I didn’t realise I liked to chat so much!
I recently spent several days trying to but I had no voice due to a nasty infection. Trying to say anything was a struggle.
It’s amazing how much you want to say when you can’t. And it’s very funny being out and about in the shops. I tried to avoid saying anything, just whispered the occasional thank you which often went unheard and people thought was very rude judging by the looks I got. But when I did manage to whisper a request they leaned in closer and started whispering back!
It reminded me of a day’s teaching I spent without a voice. I sat the children close, looking at me in amazement and somewhat apprehensively – kids hate you to be different in any way. Then, when I got their attention, I proceeded to whisper the predicament I was in and how I needed their help, how they’d have to be extra quiet to hear me and keep their eyes on me so I could wave, rather than raise my voice, in order to say something.
They were wonderful. And it was the quietest day I ever had in the classroom. They were soon all whispering too.
And it taught me a valuable lesson about learners; kids don’t have to be shouted at in order to learn. Shouting isn’t required in the learning relationship.
It’s also an important lesson for parents too – shouting isn’t required for parents to parent effectively, although judging by how some behave you’d think it was.
In fact, shouting isn’t required in any relationship. And if your kids are seeing you shout – at each other for example – then they’ll think it’s okay to shout in the relationships they build. No relationships require shouting. Relationships need communication in respectful ways in order for them to flourish. And shouting at the kids causes stress and can even affect their health.
If you drop something heavy on your foot, or your phone in the toilet, by all means have a good shout. And even though it doesn’t solve the problem it’s supposed to be therapeutic along with a flurry of swear words!
But if the kids are winding you up and you feel your own personal tantrum coming on, take some time to go elsewhere and have a good shout, where it’s not directed at anybody, certainly not at them. (You can read about my own tantrum in ‘A Funny Kind of Education’ chapter 19 – not pretty).
If you don’t shout your household will generally be the quieter for it. And as adults we should be finding other ways to defuse our pent up frustrations and anger.
Otherwise raise your voice only in song! Shouting in family life isn’t required.