Friday, December 18, 2009

Sound Waves

As I walked in on two young cousins fighting each other, and their aunt swinging wildly, and their grandmother knocked to the floor - a calm and quiet "Come here.", directed at one of the boys, was all that was required to end the confusion.

Why was this the case?
Do children hear things differently than adults?
Do children hear screaming and shouting in the same way as we hear the teachers on Charlie Brown speaking?
Is screaming and shouting perceived by children as just a bunch of "Wah, wah, wah-wah"?

The most obvious example of the way people seem to interpret language (sound) is one's choice in music.
How many children and young adults enjoy listening to music at the highest tolerable decibels?
How many parents have told their children to "Turn that ish down!"?
How many adults find comfort in the soothing sounds of Sade - while their children only find a reason to nap?
Maybe our tastes (or perceptions) in music change as we age in the same way as do our taste buds in our preferences for food.
"You talk to me differently.", a very young and precocious niece once stated to me.
When I asked her how this was so, she explained that I spoke to her great-grandmother in a low calm voice - and that it was the same voice I used when I spoke to her older male cousins.
Usually, a low voice spoken to an elderly woman meant that I was calm,
but the same voice used towards young boys meant that I was angry.
But in speaking to this niece, my voice would almost be singing in it's sweetness.
I never thought about it, but maybe she was correct.
The low calm voice used to speak to her great-grandmother served as a calming influence.
(The calm voice soothed her - almost as a reminder that everything was going to be alright, and that someone else was in control.)
The same voice spoken to rough and rowdy boys also served as a calming influence.
(The calm voice reminded them that they weren't running anything and that I was in control.)
I don't know... .
Maybe these boys hear people yelling so much that they learn to block it all out.
Maybe these boys hear "loud" as a time to play, fight or just to be excited.
Maybe a calm and controlled approach is perceived as the ultimate authority.


FreeMan said...

Once you go Loud you can't go back because people get used to it. I think calm scares most people because it's the low grumble of the lion that warns before death.

uglyblackjohn said...

"...warns before death."
But the same tone that seems to put old ladies to sleep also scares the ish out of little boys.
Like I said, I never really paid any attention until a spoiled (by me) little girl pointed it out.