I come from a long line of yellers. I remember my mother saying to my father, “You don’t have to yell at them” and hearing the response, “They don’t listen unless I yell.” As a parent, I found myself naturally falling into that same pattern I have politely named the "Escalation of Instruction."
Now my teenagers call me out on the raised voice, “Mom, I am right here. You don’t have to yell.” And they are right. When we yell our words fall flat. When we become overly emotional, when the emotional part of our brain is activated, the executive functioning in our brain is less efficient. Becoming emotionally heightened actually hinders our ability to think and process information.
We all have people in our lives we want to influence, be it friends, co-workers, or family members. Whether we are speaking truth or offering correction to someone, shouting and crying out is not effective. Being calm and collected, listening, loving, and spreading peace are what reach both the heart and the head. It is not fear but rather love that brings about conversion of hearts.
Conversion comes from a place of love and peace, when we can shed a rational light on the situation rather than rant about our frustrations. Conversion comes when others chose to emulate us because we carry with us a peace and joy that only comes from Christ.
In the First Reading today, Isaiah prophesied the coming of our merciful Christ Jesus, and Isaiah says He will come without shouting or crying out (see Isaiah 42:1).
Next time you are frustrated or angry, take a deep breath and invite the Holy Spirit to guide you. Our God is a God of peace. Don’t let others steal that peace from you, but rather choose to spread peace even, and maybe especially, in times of frustration. Sometimes the loudest message is sent from the quietest of actions.
Pray this act of consecration to the Holy Spirit today and ask Him to flood you with His peace.
Dr. MaryRuth Hackett is the host of the podcast Parenting Smarts. She loves historical fiction, dark chocolate, watching her children play soccer, a good cup of coffee (decaf please) and the quiet of the early morning. She holds a PhD in Educational Psychology and has a passion for helping parents understand the way their children grow and develop. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book called Rise Up. You can find out more about her here.