Monday, April 11, 2011

Whisper so I can hear you

I had coffee with my middle child this morning, and although she is an absolutely wonderful person, I found that she likes a TV show about two angry, aggressive fitness trainers yelling at fat people.

I’m not sure what I did to cause this interruption in my child’s tastes. I thought she’d grow up to enjoy the blues, good wine and great conversation. Instead, I find out that she thinks angry thin people need to get their point across to those chubby numbers through threatening to disembowel them if they don’t do one more pushup.

I have been a yeller most of my life. I have five children and I failed to use the volume control on my voice more times that I care to admit. I am better these days, but my kids are grown, so I’m not sure if I’m actually calmer and more selective with my volume or I just have fewer people around to scream at.

But I have found that people feel they will make their points more clearly, and people will believe them more readily, if they add volume to their verbiage. They must think that yelling makes them smarter and more likeable, and that it will get them lots of friends and influence tons of people.

I’m not sure if I have this right, but is it just me or do you all get the feeling that, when somebody is yelling at you, they are pretty much out of control, really angry, or a whole lot of both? Again, might just be me, but I tend to tune the yellers out straight away, not really giving much credence to what they have to say. In fact, I’m pretty sure that when I hear somebody raising their voice to me, I don’t hear them at all. There is an inverse proportion between how loud they speak and how much I can’t hear.

I don’t understand this phenomenon but for some reason it’s catching fire. It’s all over television and the radio. It’s getting so that you can’t listen to somebody speaking their mind without the upshot of noise. They so need to be heard. And I appreciate that.

But to communicate there has to be somebody speaking, and somebody listening. I want to engage in this dialogue. What you say means something, otherwise you wouldn’t say it. But I have to understand, and you need to give me a chance to pay close attention.

I want you to speak without anger, without volume, without aggressiveness. I do not want a monologue of screaming, I need a dialogue of peace. I want to remember your words, not your intensity

I can’t hear you if you’re yelling. I can’t listen if you’re loud. Whisper so I can hear you. Ed McShane - Happy Scribbles, Inc.