Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Quiet is a Virtue

Laura exudes the quiet Here and Now. It comes through in each post that she writes, although she's pretty clever as well, proving that being quiet does not mean being boring. In this post she writes about making a commitment not to complain for 21 days. I was just thinking along these lines this weekend. I don't want to complain. I don't want to portray a sense of discontent or grouchiness, but actually what I've really become convicted about is yelling, which results in the same poor reflection of an inner attitude. I find myself yelling a lot, and not only does that affect my attitude, but the attitude of everyone in the house.

I have admitted before that I'm a naturally a loud person. So, it's easy for me to cross that line and slip into yelling. I yell because I'm lazy or tired or because I've already said something .

"Amanda! Come down here! I need you." I'm too lazy to go up to where she is so that I don't have to yell to get her attention.

"Kyle, put that down. Put it down! Put it down!" He is not a first-time obeyer, so I talk louder hoping that volume will make up for my lax disciplinary habits. Also, I don't want to go over and show him.

"Go get your pajamas on RIGHT NOW!!" I did not follow up with the first, second or third request, so now I'm really angry and I mean business!

I'm really making an effort. I'm thinking about what leads me into yelling, and trying to remedy those things. It all comes back to enforcing my requests. Expecting first time obedience. Being the strong link in the chain, not the weak link.

The vague They say that it takes 21 days to make something new a habit. I'm going to give it a go. I honestly don't hold out much hope that I will make a miraculous transformation, but I know that I've had enough of myself, and I also have heard my children picking up this habit (yelling in anger and frustration, but also just raising their voice to be heard).

It's hard being the Mom.


Lauren S. said...

Jennifer, I am so guilty of this as well! It almost seems humorous to think that saying it louder will coerce them into obedience, but I do it all the time! When I taught, I learned that children actually listen better and are more apt to obey when you speak softly. Unfortunately, I so often forget this! I am just not a soft and quiet person. I am going to work on this. Thanks for the challenge!

org junkie said...

Jennifer I can so relate to this and I appreciate your honesty so much. This is one habit I find so hard to create and I have no idea why. I loved your line "I've had enough of myself". I say that all the time! It is no wonder the kids stop listening since I stopped listening to MYSELF!!
Thanks for the encouragement this morning,


Beck said...

I found that post of hers really profoundly challenging, too.

Lori said...

Yikes - 21 days! But that is a great challenge coming also from somebody who complains ALL the time. I've had enough of myself too!

There is a local church here who did this also - I think they actually started it and I was also intrigued by it.

I may have to give it a try.

dad said...

Sorry. Your Mother and I were both loud. Our Mothers also yelled (I know you don't believe your Mammaw did, but I provoked her a lot.
Good luck on your quest to change,

Lori said...

Jennifer - me again!
I just saw on Oprah's website that they are talking about the church that started this in my city... it is being talked about today! Tune in if you can... if not, you can check it out on her website http://www2.oprah.com/index.jhtml

Mamacita Tina said...

Kids totally pick up on our bad habits. I yell way too much, and now I see my two year old doing it. I think I'm looking in a mirror when I hear him yelling at his toys, me, or his sister. This is not what I want for him, this is not what I want for myself. Yelling, a very bad habit I need to break. Good luck with your mission.

Andrea said...

Jennifer, this is a great challenge. I am pondering whether to do it or not--scared to fail, I guess.

My hesitation is that is this challenge just "words". Because even though I may not say these complaints, I am thinking them in my heart and mind. So--where does that leave me? :)

And I know. I sympathize. It's hard being Mom. :)

Bookfool said...

What a lovely post and a terrific idea. I think I'll try this, too, although I may not blog about it. Thanks for visiting my blog. May I add you to my links?

Chris said...

I have been thinking alot lately about my tone and words because the days and years just seem to be rolling by and before I know it they will be out of our home and in their own. I pray often for the Lord's help in this area.

Thanks for sharing it reminds me of the "skunk" post a few months back.

Susanne said...

Jennifer, this was an eye opening post to me. It never occured to me that things like my own laziness or my own not following through was at the root of my things like yelling. You and I have talked a litttle about this area, so this was really great to add to the other little comments we've had back and forth in the past.

Kelly said...

Ouch--you are stepping on my toes . . . Thanks!

Kathy said...

Hey Jennifer, I read your devotion today at Faithlifts, I have one under Health today.

This is a tough challenge. I'm not a yeller, but I do get a tone. My husband is the one who helped me curb this. He doesn't think you should ever speak harshly to anyone. Tough to do! But reminders like your blog and the 21 day challenge are great reinforcement. Thanks for sharing. Stop by and visit me sometime.


Lazy cow said...

I'm here via Bookfoolery and Babble. Excellent post. You've really nailed the reason mothers (or at least this mother) yells. It will require such self-discipline, and a lot of prayers for me to change this terrible habit. I've always wanted to be described as calm and serene. Maybe this time it will actually happen.

Katrina said...

I am most definitely a yell-up-the-stairs mom and a get-louder-when-they-don't-listen-the-first-time mom. Sigh... This is a tough one. While I tend to be very quiet and shy in groups of people, I am often far too loud here in my own home. I admire your endeavor to change this habit and look forward to hearing how it goes!