Tone of Voice

I have the happy blessing of being the daughter of a daddy who never yelled at my brothers, my mother or me. He never even raised his voice. That’s not to say that he wasn’t firm. He was.  I can remember him teaching us kids how tone of voice, despite what you say to an animal makes all the difference. Say sweetly to a cat, “You’re the most dispicable little cat on the block. I think you’re so ugly. Now go on and try to do something good once in a while,” all while keeping a sweet sing-songy voice and that little cat will just purr and rub against your leg taking it all in. Tell the same cat in hateful loud and angry tones, “I love you. What an intelligent cat you are! You put all other cats to shame, you’re so beautiful,” and watch that cat run away from you.

Of course, this won’t work for people. We know the words. Yet, the lesson is profound, isn’t it? We humans do respond to tone of voice. I want to share some Bible verses with you that will show how God wants us to have this loving expression in our tone of voice:

  • Proverbs 15:1 – “A soft answer turns away wrath, but grevious words stir up anger”.
  • Proverbs 16:21 – “…And sweetness of lips increases learning.”
  • Proverbs 31:26 – “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her  tongue is the law of kindness.”
  • Colossians 4:6 – “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how to answer to answer each one”.

Our tone of voice can actually have more of an impact of our communication than the actual words we use. Have you ever said a short irritated, “What?”  when a family member is trying to get your attention for a simple question? I’ve done it, and I’ve heard other parents do the same thing. We don’t really mean the irritation that it communicates, do we? I’ve tried to correct that answer to my loved one that calls, “Mom?” or “Sharon?” That call may seem endless all day long, and I may want to just say with irritation, “Whaaaat?” and add the weary look on the my face.  That irritated tone conveys the message to your child or husband that they aren’t wanted in your life, that they are a bother. But, an uplifting, curious tone of voice, “What?” or “What is it?” or “Yes, dear?” would convey, “Come closer and tell me what’s on your mind. I’m interested in what you’re interested in. You are important to me.”

Don’t we want to be talked to with kindness? Of course! I’ve thought of how I would feel if my dad ever talked with an irritated tone to me, and I know it would hurt. So, the Golden Rule rules, again.

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” ~Matthew 7:12 kjv

~Sharon with Mary

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