One of the things that I learned from my mother (and one of the things I have struggled with) is the importance of creating peace in my home. Peace doesn’t just happen you know, there are all kinds of factors that come into play and I’m going to talk about a lot of them in the coming weeks, but today I want to address the topic of quiet.
We all need quiet. It’s not just mothers who need those moments when no one is clamoring for attention, the children need it too. There is so much going on around them all the time even before they are school-aged that they need to have space to process all of their experiences. Even those children that are super friendly and extroverted need down time and they need to be taught to recognize the signs of needing down time and how to best benefit from it.
Introverted children (or husbands) really need that space and especially those who show signs of any of the social handicaps that make it difficult to read facial expressions, body language and voice tones.
How then do we create quiet in our homes:
- I think the first thing is to understand that children and grown-ups need to balance noise and activity with quiet. Neither stillness nor action is enough for the human psyche to function well.
- Secondly, we need to make the times of quiet be both regularly scheduled (in our house we have three quiet times) and irregular (I institute quiet sitting still for one or more children when I think they need that little bit of extra).
- Quietness takes training. We are just starting to train W now, and he has a long way to go. We give him both “alone time” when he is expected to stay in his crib or playpen and play or look at books without fussing, and sitting still practice when we hold him on our laps and require that he sit still and refrain from “roaring” or making other noise.
- Quietness can be a powerful way of tapping into creativity and learning. F makes amazing structures and tests them during his “naptime”. He has no distractions, and without anyone to talk to he is thrown on his own resources and must create.? I love to go into his room at the end of naps and see what he’s done, and see too how much more integrated he becomes when given that time. As he grows I hope to teach him how to expand that subconscious centering into something that he can access at need.
- Quietness demands consistency. We have quiet in the morning between waking and dressing (eventually this will be when they have private devotions), at nap-time since only W sleeps consistently, and in the time period when I’m making dinner (this often involves coloring or directed but simple art projects of some kind). If we skip a session, the next one can be very hard to achieve indeed.
- Quietness leads to listening. When we are quiet we are more able to hear the world around us, the movement of the spirit and each other’s needs. As mothers we know this. We tell the children “Be quiet, and listen for instructions.” Having a daily family practice of quiet times helps us all learn to hear each other.
- Quietness promotes concentration. Again we know this (“Be quiet, I can hear myself think.”) but are we teaching our children to understand the importance of quiet?
I find one of the biggest barriers to quiet in my home is myself. I have to discipline myself to not answer questions when we’re having a quiet period. I have to resist the urge to fill the silence with music or some other sound. What I’ve learned though is that if I persist in maintaining those quiet periods we are refreshed by them and more able to interact well with one another. Times of quiet really do promote peace in the home.
How do you promote quiet and peace in your home? Please share your thoughts, links and posts in the comment section below…