Sounds can make you smile. Tap your toes. Remember something sweet.
Or make you want to run stark-ravin' mad down the block on a Wednesday afternoon.
I leave the school room for a moment, a brief, skinny, shoot-into-the-kitchen moment, and something breaks loose. There are sounds. Coming from my sweet babes. Shouting. Shrieking. A hurling of sharp words.
All in a moment.
A sliver of time.
How did we fall so fast?
I head back in, chasing run-away bliss. I try to sort through the he-said, he-said, but it's loud and the voices are carrying and words are coming too fast and we're speaking over one another. Soon I join the ranks and I'm railing, too. I glance at the open windows because we're now all a wild, surly mess.
"Listen" I finally say.
But no one listens.
I let them rant. Ramble. Until they stop. Then they look at me.
"What do you want our family to sound like?" I ask.
They look at me again like I'm mad. But I wonder, if our words are the overflow of our hearts, what about the tone? The way we use the words? The tone we take when we talk with one another?
"Our tone, " I say."Let's set a family tone.Should it be honoring? The way we speak?"
I get one crinkled nose and a couple of nods.
"How about the volume? Let's say, to be honoring, it's no louder than this?"
They just look. Three pair on pond-green eyes. Wide.
"How about the words we use? Should we be careful? Should we weigh those words? Before we spit them out?"
"And we can choose to be gentle or to throw words in angry ways. What do you think? Hmm? Zay?"
I nod now.
And so we have a family tone. It's a goal. Something to shoot for. I don't know if it will work. But it's a yardstick. A way of measuring the way we use our words. A way to work, to stretch, for peace.
How are we doing?
Time will tell.
But if you're walking by, and the windows are open, don't tell me what you've heard.
I may not want to know.
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. For the Scriptures say,"If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it." I Peter 3:8-11 (NLT)