The need for noise and our struggle with silence.
Posted by: Sue Atkins
I go into many schools running my Confidence Classes for Kids Workshop and I am always struck by how noisy the classrooms can become.
I do an exercise called The Garden of Dreams where I take the children on a visualisation into a beautiful garden with sunflowers and waterfalls and I help them relax, concentrate and be quiet and still.
It’s very popular and very powerful.
Now I’m not being all old fashioned and precious as I used to be a Deputy Head teacher but I think we don’t teach children to feel comfortable with silence.
I know my own two teenage kids were constantly connected with iphones, ipads, ipods and iplayers – but how can we learn to listen to what’s within us if we have never learnt to be silent?
How do you teach your kids to concentrate?
How do you teach them to listen to their own thoughts?
How do you teach them to trust their intuition?
A study of 580 undergraduate students undertaken over six years, reported by Bruce Fell on The Conversation, shows that the constant accessibility and exposure to background media has created a mass of people who fear silence.
If background noise is always around your kids, it’s no wonder they can become so uncomfortable when it’s taken away.
So to develop focused attention, you may want to begin by confronting the experience of silence yourself first.
Turn everything off, go to as quiet a place as you can find, and sit for a few minutes and just breathe in deeply and slowly relaxing all your muscles. Take in the environment and just experience the present moment and just be calmly aware of what is around you.
If you find yourself agitated or ill at ease, start with very short periods of quiet. Turn off the TV when you are washing up the dishes. Drive without the radio on. Walk the dog without your iPod or phone.
You will learn to feel at ease in silence and then you’ll feel confident to begin to teach your kids the power and peacefulness of silence.