I entered my local library twice yesterday, and each time met a mother. The first was crowding up against her preschool daughter, trying to get her to walk faster. Come on! she said, her words full of exasperation as she physically pushed her daughter. The second was standing a few feet from the library door, keeping an eye on a sleeping toddler in her car just a few feet away while observing her two sons as they checked out books for school projects. Come on! she said, her face lighting up with a smile and her words full of encouragement. The same words, different actions, and a whole different experience for the children.
As I left the library, it crossed my mind that every single sentence in this Every school day series can be turned from a positive to a negative meaning – it’s all in how it’s said.
The power to wound and the power to strengthen are held by everyone who uses words to connect with others. Which will I wrap my words around today? Which will you?
3 thoughts on “It’s all in how you say it…”
I frequently think about the way words are spoken, their tone from the speaker, pleasant and friendly or unpleasant and irritable. Some months ago I attended a Fall Farmers Market and was interested in purchasing a fresh baked fruit pie from one of the vendors, my first time selecting a lovely pie from her. I don’t remember exactly what I asked or what her response was because I put the interaction with her behind me. I only remember that, although I did purchase a pie, my experience was very unpleasant because of her tone of voice with me. And although my family and I enjoyed the pie, I have hesitated to visit her table at the Farmers Market because of my unpleasant experience. On the other hand, I really enjoy my visits to many other vendors who genuinely greet with a warm smile and want very much to offer their products and service, along with showing their appreciation.
Tone matters more than we realize at times. I stopped going to a local shop years back because the owner yelled at a customer while my son and I were waiting in line for service. I’d be surprised if any of the six or seven people there at the time ever went back, regardless of the taste of the baked goods…Thanks, Robin! peace, Johnna
I agree about how especially children respond to the tone of the voice, from their moms and dads, and also from the various other adults they encounter. The tone surely influences their inner peace.