Silence is golden! But unfortunately, in today’s society it is becoming a lost practice. We have become so plugged in and so activity-based that the gift of silence is neither appreciated nor valued. While I love my apps, listening to my country music and the busyness of my life, I would be lost without some silence. Silence provides an opportunity for prayer, reflection and communication.
This past week Christians around the world celebrated Easter. No matter what tradition you follow, Christian or not, prayer is an important part of our rituals. And prayer in silence is crucial in our connecting with our God. I don’t mean to squelch oral prayer but that silent conversation held between you and your God is required for your spiritual well-being. For me, it comes at the beginning of the day. Over the last number of years, it has become such a regular practice before I begin my work day that when I miss it… I really miss it! Whether it be five or fifteen minutes, that silence brings about a sense of peace and calm as I begin my day.
Silence is also required when we need to reflect or engage in deep thinking. There are times when we need to unplug and just sit quietly and think! The world is so noisy that we are unaccustomed to that silence and therefore this is a skill that must be taught at both home and school. Close your eyes, listen to your breathing and relax are usually substituted in our world for hurry up, quit stalling and give me the answer. We need to promote silence as one of the many ways in which we can reflect and ultimately learn. Collaboration, group work and engaging conversations should still be the norm in our classrooms but silence must also be allowed and encouraged.
Finally, silence is needed for true communication. Conversation involves talking and listening. Have you ever been at one of those large family functions where everybody was talking all at once? There’s a lot of noise but not much communication… unless you’re the loudest! The ability to listen comes from the ability to be silent. Communication is a 21st century competency that we must focus upon and it requires us to be silent. It is sometimes in our silence that we speak the loudest words!
We need to teach our children the importance of silence. We need to teach our children about the power of silent prayer and silent thought. Children need to be able to embrace both noise and silence and not fear either. There needs to be a comfort in quiet times. When you go home today or enter the classroom tomorrow, how are you going to teach the importance of silence? Children, and I would suggest that most of us adults, need to learn and remember that “Silence is golden!”