"There should be no yelling in a home, unless there is a fire." - David O. McKay
This past weekend I drug a box of Halloween decorations out of the closet under the stairs. Jane was enthralled. We stuck rat silhouettes on the dining room walls, hung spider banners, and plugged in orange twinkle lights. She was into it.
"Wook Mommy! I kiss the mouse!" she yelled at me, puckering up and smooching the rat silhouettes.
Then she skipped over the box and pulled out two glitter covered Styrofoam pumpkins. They were small, just the size to fit in her hands, and she was ecstatic. She arranged and rearranged them in the window sill.
"Wook Mommy! I decowate!" she giggled.
And then she picked up the foam glitter pumpkins and rubbed them together with the ferocity of a diamond polishing machine. Glitter flew up into the air, fluttering all over the ground.
Before I realized it, I was shouting.
"JANE! NO! STOP THAT!"
It wasn't just a regular yell. It was a "mommy has a migraine and surging hormones and should probably give herself a time out" yell.
Jane stopped, eyes big, shocked.
What happened? We were having such a good time. She was skipping and kissing mice and all of a sudden... yelling. She was doing what all kids do. Playing. She didn't understand that glitter on the floor lives there forever and ever and ever and somehow gets on your face five months later.
I was instantly ashamed. I wouldn't do that to a coworker, or even a person who cut in front of me in the Wal-Mart. Why? Because it's socially unacceptable. But at home, by myself, with my sweet two year old, yep. Yelling.
I realize that our families bear the grumpy brunt of our moods and it's just a sad fact.
But it doesn't make it right.
So I apologized.
"I'm sorry Jane, Mommy shouldn't yell."
Her solemn little face spread into a gigantic grin, "I love you Mommy." Then she gave my face a sweet pat and continued arranging her pumpkins on the window sill.
This was a major "shame on me" moment and also, an epiphany.
It's not O.K. to yell at someone just because I don't feel well or am short on patience. It's especially not O.K. to yell at the people I love most in this world. But when I do, because I'm not perfect, I will apologize. I hope that not only will I teach Jane to interact with people respectfully, but hopefully I'll also teach her that it's her responsibility to own it and apologize.
God gave us a million ways to communicate, and yelling should be filed away for emergencies. Oncoming cars. Biting dogs. Hot stoves.
Yelling because we're frustrated, or tired, or have a migraine is not an acceptable way to communicate with children, or spouses, or people we love.
I agree with Mr. McKay.
There should be no yelling in a home, unless there's a fire.