Tuesday, June 11, 2013

About Yelling

Someone posted a link on facebook to a parenting article in a popular online magazine. I was probably impacted by her writing style equally as much the article itself. She had content worthy of the time it took to read. This is hard to come by these days so I followed the links until I reached her blog. Thought provoking and convicting, she shares her experience with fervor. She is the Hands Free Mama. Her passion: Being present for her children and freeing herself of the tyranny of the smartphone, laptop, over commitment, and those other distractions we all face. Her article: The Important Thing About Yelling. She pours out her heart with a raw honesty that is attractive because it is real... as moms, we can relate. 

I don't like to think of myself as a yeller, but I'm not actually one of those naturally and incredibly gentle, mild mannered women. I can trace the spicy zing all the way to my great-grandmother. I still see in memory her crystal blue eyes snap and flash her indignation. I don't remember the words though, they were always in French. I CAN still feel the intensity when I think of her all these many years later. Perhaps that is because a similar intensity of character and those same snapping blue eyes were passed down in legacy from offspring to offspring until I came on the scene. My eyes are brown, -so you can't see the lightning in them. . . but alas, you wouldn't want to stick around if you made me mad. Oh, how I have prayed for a meek and quiet spirit and I cherish EVERY victory given me. It's exactly how Hands Free Mama describes it though, "yelling at the people we love happens as a direct result of the loss of control we feel in our lives" and that happens when our plate can't seem to hold everything it is expected. I can think of some very-out-of-control-feeling times in the earlier months of the twins long transition and settling into our family that I am not proud of. 

When I think of someone yelling at a child I am immediately transported back over the years to when I was 8 years old. This should have taught me once and for all that I could not risk raising my voice. . .  It does not matter that the woman who hollered at me was not actually angry, or even frustrated... it was more of an instinctive FREAK OUT moment and she had reason to yell at me in alarm but the impact of the moment has never left me and that's why I am speaking of it today. If this one little random split second exchange has effected my whole life since (in retrospect, not as much as I wish.  Apparently I don't learn well) . . . . just think of it, You or I could be the one who shouts at someone and forever impact a life and the act probably wouldn't have a positive after-effect.

This is my little story....

We were at the back of the store. It was a new experience for me. My parents along with some other people were in the process of taking the ownership of Sunrise Valley Health Foods over from a guy named Glen Shepherd in Sault Ste. Marie. It was a little cramped there in the back with the sacks of flour and oats, rice and beans.  There was a bit of counter littered with various metal scoops by the sink, and a walk in cooler.  In the corner, the most tantalizing thing of all, stood a 50 gallon drum of honey with a red heat lamp over it to warm it so that it would not crystallize. It's warm sweetness wafted through the air tempting the children to stick a finger along the edge for a lick. Mostly, we found out, the top edges were covered with foamy bees wax, though, so licking soon ceased.

I had been learning to package bulk foods on the scale and twisting the ties just so, but the job was done and I looked around for something more to do. My mom was in animated conversation on the phone behind the counter close by and I knew better than to disturb her conversation to ask for another task.  I'd have to find something useful to do myself. There on the edge of the counter I spied two round, metal disks with a lot of little holes evenly spaced. Both were covered in peanut butter and I  knew just what needed to be done about it. I picked them up while turning the tap on and as I flicked the first one under the running water I was jolted by a loud screeching, "NO! NO!! DON'T!"

Diana came flying towards me and whisked the peanut butter grinder's disks from my hands.

I was completely undone by my fright. My insides quivered and my hands shook. I was too shocked to cry. What in the world had I done? !!

I hardly knew this person and I was humiliated beyond words. Diana recovered herself quickly and profusely apologized for her outburst. "I am so sorry I yelled at you, but . . . . "  I didn't really get her explanation of why those disks must not get wet, but I understood that they had been shipped out to a repair shop for this very same mistake recently and she was but trying to save lost time and expense again.

An over-reaction, maybe ... and I bet I would have obeyed quickly if spoken to in a less dramatic manner. I  suffered such embarrassment and distress over this for some time. The moment would not have been seared into my memory for later contemplation had it been less vehement, though.

The lesson in it is, of course, to know and remember what it feels like to be on the other side of someone's loss of control in their life... And for ourselves, to rest in the One who made us and trust that He is able, willing, and eager to handle life for us and give us peace so that we may never cause distress in one of His children.

I love the joy in this picture from horse therapy. Even the horse is laughing.


Mama Ds Dozen said...

I grew up with a mom who yelled. I can't even remember specific incidents, because it happened all the time.

After having my first 5 babies in 4 years, I would say my life was a little bit out of my control. :) I found myself occasionally becoming a yeller like my mom (the last person in the world that I wanted to become like . . . as she was quite an abusive yeller).

Then . . . I read a book. I don't know the exact title, but it was somehing like, "When you feel like SCREAMING." That book seriously changed my life. It was filled with quotes from children about how they felt when their moms screamed at them.

I read the book . . . went to my knees . . . and called out to the Lord to take the screaming from me. And, He answered.

It is a VERY rare instance for Mama to yell anymore. I have 12 children. Life has been TOUGH the past few years. Life has definitely been OUT OF CONTROL. But, the Lord has truly answered my prayers and He has molded me into more of a "quiet and gentle spirit".

Yes. The Lord can mold us and make us into the women we desire to be, if we continue to openly and honestly submit to Him, and ask Him to make the big changes that need to be made.

Thanks for sharing.

Laurel :)

Preacherstribe said...

Funny, I don't remember a Diana at the health food store. Might it have been Doreen?

acceptance with joy said...
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