Monday, October 7, 2013

An Experiment in Silence

Yesterday when I woke up I decided to do a little experiment. 

All of my boys were awake and downstairs, so I got ready for the day. Then I wrote a note for my family that said…

“Today I am doing an experiment in silence.
I will answer any questions that are asked.
That’s it.”

I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately. 

I've been working on minimizing the clutter in my life…not just the physical clutter, but the psychological clutter too.

This post from sang to me the other day and it was just the push I needed to try this.

What I learned after 12 hours of silence….

There were moments that I needed to interject, but I thought first, handled the situation calmly and quickly then quieted myself again.

B Bear and I played cards and I was a willing participant. Little Monkey, hung out with us and watched. Usually, I am too busy to slow down and do something with the kids. What a fabulous connection it was!

And while I listened, the kids did all the talking.  They filled the vast space of silence with laughter…it was music for my soul! 

Then later in the day when I was taking the garbage to the road I saw 4 beautiful deer prance into the neighbor’s yard and disappear. Most days I wouldn't even have been looking around to see that.

When I get bombarded with questions and requests all the time, my instant reaction is to say no. I am lost in my own thoughts and can't be bothered with thinking about what saying yes would entail.  

Today, my silence forced me to think before answering.  In some cases I said “maybe”, which turned into a “no” later, but the boys took that easier because they too had time to process that my “maybe” might in fact be a no.

Because I couldn't acknowledge the whining, I basically was able to ignore it. And so they stopped sooner. There was no audience. There was no reinforcement of the annoying behavior. There was no arguing.

Since I couldn't talk, I couldn't nag anyone {including the hubs} so it was a much more enjoyable day overall.

I decided that since I wasn't physically talking, I wouldn't virtually talk on Facebook or email either. This freed up a lot of time. I still read, but when the reading was finished and there was no interacting, I moved on to my to-do list sooner.

This is a heavy burden to carry. One that Matt would say isn't solely mine, but it is. I nag, I yell, I get sarcastic, I get annoyed.

And I love this family. I love this home. However, sometimes the busyness and the noise and the craziness sends me over the edge… all too quickly.

Silencing myself made the bubble that is this home silent too. The boys played better with each other. They got in trouble less. Matt and I didn't get annoyed with each other either. 

Could I be silent all the time? Some would probably say, “Yes. Please do.” And quite honestly, I enjoyed it. 

However, even though I can’t silence myself all day everyday...I can take what I learned and be slower to respond. I can take in the world’s positivity more and put out less negativity.

This was a very valuable experiment for me. I am glad that I was curious enough to try it.

How about you….are you curious enough to see if you could be silent for 12 hours?


  1. Such a beautiful post Trina! During the week I'm mostly by myself so the experiment wouldn't work for me. However, it was recently my boyfriends birthday and instead of being naggy- I decided to spoil him in every way possible. We spent the entire weekend without much planned and it was glorious! Like you, I felt that with everything going on, it was nice just to take a step back and be thankful for what we have.

    1. Thank you, Trisha! I wish I could be quiet more often, but being a teacher makes that impossible. I do find though that the longer I teach, the less directing I do and the more listening. I am so glad that you had such a great weekend with your boyfriend!


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