It's quiet. (Sort of. I hear someone whispering to himself and the sound of Hot Wheels zooming very quietly.)
It's Quiet Time.
I used to wish for a quiet time. I feel so stretched these days, stretched and tired. But we couldn't do quiet time: No time-too busy-too hard to get the kids to stay quiet-we're always gone in the afternoon-too much work to do. I had lots of excuses, er, reasons.
Lately, I've been craving quiet. As my children have become more and more involved in activities, and I've taken on some volunteer duties to support those activities, I've been tired, pulled thin by volunteer demands and school planning and lessons and "Mom, Mom, Mom!"
Remember when you were a kid and you had time to daydream? Time to think things through or to pretend you were someone else or to drowse. My children still have plenty of free time, but me?? I miss the gift of having nothing to do. How in heaven's name can I give that to my children, this gift of quiet and calm, without modeling it for them? They will do as I do. Not only do I want to meet my own need for rest and quiet, I want to teach my children that as they grow and their lives become more and more full, it's important to take time from the busy-ness of life to refresh and renew.
So I took a page from a dear friend's book, and set a Quiet Time. Each afternoon we settle in for a whole hour: One fine young gent upstairs on the Big Bed, one on his own bed, the littlest on the couch. They do their free reading, puzzles, play quietly. Even the dog flops down on the floor with a sigh and closes her eyes.
I can read my own book. Time to read, during the day! I can write in my blog. I can daydream and puzzle. I can (dare I say it?) take a nap. Well, sort of. Littlest gent is snuggly and sweet and tries his best to stay quiet, but he's got three-year-old-talkitis. "Mom, look at this. Mom, I'm reading a book. Look, Mom, I'm being quiet! See how quiet I am?"
The key to successful quiet time is making it a number one priority. Not just for the children, but for myself as well. Laundry to fold? No can do, it's Quiet Time. Kids haven't practiced piano? Too bad, it's Quiet Time. Schoolwork isn't quite done? After Quiet Time. After only one week, the fine young gents look forward to Quiet Time too. Yesterday I gave them a choice: Quiet first, then play? Or play first, then rest? "Quiet time first!" they shouted. (Yeah, well, they're quiet once they get to their cozy spot.) The day before, a tired gent leaned his head on my shoulder, asking "Is it Quiet Time yet?"
After our hour of rest, we're refreshed. We come together ready to play and laugh and be silly. I've had a chance to pursue something interesting uninterrupted...mostly...and I've had a break from noise. The fine young gents aren't grating on one another's nerves or jumping up and down on mine. Afternoon squabbles have all but disappeared, I feel more prepared for the demands of dinner and housework, we've laughed together a little more. We've all met our need for quiet and peace and reflection, and we're ready to rejoin the world with energy and enthusiasm.
Quiet Time Rules:
- Everyone finds a cozy spot to be alone. Take your toys, books, puzzles with you.
- No phone, no housework, no schoolwork except free reading, not even for Mom.
I had to make one more rule: No hollering, "MOM! MOM! Is Quiet Time over yet?" I will tell you when Quiet Time is over.
Quiet time is over. It's finishing up right now. Today I've chosen to write in--on?--my blog for my contemplative time. My middle gent just came to hug me. He's leaning on me as I type.
He said, "Anyway," as though continuing a conversation, "I don't want to be mean."
"I don't want to be mean in this world. I just want to be happy in this world. I want a happy heart."
I asked him what brought that on. "I just want to make peace. I just want to share."
Apparently quiet time gives my deep thinker a chance to slow down and think deep thoughts.