Saturday, June 13, 2009

“Silence, Please” – Susan Hill

One of the pervading issues of our society and culture - and also within the church - is the restlessness of our children and youth. While there is a plethora of voices debating the reasons why our children and youth are so restless – the solution lies within the truth of the Word of God: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). In a recent essay in Standpoint.Online (entitled “Silence, Please”) Susan Hill reflects on the need for children to learn the gift of silence. She argues - and I would wholeheartedly agree with her - that this is an issue not just for children and youth, but for all of us adults as well. Here's the closing paragraph of her essay:

If children do not learn to focus and concentrate in a pool of quietness, their minds become fragmented and their temperaments irritable, their ability to absorb knowledge and sift it, grade it and evaluate it do not develop fully. Reading a book quietly, watching a raindrop slide slowly down a windowpane or a ladybird crawl up a leaf, trying to hear the sound of a cat breathing when it is asleep, asking strange questions, such as, "Where do all the colours go at night?" and speculating about the possible answers — all of these are best done in silence where the imagination can flourish and the intricate minutiae of the world around us can be examined with the greatest concentration. If there is a constant jazzy buzz from which no one ever frees them, and which distracts and diverts until they are confused and then rendered punch-drunk by aural stimuli, children become unsettled and anxious — and life is an anxious business for them at the best of times. We are responsible for giving them the great gift of time spent in silence so that they can begin to understand and experience its healing properties and become aware that it will always be there for them to draw upon, if they are only taught how to find it. Once they have, they will never lose the longing for periods of silence or, when they have attained them, the enrichment they bring. We must not to deprive them of this as we have, though perhaps unknowingly, deprived them of so much else.
To read the entirety of Susan Hill’s essay – Click Here.
To read Al Mohler’s reflections ("Where Do All the Colors Go at Night?") on Susan Hill's essay – Click Here.

JT

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