Don’t Raise Your Voice With Me!
What household hasn’t heard the phrase, “Don’t raise your voice with me!”? It’s usually said during an escalating disagreement between parent and child or one adult and another. At its heart, it’s a request to tone down the volume of the disagreement.
When my children were infants, toddlers, and teens, I remember often telling them, “I’ll listen to almost anything you have to say, as long as you say it respectfully.” That’s akin to the ever-popular, “I can’t hear you when you’re whining.”
My current batch of laryngitis or frog-throat reminded me of a bout of prolonged laryngitis a few years ago that necessitated multiple trips to the Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist who then sent me to a speech therapist. The speech therapist threaded a small camera down my throat to watch my vocal cords in action.
“Mmm. Uh hmm.” The therapist scratched a few notes on her clipboard, then said, “You aren’t helping your vocal cords heal because they’re being lazy to compensate for the damage done to them. They’re defaulting to rumble in the growly, low sound. Try raising the pitch of your voice a little and see if the sound doesn’t improve.”
I almost stopped listening after the word lazy, but intentionally practiced raising the pitch of my voice, not its volume, a few “notes.” What an improvement, even with no progress in the healing.
Sometimes my emotional vocal cords get lazy, too. If I communicate with my husband or children or the customer services representative on the phone in my frog voice, it can’t help but set a negative, unhealing tone. If I consciously raise the pitch (not the volume) of my voice a little—Don’t think eardrum-piercing screech but rather moderated and pleasant—the words I say have a better chance of being heard and appreciated.
Does God care about my tone of voice with others?
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him,” Colossians 3:17 NIV.
See what happens in your house today if you raise the pitch a half-step and keep the volume low.
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed-in-hope through her award-winning novels, novellas, devotions, nonfiction, and through speaking events for women. She and her husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren. Her latest release is Song of Silence, a novel from Abingdon Press.