doing whatever the sin is.
Yelling doesn’t get any of that across. James 1:20 says, “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” When I yell at my kids all they learn is that mama is angry. They don’t learn that their behavior is wrong and doesn’t please God. I can’t get the result I desire from yelling.
I hear you out there: but Lisa, if I don’t yell how do they hear me? How do I stop yelling? This is the power of the quiet voice.
Talk quieter. I’m not going to promise you that if you start talking quietly that they will suddenly be interested in what you have to say and be quiet. I’m saying- go kneel in front of them and speak in a calm voice.
You can train yourself to get quieter when you want to get louder. It’s a trigger for yourself as well. Justin says he always gets worried when I talk in this super polite, smooth voice because I’m not a quiet person around people I’m comfortable with. He knows that I’m really upset about something and I’m trying to not explode. This is something I can practice with the kids too.
I haven’t really accomplished anything with correction if I make the kids mad at me for yelling at them. Who likes to be yelled at? Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” I want to turn away anger, mine and theirs, so that we can talk about what God says about the issue.
Proverbs is full of information on the power of the tongue. It’s a fabulous study to do one month. Read through Proverbs and mark everything that talks about the tongue. Study what it says; memorize the verses that stand out to you; pray for God’s grace to change your speech.
And each day we’ll keep plugging away at growing quieter when we want to grow louder.