Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Soft Word

I stuttered most of my life, pretty much from when I started talking until after college. I went to many speech therapists who helped to various degrees. I don’t remember most of them, but the one that stands out to me was a woman in downtown Cleveland who spoke in a drawn-out whisper, like she was taping a hypnosis aid. She never did hear me stutter. I was so calm in her presence that I mimicked her slow, soft speech. The tension that initiated my speech problems melted away.

So what does all this have to do with homeschooling? Every day we face the potential for tension with our little students. Lost books. Unfinished assignments. Bad attitudes. Too many times I responded with a raised voice, threats, and I admit, the occasional tossed textbook. If I had recalled and employed the soft-spoken approach of my therapist, perhaps I would have gotten the response she produced in me—calm and compliant.

As we contemplate the New Year and things we would like to change, maybe we can commit to sweeter words in response to stressful situations and see what happens. I wish I had a chance to work on that harder. My kids finished school before I made a serious effort to modify my tone in our school time. But I can still work on it in life. I am proof it works.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath…” Proverbs 15:1

1 comment:

  1. Great advice, Shelly! I'm still working on this after all these years!