Cultivating Stillness and Silence

I think this is something we should strive for in all age groups of children, don’t you agree?  Cultivating stillness and silence is a way for all of humanity to hear the voices of the Heavens speak to us; it is the basis for most spiritual and religious practices throughout the world, and I think for small children it is the basis for reverence, awe and wonder in those early years of birth through age seven.

For myself as a Christian, my commitment is to show my children moments of this utter stillness and silence, this time of not “emptying myself” but of filling myself up with the Triune God.  This will plant the seeds of cultivating silence for my children as they will undoubtedly enter a life full of even more busyness, sound and bustle.  You may have your own spiritual or religious traditions that help you cultivate this unhurried attitude and ability to hear from the Heavens.

Many parents tell me that their small children are most quiet when they are outside. Of course!  How can we, even as adults, not be silenced and awed as we see this beautiful world?  Helping children find quiet outdoors is a wonderful thing; can we look at the clouds, we can listen attentively to the sounds of nature.

The other place children can become utterly silent is in a place of worship or in worshipping at home.  Having a visual focus such as an icon can be a helpful portal to inner peace and silence.  We can use verses to focus our children on the Logos.  Each week I have my grade school children memorize a verse, we don’t always succeed, but we try anyway!  For children in the Kindergarten years, you can say the same verse together every day by month, by season, or for the whole school year.  I eventually want to write a post about what our typical gathering time looks like in the morning, especially since I have children who are all different ages and stages right now.  For now you could see Kyrie’s post here:  http://aresohappy.squarespace.com/home/2011/10/1/1-october.html.  I have very few blogs I look for regularly, less than five, but Kyrie’s is on my list.  Enjoy!

Last of all, everything we do within a Waldorf home – demechanizing our machines of work to include more things by hand that are quieter, a quiet time regularly scheduled after lunch where everyone rests (not where Mom scurries around to get things done, that is not quiet!), limiting media – all of these things form the basis of a spiritual life.

In Quiet Confidence Shall Be Your Strength,

Carrie

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9 thoughts on “Cultivating Stillness and Silence

  1. What a very lovely mention, Carrie, thank you!

    People are always so surprised that our girls can quietly stand through an entire liturgy (2 hours), but I believe that all humans crave that kind of stillness, silence, and beauty. It’s definitely something we consciously create space for in our lives.

    xo!

  2. I have a busy 2 1/2 year old who stopped napping well over a year ago, he is not ready to be alone in a room, how would you institute quiet time in this case? I can do it for my 6 year old but not my youngest. This is something I’d love to have in my day, particularly in the long winter months where the boys need so much of my energy. Thanks for your thoughts : )

    • Hi there Emmalina,
      I remember doing a few posts on quiet time and there were many useful comments from readers, so you may want to type quiet time into the search engine box. I think at two and a half, it may be having both of you in a room and something quiet to do on the bed together, reading, and then trying to just let the dollies and or stuffed animal rest their eyes. If you say nap, rest, sleep, that probably will send off a storm of protest, so you have to think a little outside the box. Some mothers have had success with setting up a little fort in one corner of the room, or a nest for quiet time and lacing it with quiet activities. Some have found success with setting up a little spot for salt dough and cutters. I think one of the big keys is that mother needs to rest. If you are up and bustling about, I find that age much less likely to rest or be quiet.

      Hope that helps a bit,
      Carrie

  3. as i was reading i was reminded of the verse in isa 30:15 that has been close to my heart since my early twenties….in quietness and confidence shall be your strength and in returning and rest you will be saved. and there you go and post it at the end!!! beautiful reminder from the holy spirit to my heart today, this week…..hugs, carrie! <3

  4. It may not be much but we’ve just started to have a few seconds of silence before we say our dinner blessing. I never thought it would go over with our kids (4 1/2 and 2), but the older one especially really seems to get it. I find I NEED it after rushing around to get everything on the table before their fingers nibble it all away . . . This was a suggestion in Simplicity Parenting.

    It’s remarkable what works, and works so well if you just TRY it . . .

  5. I would love some moments of quiet in my home. My 3year old son has always been loud. He shouts all day and I constantly feel in a state of stress and anxiety. I’m constantly asking him to be quiet, which isn’t helping either of us. We have a very basic rhythm in our family which is basically playing eating and sleeping. I’m not sure how or when to start and gathering time with my 2 boys but I think maybe it might help. Any suggestions?

    • Meagan,
      Have you tried lighting a candle for a moment of stillness before meals? Do you ever say a blessings over food? Those can be small ways to start. I find the other thing that is helpful is going out in nature and cultivating being still in a forest, at the seashore, on a mountain, even in a yard to really listen and see. Start small, but I think it is so worth it!

      Many blessings,
      Carrie

  6. Pingback: Sleep and Rest: Eight Facets Of A Healthy Family Culture | The Parenting Passageway

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