"You Need To Use Your Inside Voice"

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When my oldest was about three years old, we sat in church, listening to a very passionate preacher. That man loved alliterations like Peter and Paul prancing from a pauper's penny profit. They should have passed out those Gallagher raincoats for the front row. It was the equivalent of a sprinkling baptism. As he became more and more riled up about his homily, the decibels increased. The man got LOUD. 

After the service, he unfortunately asked us what we thought of the preaching, and without missing a beat, my kid proclaims, "You need to use your inside voice!" Insert the awkward chuckling from the adults who thought she was cute but knew she was right.

So this week marked the end of the school year, which also meant award ceremonies. Let me get something clear, I'm not one of those parents who don't expect my kids to do well. I do. I expect them to do their best and be proud of their accomplishments. Yeah, they received many rewards and recognition, but they also obtained life lessons. It's not only about being smart, but it's hard work. I want my children to know that success isn't handed to them but earned by them.

It isn't uncommon for parents to get nostalgic during these times. When they see their children on that stage, you think back on times when they were little. So that's why that scene came to mind. Then I began to think about what my child said, and I thought it was a great advice to give my kids as they go on their journeys.

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Know it. Know your voice. We all have different sides to us, and it’s okay to keep a part of you for yourself. Not everyone needs to see all of you. But be one voice. Don’t change personas to please people. Be who you are, and stay true to who you are. There is nothing wrong with guarding your heart, especially when you feel pressured to be someone else. If you are an open book, have a hard cover. There are many critics out there, and there are times when you have to close the book on toxic people.

Listen to it. Listen to that inner voice that tells you it’s okay not to go along with your peers. Listen when you are faced with the dilemma of choosing doing what’s right or doing what’s popular. Listen when you lose who you are and need to find your inner compass. Listen when you fall flat on your face, and that voice tells you to pick yourself up and keep going.

Use it for good. This isn't about being quiet but more about not being obnoxious and boisterous. Have a modicum of self-respect. Don’t call attention to yourself for the sake of boosting your ego or popularity. Using your inside voice means knowing when to use your voice at all. Use it for standing up for your rights. Use it for standing up for other’s rights. Use it when you need to be heard. Use it when others who have no voice need you to use yours for their sake.

Finally, remember that whether you receive many accolades or none, use your inner voice to remind you that family is always there with loving arms and open hearts. We are always, always proud of you.