Too Loud

I wrote this 6 weeks ago.  I would *never* have done such a thing today!


“Do you think we should tell Rahul to talk less loudly?” Maher asks me as he enters the kitchen in the evening.

I walk over to the door, peek into the living room where L and R are playing. They’re excited.

“No. I don’t think so.  It’s not a big deal that he talks a little loudly.  And it’s not all the time anyway.”

Rahul and Leila are shouting now.  Fighting over the same toy as yesterday.

When Leila screams, I motion Maher to go and check on them.

Same toy, same fight.  Yesterday she wouldn’t let him play.  She ended up crying from a bite in her arm.

It’s that same cry.  Today. I barge in, demand to know what happened.  They’re still at it.  Loudly.  She’s wailing now.  He’s nagging even more loudly.  No one is able to tell me what happened.


L and R look at each other.  R continues to nag.  He wants the toy.  She won’t give it to him.

My eyes are bigger than he’s ever seen, my index finger points at him and then at his room: WHY ARE YOU STILL SCREAMING?  YOU HAVE THE SAME TOY IN YOUR BEDROOM.  GO SCREAM IN THERE.

Maher looks away from me. I notice a quiver of a smile on Maher’s face. He looks away and speeds out of the living room.

“WHAT?” I glare at him.


After the children fall asleep that night, Maher laughs uncontrollably. “Only 2 minutes before you screamed at Rahul for shouting, you said that we shouldn’t say anything about him speaking loudly!”

I relax. I break into laughter. “OK, so I fu*ked up.  I know.”

My mum calls soon after.  Maher insists I tell her the story.  She bursts out laughing.  We all do.

“It happens sometimes….”  I’ve heard that line of hers before.

Dammit – I was screaming at my children uncontrollably because they were screaming.  I hate that shit.


I came across this the next morning, from a 1924 series of talks by Rudolph Steiner.

The first essential for a teacher is self-knowledge. For instance, if a child blots its book or its desk because of impatience or anger with something a neighbor did, the teacher must never shout at the child for making blots and say: “You must not get angry! Getting angry is something a good person never does! A person should never get angry but should bear everything calmly. If I see you getting angry once more, why then—then I shall throw the ink pot at your head!”   If you educate like this (which is very often done) you will accomplish very little. Teachers must always keep themselves in hand, and above all must never fall into the faults that they are blaming the children for.

2 thoughts on “Too Loud

  1. Dealing with this sounds a lot like yoga: be aware, breathe, align your words with your mind, exhale…
    This story reminded me of a similar thing that happened to me as a kid.
    We used to spend our summers at a rented house in Greece, the owner was living in a house adjacent to ours and both houses were sharing a garden. The owner’s daughter was about my age so we used to play a lot together, but after lunch my parents always required that my sisters and I nap. The owner’s daughter didn’t have to, so she just kept playing in the garden until we were allowed out. I remember that napping was difficult knowing that my friend was just out there playing, but after long minutes of complaints and dead-end negotiations, I always ended up falling asleep.
    One day, not long after falling asleep, I was suddenly awoken by the owner’s high pitched voice, “Be quiet!!!” she shouted at her daughter. “You are going to wake up all the guests!”.
    The little girl never bothered anyone, but her mother’s voice woke everybody up!


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