It’s getting louder. It’s getting faster. Life…for many of us has become a Formula One racing track. We are sprinting through February, hot on the heels of Valentine’s Day, and Easter egg specials are already lining shop shelves. The days blur into weeks which blur into months…. an insane rush. So often, by the time we flop into bed and have a minute of reflection, we realize that our days have been so frenzied and full that we’ve unintentionally completely neglected the small things…the critically important, seemingly insignificant things.
Yet it’s the small things that matter.
In the rush and the loudness we don’t always see, and we don’t always hear, because we are competing with a very noisy, very loud, very competitive world and sadly, we’re a frantically busy generation. The danger with a rushed, blurred life is that we miss important moments with our children, we miss what they say, and what they haven’t said, we miss how they feel, we miss sharing their joy, sharing their heartbreak, and we risk missing what matters to them.
Our children need pockets. Small pockets of silence, small pockets of stillness, every day.
One morning last week, my daughter woke me up shortly after 5am, and in the process, woke my son up too. Like on many other occasions, she went back to sleep quickly, and I crawled back into my bed longing desperately for another half hour of duvet solitude. I lay under the covers, but my mind was drawn to my son, who I knew was awake and lying quietly in his bed. Every inch of my body craved to just stay curled up and doze for a few more minutes… warm duvet, soft pillow… but I knew that the day was about to get frantic, and chaotic, and that as the days tend to do, once it got started, it wouldn’t slow down until very late that night. I mustered up every waking cell I could find in my body, and called Christian, who came bounding through and jumped into bed with me. I told him we had five minutes before I had to get up and begin making school lunches and breakfasts and all the other things that have to happen to get two young kids, semi-hair -brushed, half-breakfast-eaten, kind-of-tooth-brushed, into the car shortly after 7am. As we lay under the duvet, with teddies squashed around and between us, there were moments… of silence, of stillness…. and those moments created the opportunity and the safety needed for vulnerability within a fortress of trust.
Lying there in that moment Christian said, “Mom, I don’t understand why everyone on the playground isn’t my friend”. This deep concern had obviously been weighing on his heart for a few days, but in the chaos of life, there had not been a silent moment for it to be expressed. Coming from a small playschool environment in which everyone knew and played with one another, it had been hard for him to understand that now, when numbers on the playground had increased from 12 to 74, he didn’t need to be everyone’s friend and to feel like everyone needed to be his friend. It was in the stillness that he had felt safe enough to be vulnerable, and it was in the stillness that he trusted me with his concerns. It was in the stillness that I was able to share this burden, talk it through with him and help him understand how to navigate the large playground issues which had been weighing so heavily on him.
Yesterday morning I was busy in the kitchen while Rachel quietly rearranged the fridge magnets. I stopped what I was doing, drew alongside her, went on my haunches and said to her, “Rache, how are you doing?” She turned to me, pulled herself onto my knees and threw her arms around me for a very long and silent hug. No words were necessary, but in that pocket of silence, she communicated her need. Had I not stopped the world, for just five minutes, and created pockets of silence, I would have missed the opportunity for my son to share a burden weighing on his soul, and for my daughter to connect in the embrace she needed.
Pockets won’t present themselves; they need to be consciously sought. They need to be fought for in this frantic world which is run by technology and deadlines. With so much online ‘connection’ it’s too easy to miss the deep personal connection, the soulful bonding that only happens in pockets of silence, in pockets where trust leads to vulnerability which opens doors for communication and connection.
We need to take a moment to pause in our frantic day, and create stillness, because if we don’t, we may not hear our children, we may miss being able to share their needs, to support their burdens, to laugh with their joys. Whether it’s a few minutes at bed time, moments in the car, minutes shared over early morning tea, or any quiet moment- fight determinedly for those pockets of silence. It is in silence we see more clearly… it is in silence we hear the loudest… it is in silence that vulnerability is communicated… and it is in silence that we connect with those closest to our souls.