About children who are bored, and what a gift silence really is for them. A gift which only you can keep giving them.
I'm currently reading a book written by a Norwegian mountain climber. Someone who is often alone. With silence, in nature. He writes that the poorer you are, the more likely you are to be surrounded by noise. In this constantly spinning world, silence has become the new luxury. But really, it's an ancient one.
People young and old have sought for centuries to find stimulants to break the silence. Constant distraction. The Norwegian even tells of adults who were required to spend 15 minutes in an empty, silent room, who would rather give themselves an electric shock than spend that time with no way to fill it.
I thought about how this applies to me. Silence does not always have to do with noise. Silence is simply a mind which is not seeking distraction. Not counting, not getting something, not eating, not writing, not reading. Not even thinking. So sleeping, I think.
But I do know what silence he means. The silence of the great nothing. An experience which cannot be captured in words. A moment of being purely yourself, and completely content. Not because of anything. But because of nothing.
For centuries people have been incredibly uncomfortable with nothingness. Children too. They always have to be fiddling, making, experiencing, talking. And if there is nothing, then they are bored. And that is horrendous. My child who was completely happy just moments ago can wholeheartedly throw themselves at my feet in despair. Because they have absolutely nothing to do.
Usually I'll put a game on the table. Or 'suddenly' find a new comic book. But I'm really just distracting them. And adding new stimulants. And for years I've been reading that boredom inspires creativity. Which is true. They learn to recognize the moment, and find something to fill the moment themselves. Or better: absolutely nothing.
Tip: Live the experience of 'nothingness' by example for your children. Don't rush to fill up every free moment with a screen, a noise, or 'something'. Because the silence contains great advantages. It helps you become aware of your breathing, the moment, the feeling of being alive. And these small, conscious moments every day bring much satisfaction. For young and old. The world does not need to be silent for there to be silence. That's not possible. But you can choose to be silent. Silence truly is the fullness of life.
Book: Silence by Kagge