Quiet.

Talk talk talk. I LOVE to talk, but have learned the importance of silence, so I can listen better and really connect.

Who can relate to this scenario; being a child and your parents trying to constantly talk to you, but you don’t feel like it. You don’t feel like sharing or opening up. You roll your eyes and respond with minimal detail. And yet we do the SAME thing that annoyed us to our own kids. WHY?!

Let’s play this one out: 

           Parent:  “How was school today?” 

          Child: “Fine.”

          Parent: “What did you learn/do?” 

          Child: “I don’t know.” 

          Parent: “You don’t know?” 

         Child: “I don’t remember.”, this continues for 10 more minutes.

You get the picture. This could spiral into less connection or even an argument. We TRY to connect by talking, but sometimes it has the opposite effect.

How about this scenario; watching a sunrise or sunset with someone in complete silence. There are no words to say, no phone’s to scroll through, just soaking in the beauty. How did you feel afterwards? Calm, relaxed, content, happy…more connected? 

Silent connection is helpful.  It has a way of exposing so much, when we make space for it. Watching the sunrise is one example of how silence nurtures connection, but when we pay closer attention there are more opportunities to be more quiet every day.

We have so many opportunities for quiet when we notice, but we condition ourselves to be productive or distracted at every opportunity. This limits our resilience and connection, with ourselves, with one another, and with the world around us. 

This week’s practice is simple, but may feel awkward at first. 

This week’s practice:

  1. Notice opportunities for quiet connection. Here are some examples where we often fill the space:
        • Waiting for someone to meet you at a restaurant (phone scrolling?)
        • Driving in the car (forced small talk?)
        • Waiting for an appointment (more phone scrolling?)
        • Alone time with someone (forcing connection through conversation?)

        2. What is your urge in that moment? Are you talking or doing something else because you want to, or is it a habit? 

        3.  When you notice, try to resist the urge to fill the space, see what happens when you simply sit quietly.

Benefits of quiet: 

  • More connected relationships.
  • Our kids will open up MORE and when they feel ready and not forced.
  • We build self awareness and resilience because we notice more.
  • This is a mindfulness practice, simply noticing your urge to distract, and choosing to connect with yourself or another in silence instead.

In the classroom:

  • Intentionally set aside 1-3 minutes a few days each week to simply rest your heads and be silent, together.
  • Notice how you all feel afterwards, reminding the students (and yourself) that there is no right or wrong way to feel, simply NOTICE.

With your kids:

  • Notice your urge to connect with questions, see if you can allow for silence instead. Examples: driving in the car, sitting around the house, getting home from school.
  • Pick up on their cues when they don’t want to talk, follow their lead.
  • Notice if your kids open up more freely with less talk and more listening.

Benefits of quiet: 

Our kids will open up MORE and when they feel ready – closer connection 
Self awareness and resilience are nurtured 

Let’s teach our kids that it is okay to be quiet by modeling and feeling the resilience within ourselves. There is only room for growth when things get quiet. 

KIDS BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Quiet, by Tomie dePaola

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