My wife, Norma Jean, was going through some folders the other day and found this poem, The Tone of Voice. She shared it with me and said that she needed it every day. I think that was a nice way to remind me that I need it more than she does.
It’s good advice from my favorite author, anonymous. I thought our readers would like it.
It’s not so much what you say
As the manner in which you say it;
It’s not so much the language you use
As the tone in which you convey it;
“Come here!” I sharply said,
And the child cowered and wept.
“Come here,” I said —
He looked and smiled
And straight to my lap he crept.
Words may be mild and fair
And the tone may pierce like a dart;
Words may be soft as the summer air
But the tone may break my heart;
For words come from the mind
Grow by study and art —
But tone leaps from the inner self
Revealing the state of the heart.
Whether you know it or not,
Whether you mean or care,
Gentleness, kindness, love, and hate,
Envy, anger, are there.
Then, would you quarrels avoid
And peace and love rejoice?
Keep anger not only out of your words —
Keep it out of your voice.
The wise man was right, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1, NIV)
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman