Last year I told Michael of my intention to resolve in the New Year not to raise my voice with the children.
“You can’t make a resolution like that,” he protested. “All parents need to raise their voices sometimes.”
I have cogitated on this. I know that as a parent it is important to do one’s best not to lose one’s cool. And I know that one must not take out one’s tensions on one’s children. This much is clear.
Gentle parenting experts recommend expressing disapproval by conveying surprise, disappointment, and sorrow in one’s tone of voice. I can convey surprise, disappointment, and sorrow. It’s just that it tends to come out at an elevated volume.
I will say this for Michael’s position. There have been occasions when, having at length resorted to raising my voice, one of two things will happen. The child will look at me with a surprised expression that indicates that he really has just heard me for the first time; or the child will look at me with a cheery expression which seems to say, “Oh, the thing that you were saying over and over again for me to do was what you really wanted me to do?”
So I conclude that the jury is still out on this question. For help in the meantime I have composed the following:
The Perspicacity Prayer
God, grant me the perspicacity
To holler at my kids when I should
To hold my peace when I shouldn’t
And the wisdom to entrust to You the difference.