It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It

There is a squirrel in my house. Actually, it is a flying squirrel that moves inside the wall along one side of the house. While I am extremely grateful that it is a squirrel rather than any other member of the rodent family (verified by a professional), I am very opposed to sharing my home with it. In fact, I was quite panicked when I first heard sounds in my wall and did not know what was making them. Because flying squirrels are nocturnal, I was awakened in the middle of the night by a gnawing sound behind my bed. I could have been classified as a flying person that night based on the way I left my room. My reaction led my husband to quickly search and research the problem and solution, not because he was overly concerned about the intruder, but for fear of having to relocate to a hotel or hear me fret incessantly.

Flying squirrel removal is apparently a process that takes a little time. Knowing the full status makes me more comfortable and has alleviated the angst. So, when my sweet daughter crawled into our bed one night because she wasn’t sleeping well, and asked about the sound she heard coming from the wall behind the bed, I had a decision to make. I thought of a recent conversation I had with a friend who is an Executive Coach. She was telling me how she helps people better understand their own personalities and communication styles in order to communicate effectively and produce a desired outcome. After considering my initial reaction to that sound and knowing my daughter, I very calmly stated, “It’s a squirrel. Go to sleep.”



Learner, Thinker, Writer: Rhonda Mitchell serves the Trinity School community as the Personalized Learning Specialist. @rgmteach

4 thoughts on “It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It

  1. After reading the first sentence, I knew I had to keep reading! I, too, have heard scurrying in a wall and felt the fear-meets-horror reaction. I learned that day that I am grateful for people who are willing to do wildlife pest control for a living!

    On another note, I have always noticed that you have such a calming voice. I think even I would be at peace if it was you telling me there was an animal in my wall!

  2. Ginny Perkinson

    thanks for the reminder that how a message is delivered is so very important!

  3. I was in third grade when my family discovered an entire family of flying squirrels in our attic. Luckily, my father was able to capture them in a couple of humane traps. Then, we all took a trip to the mountains to give the squirrels a happier home. Our horrible gnawing sound behind our walls also became a learning experience! Who knew squirrels were so thought-provoking?

  4. Rhonda, I must say the idea of squirrels scurrying near my bed creeps me out! I love that you chose to tell her and that you have a plan to have them disappear!
    I have to agree with Marilyn’s comment as well – your voice sends a message of confidence and calm.

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