My wife surprised me with a trip to a spa for my birthday. I have never been to a spa before (and I probably won’t ever go again). It was a very relaxing time, which is something I struggle with. My wife, Sharon, noted on several occasions throughout our time there, that I have a hard time “turning my brain off.” She was correct (as usual). Perhaps I need more of a growth mindset in this area….
I found it really interesting that everywhere we went in the spa there were signs reminding us to be silent. They even had a few quotes posted as part of the reminder and rationale for silence, and I was struck by how we all need times of quiet.
“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” (Mother Teresa)
As part of their studies of the medieval period and in particular, the monastic life lived by some monks and nuns (anchorites or hermits more specifically), our Grade 8 students had to be completely silent for ten minutes. After the silence, they journalled about what the experience was like. Some reported that they found it very peaceful. Others said it felt like they were going crazy inside.
So, if we know the value of being still, why don’t we teach this more intentionally to our children? We acknowledge that we need to be still, but we so quickly do the opposite; we fill our lives with busyness and noise. My kids are all adamant that they “need” to listen to music while they study, and even I like to listen to a favourite playlist when I exercise.
But, where is the time for stillness?
One of my growing concerns is that we keep filling our time with stuff and noise much like we keep filling our homes with stuff, but that is a whole other blog post.
Maybe I do need a regular spa day; it would be good to be forced to be quiet more often. And, perhaps we need to build more quiet time into the school day for our students. We recently held a lock-down drill and our Grade 8 students had to practice being quiet because they couldn’t manage the five minutes of quiet that the drill demanded! In the meantime, I will be trying to re-invest in Sabbath, and I hope to encourage that here at school too.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15