I can't remember where I saw it, but a few months ago, I saw a little button on someone's blog that said 'I'm taking the 365 days no shouting pledge' and it got me thinking about our family.
We have raised our boys with slightly opposing philosophies, Mr. Cleary and me. I have always hated competition, and competitive sports, whereas Hubba Hubba has always thought competition is healthy and makes us strive to be better, pushing us beyond what we would otherwise achieve.
So there have been tensions between the lads, as they all vie to be the best at this or that. Somewhere on our journey, films with terms like 'loser' have crept in. And so the boys wanna be top dog and this or that. And they fight a bit between them as they battle to win one over on each other. I fucking hate it!
And as there has been a fair amount of highly stressful crap going on intermittently this year, everyone's voices have gotten louder and louder (Perhaps partly where my love of silence has crept in recently!) The boys get pissy with each other as they get jealous about stuff.
And then a GLORIOUS thing happened. We went to circus camp. The boys learnt some amazing skills, in a NON-COMPETITIVE environment. Cosmo, the ringleader and clown extraordinaire, made a statement, for which I could have kissed him (but was way too shy!):
"I don't believe in competition. I believe everyone is talented and got something special about them. No-one is better than anyone else. Everyone is brilliant in their own way"
Woohoo! Yes. Too bloody right. Competition creates tensions, rivalry, jealousies and suffering for everyone but the winner - and sometimes everyone including the winner!
So anyway, what has this got to do with shouting? (I'm getting to that part)
Well, I turned around to Pete a while back and said I think, as a family, we are all a bit shouty. (Daddy Pete in particular - hes had more stress than any of us, so I get it.... but....) When we don't feel heard, we just crank it up. Times that by six and everyone starts talking louder and louder until we are shouting, and as a means of dealing with stress SHOUTING sucks! Ad it doesn't take the stress away it just makes it even worse. And it is tiresome communicating in such a rubbishy way. Just a habit and actually unnecessary.
So we made a pact. From now on, and for 365 days (I'm hoping to make it permanent but a year is a good start), lets not shout at each other. At all. Let's all break the habit of doing it.
And now if anyone gets a bit loud, we all gently say to them "you're shouting". And that reminder makes the person walk away, and try to deal with it differently.
You know what's. it's workings, it's really working! It's been two months since we took that pledge, and now if anyone shouts, it's rare and we all notice it as something unusual.
I am enjoying the quieter, less shouty Cleary way of living. Alf is still habitually dissolving into a shouty puddle when he gets REALLY frustrated but he'll grow out of it.
I just know he will - because we all have!
Perhaps this is another reason I am enjoying the quiet, the still, the peaceful, the wordless.
Anyway, that's enough words from me.
Shhhhh....... as you were......