Quiet, reflective time is an endangered species in our culture. For many families, every moment of life is filled with noise and activity, and “down time” is seen as empty rather than rich and full.
“The importance of quiet time is something that our culture fails to respect,” says author Polly Berrien Berends. She sees an overemphasis on competition and social interaction that leads to children’s lives being over-scheduled. “We teach our children to fear silence and solitude,” says Berends. We also distract them from becoming acquainted with the voice of God within them.
Berends says, “The child whose private, quiet time is respected and protected benefits in many ways. She has a chance to develop her own individuality and sense of self, to follow her own creative passions, to learn that she is good company (if for herself, then also for others), to develop her imagination, and to discover deep inner resources for healing and inspiration. Such quiet time is also a very good preparation for prayer.”
You can help your children to learn how to pray by teaching them traditional prayers, by praying with them, by letting them see you pray, and by protecting their times of quiet. Silence is an acquired taste—especially if we’ve been on a steady diet of noise and activity. But once gained, quiet time will feed your child for a lifetime.