I can recall many moments of silence in my life. It is in those moments when I have found clarity, made some of the biggest decisions of my life and have even been the most creative. Do kids these days ever have moments of true silence or even boredom? As I was driving at 6:45 the other morning I noticed a van beside me playing a movie for the kids in the backseat. Now, I’m not judging. Just thinking. Are there moments when kids don’t have a television, tablet or telephone in their clutches? Are there moments when they do not have external stimulation? Are there moments when they are ‘forced’ to be creative and just play?
Speaking of stimulation, I’ve noticed that I myself rarely do one thing at a time any more. While watching television, I’m often on the computer. During commercials, I’m flipping to watch another channel. While waiting in line, I’m checking email. While washing dishes, I’m talking on the telephone. Multitasking does not often afford the luxury of deep, reflective thinking.
At one point in my life, I remember finding silence and even experiencing boredom. That concept now sometimes seems unattainable with all of the stimulation around us. We must be deliberate in turning off all devices and choosing silence. How long could you go without your television, tablet or telephone? Does the very idea frighten you? In that silence and lack of stimulation, we might just discover our true thoughts, our true selves.
In moments of ‘boredom’ as a child, my brothers and I would soon be creating worlds out of lego… we would find ourselves outside in a pick-up game of shinny with the neighbourhood kids… the warm playdough mom just made would soon be animals, real and imagined… pencil, paper and crayons came together to create story. In moments of silence, dreams of my future bubbled in my brain. I would hate to rob today’s children of those experiences.
“Nothing is more useful than silence.” (Menander 342 – 292 BC)
Indeed. Silence can nourish us in unexpected ways. Try it sometime…