When Their Happy Is Too Loud

Originally published Wednesday, 11 September 2013.

I first heard this phrase in a movie when an adorable 7 year-old, named Rosie, was ready for bed but a neighbor’s party was disturbing her. She pouted and said, “Their happy is too loud.”

At the time it struck me, and about a hundred other people in the theater, as just an adorable comment from a really cute kid. The theater was full of giggles. But once the moment passed and the scene changed, I didn’t put much more thought into the concept of “loud happiness”… until recently. 

In the movie, Rosie was acknowledging that someone else’s fun was disturbing her. Can you relate?

I certainly can. I am ashamed to admit that sometimes other people’s happiness really does seem to get a bit loud.

I can clearly recall situations when I’ve been visibly disturbed by the amount of fun or happiness that someone else was experiencing, at a time that was not convenient for me. A neighbor’s cookout, a Super Bowl watch party, a coworker’s birthday—at one point or another I’ve been right there with cute little Rosie, looking for a way to quiet down the happiness! I really can be a grump at times…don’t judge!

My four daughters range in age from 9-4 and, like most kids in this age range, my girls LOVE to have fun! Normally, I love watching their creative juices flow as they create games, assign roles and let their imaginations run wild.  But can I be honest? Sometimes, their happiness gets quite annoying.

Several months ago I was sitting around my dinner table with my husband and our girls. The girls were extremely happy, laughing at everything and a case of the giggles seemed to be working its way around the table. They were having a good time but I was tired and all I really wanted was for them to finish the food on their plates and for someone to Please. Pass. Me. The ketchup!  I was not in the mood. 

As I waited for a pause in the laughter, I felt my blood pressure rising and eventually my frustrations got the best of me. I, not so subtly, silenced the noise and destroyed their happy spirits. Ultimately I was telling my kids to put an end to their happiness in order to please my mood.

As I sat there lonely in my frustration, I thought of little Rosie. The table was quiet. No one was happy and I was not proud. I don’t wear this moment proudly, but more like an embarrassing notch on my parenting ring.

I don’t know if you have ever ruined a happy moment with your kids or if you even have this struggle, but trust me when I say, it’s heart breaking. The disappointment in their eyes is too much to bear and there aren’t many things that compares to the shame you feel afterwards.

I will be the first to acknowledge that our children need guidance. They sometimes need to be told to quiet down or even to stop. But there is a drastic difference between training our children and dictating their atmosphere. It’s the difference between appreciating and understanding their youthfulness as a part of God’s design versus rushing them to maturity out of selfish motives.

In my own parenting journey, I have realized that when I hush my children’s laughter, get impatient with their silliness or frustrated with their lack of focus, I am crushing some of the very parts of their being that make them who and what they are—children.  {TWEET THIS}

If I don’t want to rush my kids to grow up then I need to give them the freedom to be noisy, messy, slow, and goofy….loud and happy kids! {TWEET THIS} 

Think about your life. Are their areas where you have allowed your mood to dictate someone else’s happiness? Maybe it’s on your job or with your spouse.  What steps can you take to not allow the frustration to affect someone else?

Or maybe, like me, your struggle is with your own children. Will you join me as I commit to appropriately encouraging a loud, happy, child-friendly home?

What is one way you can encourage a little loud happiness in your home today?