Different tones…

February 16, 2011

At a local cafe,  I noticed one of my daughter’s favorite teachers. She was talking to young woman in her twenties. The teacher was speaking in a different tone. She was abrupt, (may I even suggest snotty?) definitely bossy. This was a bit alarming as she is one of the most friendly, professional, loved teachers I know.

Then the other woman turned around. The truth of their relationship was revealed. The young woman was her sister.

I watched and laughed as I sipped my coffee. The younger one giddy with excitement and the older one struggling to be supportive. I listened as the tone changed to include me in the conversation. I wondered if the younger sister noticed the difference as the older sisters tone swapped back and forth.

This prompted me to think about sisters.

I know a lot about this subject, I was born between sisters.(Boy, girl, me, girl) The oldest sister, I was always trying to please, the youngest I was always trying to save. I was terribly unsuccessful at both.

I watch similar dynamics with my own three daughters. I try educated them with these matters, but I suppose they have their own path. I hear their tones change.

My sisters made my life’s path much more interesting. I had the privilege of a front row seat to two very different people and life choices. I got to watch and pick and choose what appealed to me and what didn’t. I have been blessed with the worlds biggest critics and the worlds biggest supporters all wrapped up into one.

I wonder sometimes who tells only children the truth? Or who tells them lies? There is such value in figuring out the difference on your own. (By the way, I am NOT adopted.)

Today I am feeling extra fond of that younger sister, over enthusiastic and a bit too loud and for her older sister who has to put up with her…

I am also being more conscious about my tone. What tone do I use with my daughters, my friends, the man who serves me coffee?

Tones are more important than words. If I used the same tone with the man who serves me coffee as I do with my partner, my life could get complicated. (Or I could develop a reputation) If I used the tone I use sometimes with my daughters, with their friends, I may fast become an empty house.

I think that using different tones is an important part of communication, and we should all have an awareness around how, when and why ours tones change.

Sister quotes for fun:

Sisters never quite forgive each other for what happened when they were five.  ~Pam Brown

If sisters were free to express how they really feel, parents would hear this:  “Give me all the attention and all the toys and send Rebecca to live with Grandma.”  ~Linda Sunshine

If your sister is in a tearing hurry to go out and cannot catch your eye, she’s wearing your best sweater.  ~Pam Brown

I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.  ~Author unknown, attributed to a 4-year-old named Lauren

Sisters may share the same mother and father but appear to come from different families.  ~Author Unknown

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2 Responses to “Different tones…”

  1. Sherri Lauer Says:

    How rude! 🙂 (You can’t hear my tone, but I am smiling and joking)


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