Listen to Silence | Day Twenty-Two

"Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself." ~Hermann Hesse
“Silence is a source of great strength.” ~ Lao Tzu

Regardless of personality type, social butterfly or introspective turtle, everyone benefits from times of solitude and quietness.

We need to be alone with our thoughts and more able to listen, giving stress and worry two free passes out the back door.

Have you ever watched an infant looking around at their new world, silently? Wide-eyed. Quiet.

And then somehow we have classrooms full of children with hyperactivity disorders who crave stimulation and seem uncomfortable without noise.

Susan Dermond, in her book “Calm and Compassionate Children” writes these words:
“Inner calm needs silence and solitude to develop. In my many years as an educator, I have noticed that families whose children are calmest usually have a common characteristic: their parents have given them the gift of silence. To have time for their own thoughts, to get in touch with their own feelings, to imagine -- for these pursuits children need quiet time.”

Appreciation for silence doesn’t come naturally. We must teach it. Model it. Make it a priority. We might need to drop a few after-school activities. We might need to teach ourselves to turn off the computer and grab a book. We might need to take a night walk, staring up at the starry sky.

I have always been afraid of the silent spaces in conversation. I’m not sure why. But I’m learning to accept silence as positive space. Space to breath. Space to embrace, unafraid.

This fall, we’re planning to set aside time as a family where no one is plugged in to anything. To enjoy games by the fire. To read stories together. To just be still and watch the fake flames in the gas fireplace.

We’ll continue our nature walks where you don’t talk -- just listen to leaves crunching and birds chirping.

We’ll listen to the sound of silence.

Because it will make us happy.

“The skill of introspection helps us develop the self-control that leads to kindness.” 
Susan Dermond

Click here to read the rest of the posts in the series, 31 Days to Happier Children.