Eight year old Josh sat on the couch chatting easily. His Dad appeared in the living room and in a raised voice exclaimed, “Josh, I thought I told you to get into your pajamas!!” As Josh dashed to the bedroom his dad turned to me and asked, “Why do they always have to wait until I raise my voice? It would be so nice if they’d just obey.”
Sound familiar? How many of us have asked that same question? But we really do know the answer. It’s simply easier to yell. And we set the pattern. Each child knows when that certain crescendo is reached that means “now!” If we told the kids once to do something and they knew the consequences if they didn’t, then we would be responsible to enforce that consequence. And that isn’t always easy, especially if we are tired or have a lot on our minds. So, unfortunately, yelling seems to get some results.
Words and how they are said, set the tone in our homes. I consciously listened to the words in our home recently. I listened to those around me as they conversed and I paid close attention to what came out of my mouth. I saw some patterns that were good and others that I didn’t like.
Taking inventory on the words spoken in our homes is a good exercise especially when we inventory ourselves along with it. Sometimes we don’t even realize what has crept in or what is missing.
One winter when my kids were younger we cut out the shape of a sword and a band-aid. We taped these on our refrigerator door as a reminder that our words can bring hurt or healing. They can sting or they can strengthen. Words are very powerful. Tones too, imply so much. A soft answer can turn away anger but harsh words can stir it up.
In these hurried and changing times we live in, home should be an oasis where one can refuel to face the challenges that await. Lets take inventory on the words in our home. If we find there needs to be a change, we can start with ourselves and watch the results.