I never wanted to be a yelling mom. I wanted to be kind and loving and gentle and never raise my voice at my children. Enter our firstborn who, as my mother always used to say, “would argue with a sign and take the wrong road home”. That boy gave me a run for my money, especially in those early days of this very young mama. By the time he was around four I had become what I never wanted to be: a yeller.
I remember one evening around that time standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes and Jeff doing or saying something I didn’t like, and as I opened my mouth to yell at him something stopped me. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I know the thought that followed the interruption was, I don’t like yelling. That isn’t who I want to be. And that isn’t who I’m going to be any more.
I don’t remember what I ended up saying to him, but I do remember it was something instructive and calm. I also remember the look of surprise on his face and the hint of a smile that followed as he darted off to build something or maybe to read yet another book.
Unless I’m just remembering badly, I’m pretty sure I have never screamed at my children in anger or annoyance since that day some 28 years ago. I’ve spoken sternly on occasion, but I’ve made it a point not to yell. I’ve heard, read, and seen for myself that yelling puts up walls, shuts down hearts, severs relationship. I’ve tried hard to build up, not tear down my children. I’m a far from perfect mama, but I’m glad to be a fairly calm one.
I’m blessed to know that God doesn’t leave us in our old ways, but whispers to our hearts when changes need to be made. It’s up to us to hear and obey. He spoke that night at the kitchen sink, and I bade Old Yeller goodbye.
I don’t miss her one bit.