I am battling a pretty nasty cold this week and yesterday it stole my voice. I was forced to govern my home with whispers, and this taught me a few good mom things.
My home is full of people, and therefore, it is also full of noise. Two people are giggling on the couch, one is singing while she plays on the floor, The Boy is a sound machine hovering over the lego mess, the baby is babbling, and usually we have music on as well. All lovely and pleasant sounds mixing together to make the cacophony that is my life. Normally, I just compete with all of this by speaking at high volume. “OKAY, GUYS! LET’S CLEAN UP AND GET READY TO START OUR SCHOOL DAY.” I am not angry, just trying to be heard.
Me without a voice was interesting. “okay guys. let’s clean up and start school,” I whispered, and it wasn’t working.
I had to go right up to the person that I was speaking to, get his/her attention and then speak.
The affect was amazing! Suddenly I was being listened to! I got quieter and they listened better!
I have known for awhile that we had some issues with paying attention here, and I have been working on teaching them to listen. We have even been calling them to “ATTENTION” drill sergeant style and having them line up as if we were the Von Trapp Family (all in fun, of course, and there are plenty of giggles as they stand at attention to listen to me). This has been helping, but it is still loud. So, when a croaking throat forced to me to speak to each kid close up, one on one, and in their face (because otherwise they couldn’t hear me), I saw that there is another angle.
Communicating with the herd is often just that. I shout out directions that are intended for the whole crowd – “Everybody clean up!”, “Let’s get ready for bed!”, or “Get in the car, it’s time to go!” Whispering is for the individual. Speaking quietly means I am face to face with my child, looking into her eyes. Yesterday, I learned not only the value of that, but also the effectiveness of it. So, while there will still be plenty of times that I throw out commands for the whole crew, I will be looking for opportunities to whisper.