Thursday, October 14, 2010

Not So Loud Please!

“Words should be used as tools of communication and not as a substitute for action”
~Anonymous

This morning on my way to work I passed a car whose driver was clearly upset. He seemed to be yelling either at or to the passenger. So many things ran through my mind, but the emotions I felt are what stuck with me. Sadness overwhelmed me that someone was starting their day off either yelling or being yelled at.

It made me wonder what on earth could be so bad that he was yelling. What makes someone so angry at 7:45 am that they find themselves yelling at someone else? (Or any time of day for that matter.) And do you think he realized what he was doing to the other person?

I really hate yelling. It's like the person yelling is determined to grab hold of power and make sure the other person knows it. Kerry and I try really hard not to ever yell at our children. I know we occasionally raise our voices - even at each other - but our goal is to have rational, calm conversation. Yelling is intended to tear the other person down instead of find a solution to the problem. It often makes the one doing the screaming feel empowered or "better", but the aftermath isn't worth it. Those words can't be taken back - and the feelings brought on by those words will always be remembered.

Don't you wonder how the rest of the day will turn out for each of those people in that car? I bet the driver will be cranky to everyone around him. He'll probably find fault with everything around him too. And I bet that passenger is in complete turmoil. I know it would ruin my whole day. Hours could go by before everyone calms back down - and even then the lingering discord will stay with them all day.

I personally would do well to remember that everyone starts their day off differently. There have been so many mornings when I should have just gone back to bed and started over. Or should have given more grace to the person who irritated me first thing in the morning. Not to mention holding my temper (and my big mouth) when I'm in one of those moods. But it's SO HARD!

Yesterday was one of those days, actually. Not so much because of yelling - because I didn't yell. It was just an "off" day. Gracey and I got home late. Kerry had to pinch hit for us (again) and put together dinner for our Wednesday night group. I was irritable. Gracey was irritable. And we were definitely not fun to be around. We may not have yelled, but we certainly weren't friendly to those around us. (Thank you Kerry and Sadie for tolerating us!) It could have colored our whole evening - because it definitely colored our day.  Even Billy had an icky day on the boat!

Instead, we got our act together and persevered. Gracey went to A&O thanks to a little prodding from her best buddy Blake. I spent some quality time with our fabulous group who always makes me feel better. And I had a little "therapy" session with my friend Kristin. By the time we all went to bed, peace was restored. (I hope Billy's was too.)

This morning I woke ready to have a good day. And I fully intend to make that happen.  As Kristin said last night, "Tomorrow's another day. Let's give it a go!"

As for the driver and passenger in that car next to me, I hope they have a better day tomorrow because I'm pretty sure today was ruined for both of them.

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