Old Yeller, that's me
Last year at this time, as a joke, I suggested that I give up yelling for Lent, which runs from Fat Tuesday to Easter. When my kids burst out laughing, I got offended. Whattaya mean I can't do it? It can't be that hard. So last year I gave it a go and gave the household permission to call me on it. I should have also made them give up something, like getting on my last freaking nerve every day and making me slip up.
As you saw in my post last week, we are all making an effort to give up something for Lent this year, which started last Wednesday and runs through April 4. As one reader astutely noted, why not try to be good all year, instead of just for 40 days? Good point, but my thinking is if you can do something for 40 days, maybe it will become a permanent change. It can't hurt.
Yelling is not as comic as we'd like to think. Some even say yelling is the new spanking, an ineffective habit that can do more harm than good. I think it's a selfish trait, letting the yeller feel some release at the expense of those around her.
Here are my three goals to cut down on yelling:
- Put my hand on the child's arm or back to get their attention instead of yelling for it. Or do the teacher's trick of whispering to get their attention.
- Don't repeat myself (being ignored makes my blood boil). Tell them to brush their teeth once and instead of a second reminder, get off my arse and take away or turn off whatever distractions are causing them not to do it.
- Plan my own day better so I'm not in a hurry all the time. Inevitably, when I yell it's because I am the one who is running late and when they do something that makes me even later, I lose it. If I can keep myself in control of my time and schedule, I do much better with my temper.
P.S. If you are looking for some inspiration this Lenten season, check out the Fast, Pray Give calendar from the the folks at Busted Halo. Each day gives you a suggestion, like "Fast from rushing through your day without noticing the beauty around you. Pray that God might show you something beautiful that you hadn’t noticed before. Give some time to enjoy a piece of art or a nature scene." Now that's something I do a lot easier than not yelling at people who can't seem to remember where they left their shoes.
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne