I never thought I was one much for silence. The radio blaring, a classroom full of elementary school musicians, my boys hollering and shrieking, my own mouth running a mile a minute….noise didn’t bother me, so I thought little of silence.
But raising three boys, especially three very, very busy boys makes for some crazy in this household. And I often wonder, why does this household feel so chaotic, so much sometimes? Why are we always living in pandemonium? Why can’t I seem to grab a sense of calm for myself, and more importantly, my boys?
And then, last week after a particularly challenging 4th grade music class, I stood chatting with their classroom teacher after school about how awful they had been that day, arguing, fighting, bossing, tattling….unproductive and unhappy, both students and teachers. “Yeah, ” she said, “I think I need to do a silent day tomorrow.”
Huh? Silence, the entire day? With 4th graders? HOW? She explained that she has to plan the lessons specifically to be able to teach that way, but basically, everything for the day is typed out on the board. It is a day designed to calm, to restore order, to regain the peace. “It’s almost magical,” she said. “But I can’t say one word. As soon as I do, it’s over.”
And it got me to thinking, not just in my own teaching, but in my own life, how much I might be able to gain from silence. Letting there be space between the words. Listening. Writing it down. Drawing a picture. Not repeating myself 20 times or having the same argument for 30 minutes. What might it bring? What might I hear?
And so this is an experiment. Playing with silence, seeing what we can gain from it, how much of it we can find. Looking, listening for a little peace.