Thursday, September 27, 2012

Working for Peace and Family Tone

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?"

More nods.

"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.

Just yet.

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)


  1. Oh my! How I need to read this in my home, as a family! This spoke straight to my heart. How we struggle some days .... words out before the effects are even considered .... by all of us. Thank you for this post!

  2. Thanks for sharing, Kelly. This is one of our biggest struggles for sure! Grateful for those grace and mercy days when it's not as hard. Hugs to your beautiful family:)

  3. The tone at our house has not been nice lately! Although if I really look at the situation, MY tone has not been very nice lately. I think I need to set a different tone. :/

  4. I completely understand, Kathy. That's what I saw, too, standing there, voice too loud and words too fast. Then, once I start slipping, it becomes a habit. Prayers for your home this morning. If it comes to heart, lift a prayer for mine?

  5. So many times my mother would say to me: "Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never harm you." I heard that over and over again...and yet, words can definitely harm. I still remember words spoken to me in anger when I was a child. Hurtful words. It's good to call everyone out on how to communicate in a respectful manner. Shawnelle, as always, I'm impressed with how you take a situation and create a teachable moment to share with your boys.

  6. Keep teaching those lessons, and even if you don't see results right away, they will know what you expect and take it to heart. Wish I could be a member of the Eliasen family!!

  7. Sharon, my mama used to use those words, too! And how true. Words carry weight. As always, I'm blessed when you check in. Thanks so much for sharing.

  8. Thanks for the encouragement, Peggy. What a blessing:) And we are fam, friend!

  9. I want to be a member of the clan too! :)
    Shawnelle, I wish I had had the great wisdom that you have when I was a young mother. I know you are blessing many lives by your writing. XO