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.
“Silence, Please” by Susan Hill