Thursday, November 10, 2011

The "Expert" That Made Me Mad

A couple days ago, I was quite angered by an article written in a local junk mail flyer/newspaper.  A father and motivational speaker/author, was writing an "expert" article on families.   Part of this article mentioned the importance of maintaining peace in the home and he stated that he had never once raised his voice at his now 8 year old son.  He claimed that it was completely unnecessary in the process of communication and would only serve to demean and belittle his child if he yelled.

"HA!" I scoffed angrily, in my head.  "ONE KID?  ONE MEASLY KID?  Try having six to contend with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week....!!!! Then we'll see who's yelling!"

For a while I thought about how freakishly hard it has been for me to control my anger lately, particularly when it comes to yelling and raising my voice.  It's not like I ever say "You stupid kid!  You are an idiot!"  Of course, I would never demean my children in such a hurtful way.  In fact, more often than not, I sound like some sort of coach or military captain, yelling "Let's go!!!" or "Stop right now!" or "Everyone, sit down and shut up!" (Except, I would never, ever say "shut up" to my kids... I actually say "Be quiet" or "Not a word" if I need their silence.)

The problem herein, lies in the volume.  Granted, my house is noisy.  I have a loud, talkative husband who passed down his noisy genes to my children.  So if I am to compete with six people making loud noise all at once, I practically need a megaphone - or some lessons in voice projection.

So back to the "expert" article - what on earth could this guy know about yelling?  He doesn't cope with what I have to handle, day in and day out.  Yet.... conviction pricked my heart.  Isn't this an issue that I have been frustrated with lately?  Isn't this exactly one of the things I want to change in my household?  I desire greatly to deal graciously with my children.  I want to love them with real love - God's kind of love that is patient, kind, self-controlled and abundant.

A spark of inspiration hit me this afternoon that may be a helping hand towards my issue of being a recovering yell-a-holic.  How bout a yell-jar?  Just like a swear-jar, I would have to throw in a quarter every time I yell at the kids.  Then, to be appropriate, I will have to use that cash to buy the kids ice cream or some sort of treat.

I don't want to minimize this issue, but I believe a lot my "problem" is simply an issue of a bad habit.  Also, I recognize that along with the consequences of "paying" for each time I break the rule and yell or raise my voice, I need to tune my heart to a different channel and work on the feelings that leave me feeling so out of control.  With each quarter that I toss into the jar, there will be a prayer lifted up; asking for wisdom, patience, peace and most of all love for my children.  

While this plan may appear to primarily be a "slap-on-the-wrist" sort of consequence, I know that the constant reminder of my actions, and becoming accountable for my faults will inevitably either cause me to change or harden my heart.  Frankly, I'm steering towards the former.  In the end, each quarter will represent a prayer, and an apology.  I don't want to make light of this - rather, I wish to use it as a tool to cultivate change, growth and true repentance in my house.  I want my kids to stop yelling and fighting, but I cannot expect them to change if I am giving a bad example.

"Yell-Jar    25 cents per offense"
Well... here goes...  I better get to the bank and get a roll of quarters.

Let the journey begin:

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Yell Jar! Cute. I totally know what this feels like- "but if I don't yell, I won't be heard!!" And I only have 2. The things I found that make me heard is making eye contact, putting a hand on his arm, and talking quietly. It's much more effective... but I still find myself yelling too. (sigh) At least I'm not the only one.