Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Five Minutes of Silence

In Lawsonland, I teach my students a lot about their brain and how it works. We know that the brain needs quiet time, down time in order to process learning. This is what makes sleep so important - the brain spends most of that time sorting and storing the day's experiences into learning and memory. I've also noticed that children very rarely, if ever, experience silence. They don't even know what it is. Not really. To meet those two needs, I do something I call reboot. Immediately after lunch and recess, my students come silently into the classroom and have a seat. We spend the next five minutes doing nothing but sitting in silence. Our goal each day is to simply "breathe and be." Honestly, it takes a good while to train the class in how to do this, but once it becomes a habit, children crave it like they do recess.
in the quiet

...sit quietly for five minutes in the middle of your day and do nothing but breathe and be?
... commit to a silent hour one day a week?
... try a silent afternoon? Leave everything noise making behind - no camera, no watch, no phone. Grab a chair or a blanket and pillow. Head out deep into the country. Just breathe and be. It's amazing where your thoughts will take you.
... buy the July issue of Real Simple and read the article on silence?
... try a retreat of silence? In college I went to Intervarsity chapter camp. We were asked to go one day (really only about 6 hours) without talking. It was more difficult than you might think, but actually profound in its effects.
... begin your day as quietly as possible? Wake up to soft music. Turn it off and listen only to the sounds of your feet as you move around the house, your breath as you stretch and bend, the water as you shower.
... be more intentional with the television? Don't leave it on just for company or "white noise".
... make it a goal to become more comfortable with silence?
... pay attention to how much more you notice when the technology has been silenced?
... practice not rushing in to fill the gap in a conversation? Wait. Allow a little think time.

Shhhhhhh...

31 comments:

d smith kaich jones said...

I always say that the music in my house is silence. I am good at silence. And here's the deal - it makes me pay more attention to the non-silence. I listen better. Fabulous post with fabulous suggestions (I say with the tv on, sound off - my usual m.o., and the sound of the a/c, my fingers on these keys and my breathing all i hear).

xoxo

Sweet Tea said...

Very interesting. I have that magazine and will read the article. When my children were small I can remember CRAVING quiet. I'm a person who loves background noise most of the time - gonna have to gice "quiet & still" a try. You must be a WONDERFUL teacher!

Scrappy Grams said...

thank you for restoring your restful music! I craved it.
Back in the time before I ever had a/c in my classroom, I would have the kids (like you, after lunch and recess) lie on the floor in front of the two fans I had. I put soothing music on the tape player and we all relaxed, not quite silent, but restful. During the day, if they were having a hard time concentrating, I would "walk" them through a time out meditation with Jesus. I had gotten that little bit from a retreat I'd attended years before. I would "leave" them in their favorite place with Jesus till they were ready to come back. So there was also silence time. In public school, one could use the child's favorite person in place of Jesus.

Jennifer Richardson said...

oh glorious silence:)
needed this right now,
just this very moment.
am turning down the volume
in my busy day
to soak in silence
like you suggested.
and oh how beautiful
it sounds.
thank you.....whispery
delicious share:)
-Jennifer

Bee said...

I'm a chatterer, but oh do I crave silence. One of my BIG struggles with my husband's unemployment is his penchant for having the radio on all of the time. At least it's not the TV, though; it could be worse. I cannot bear the sound of TV.

These are wonderful suggestions, Relyn, and I think that teaching your students to be quiet with their thoughts is a POWERFUL and splendid thing to do.

spread your wings said...

what a great practice you are teaching your young students.
it's not a challenge to me at all - it's what i prefer most of the time. I like to hear the birds singing and the cats cleaning themselves.

Kimer said...

This is awesome to hear! One of my main themes to blog about is being! If we had all done rebooting, we might as adults know how to sit and be! I love it when I find someone who rings true to my heart! Thanks!

S. Etole said...

quietly agreeing ...

Debby said...

Such wonderful advice. I just shut off the TV, seriously. I know that I like to ride in the car without music on after a long day. I will practice this more. I haven't thought of how hard it is for a child not to have this kind of time. Thanks for posting this.

Marilyn said...

I will find the magazine because silence does intrigue me. Being Quaker, each Sunday morning we have a time of silence during the service. Traveling in Asia that was one thing I found stressful was all the noise. When I came home I just treasured the silence in my home. I hadn't realized how quiet it was.

Rita said...

I too crave quiet. I'm with people all day long and when I come home the TV goes all night till time to go to bed, so I never have any silence time anymore. That was one of the things that I liked about being home with my children when they were small. I had the days to myself and didn't mind all the noise at night, but now have no quiet time unless I go off and shut myself off in a room. I've watched you teach and I know what a fantastic teacher you are. Your students have no idea how very lucky they are to have you.

Suz said...

what a great teacher you are...if I had you in school..I could have been a contender



all the future Rockies of the world thank you

Dandy said...

Silence is becoming scarce these days. I love a little silence.

amelia said...

I've discovered I do love the silence of the summer ... well, I do allow the birds to talk ... but other than that ... :)

Tracy said...

Mindfulness in the classroom... Oh, you know I love this, Relyn! I admire you for bringing this much needed time to children. Silence is a good thing. In our over busy-busy world, down time is precious. I love silence, and find my most and best creative moments are had during quiet times. I practice yoga daily, and do a seated meditation a few times a week. Taking time to slow it all down, we can savor so much more. Wonderful topic today, my friend...Wishing happy, quiet moments :o) ((HUGS))

Jeanne said...

Fabulous indeed.
Silence is golden♥♥
I love you
Jeanne

cristie said...

i too crave peace and quiet. xox

Jeanie said...

Amazing photo and wonderful words of wisdom. I could use that silence right now!

Shaista said...

Wow Relyn, that is incredible to have taught the children quiet mindfulness at such a young age - very lucky they are too!

So funny how much human beings love to chatter, from babyhood onwards :)
And how much we need to learn silence and restfulness from speech. Just doesn't come naturally to us at all. I wonder why?

the wild magnolia said...

Great thoughts, jumping off point for creating solitude.

Maddie said...

One of the best gifts I ever gave myself was a 5 day silent retreat. There I learned about "white space"--the space between the words. It was difficult at first, but then was so welcoming. It is in the silence that you can really hear.

christinelaennec said...

Good for you to help the children learn the value of quiet. I love quiet when I'm on my own, and I also love it when in our family, each person is quietly doing something. It's such a nice way of being together.

Ms. K @ Write On Thyme said...

I SO agree with this sentiment, Relyn! And I'm amazed that you've been able to train your kids at school to do this. I think meditation should be a part of everyone's day and was astounded to realize that a little meditation every day actually has profound effects beyond the time spent quietly. I always thought it was just good for the body for that 20 minutes or hour. Good for you for teaching them of the benefits early, especially in this day and age when it just gets noisier and more hectic. You are the greatest!! Happy Holiday weekend to you!
xoxo~Kirsten

Pearl Maple said...

Silence can be a beautiful thing, in our over stimulated world to get in touch with our own thoughts again can only be good

susanna said...

Good ideas, Relyn. Yep, I need my silence, too. This post reminded me of an article I read about a center in California that teaches children how to meditate. It sounded quite interesting especially as we live in the age of Twitter, high speed internet, etc.

tricia said...

great post, relyn. it's been a busy day and your blog is such a gift-it has calmed my anxious soul this evening and i am going to give myself the gift of silence just as soon as i get home. lately i've gotten in the habit of creating with podcasts blaring in my ear. tonight i will try silence. thank you again.

Deborah Carr said...

Lovely post, as always, Relyn. I need silence. Too much noise backs me into the corner. Nothing is more serenity-inspiring than sitting quietly at dusk, listening to nothing but the hermit thrush sing.

meeta said...

In the silence u hear more than u could hear back in the crowd..and u hear all that u wanted to drown walking into the crowd..but sometimes making urself listen to that unwanted and unhear is important..so is turning into the silence to listen to the life that beats within :) Nice post relyn :)

retriever said...

It is true , younger know not the quiet time,it is important, I stop work , because became senior, a quiet time more than i was busy and work too much, in quiet time, i see much in life people around me,....
Best regard from Belgiumto you and wonderfull carrer as teacherimportant for yours younger people .

Jaime said...

I don't think I would be a very sane and happy human being if I didn't have a daily dose of silence. It is absolutely essential. And for the next couple of days, that wonderful silent part of my day is broken only by the sound of the roaring ocean.
It's blissful.

Jeanne said...

Silence is golden.
Love your postings
Love you

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