My son is loud. I know, my wife knows, and it seems everyone who meets him knows. At four years old, he still does not see a reason to have an inside voice and an outside voice. He has one voice and he uses it. Obviously this can cause us consternation. But, in some cases, such a voice can be put to great uses.
A loud voice is fine, if used appropriately and in the right circumstances. That discernment, though, is not something he possesses. When we are quiet in prayer in church, he makes sure that everyone knows he wants a drink of water or needs to use the bathroom.
We recently took a weekend skiing trip with friends and their five-year-old daughter, a quiet and reserved only child. During the weekend, she and our daughter had a wonderful time playing with their American Girl dolls. The girls and their dolls sat down to a nice tea and quietly enjoyed each other’s company and conversation. That is until, out of nowhere, this serenity was interrupted by a cowboy intent on running his entire herd through the living room. He yelled, they screamed, and disorder ruled as he chased them through the rented condo. Calm was restored but it was only a matter of time before our son was loud again, screaming from the upstairs bedroom.
A week or so after returning I ran into the girl and her mother. We had small talk and then we both commented on how nice of a time we had together on the ski trip. That comment was qualified by the little girl: “Until Noah started yelling.”
“He is a boy”
I was embarrassed, but her mother, a long time friend, made me feel better with the comforting, “You know, he is a boy.” He is and I know. I had a one volume voice when I was four. That knowledge has not stopped me, though, when I feel compelled to put my hand over his mouth at a restaurant when he announces that his meal is “Disgusting! Yuck!”
I recently had occasion to use my son’s exceptionally loud voice in a home project. I needed to replace a light fixture in an upstairs closet. Prior to kids, I would have tempted fate and tried to make this change without turning off the main power. But with age and obligations I have decided that taking it safe is probably a better course. The only obstacle to making this happen is that the main electric panel is located in the basement – two floors and many door openings away. So I asked my son to scream as loud as he could when the light in the closet went out, thus avoiding me having to climb up and down the stairs to check. I am happy to report that this arrangement worked like a charm. I pulled the breaker switch and moments later I heard: “IT’S OFF. ARRRGH!!”
I have realized that his loud voice will soon be reigned in through school and other activities where more and more people will teach him the benefits of quieter verbal communication. Even now, when he is in Sunday School, I see a different boy – one that is quiet and self-controlled.
Like all things four-year-old boys do, I need to enjoy the moment and be sure to find more uses for such a voice while it exists.