“Silence is the true friend that never betrays.”
The car is often silent when I drive my children to school.
We walk out the door before 7am, and some mornings not a sound is uttered by the time we get to school ten minutes later. They’re tired. I’m tired.
Nonetheless, it’s tempting to want to talk. To fill the empty space.
As a father, I feel compelled to use the few minutes we have together to discuss some matter of importance. As a human, I feel compelled to talk about what I see around us as we drive. As a person, I feel compelled to talk about me.
But the passing of time is teaching me, through various means, that silence doesn’t need to be filled, and can actually be given as a gift.
When we’re silent around others, we’re giving them an opportunity to speak. Silence is also a sign of respect – a gesture that says, “I value your time.” Even briefly, we’re inviting them to be a part of our lives and to connect with us.
And just as a connection has two ends, listening helps us as well. We connect, learn, understand, and build a relationship.
To be a gift, a silent invitation to let another speak doesn’t need to be taken, just offered, with ears open.
And if it’s not accepted, just enjoy the silence. Together.
Yesterday’s gift of time … Many, many trips driving my kids around town – some moments spent talking, and some in silence.