Friday, September 17, 2010

A new Sunday ritual

Our family has recently stumbled upon a new ritual on our way to church on Sunday mornings. We observe a period of silence for at least half the ride. Despite the short time of this silence (our whole ride takes about 15 minutes), the significance is striking. I haven't polled the others, but I know I feel less distracted and more prepared for worship when we arrive. The fact is that I don't allow much time for silence in my life in any context. There's almost always a radio or mp3 player on, especially when in transit. Short of that, if this whole family is together, chances are someone has something to say, even if it's "why is there a tractor on the street?"

I say that we stumbled upon the ritual because it arose not from a family meeting or a parental epiphany. We parents just called for silence on a particularly back-seat-babble-heavy day . We weren't intending to start a tradition, but we noticed the calming results immediately. The next Sunday, we just said "okay, we're going to be silent now".

We would likely have more trouble enforcing this if our youngest hadn't just turned four. An eight- and four-year-old are capable of the discipline it takes to remain silent for even a few minutes. Of course, they're actually rather good at enforcing rules, so they have sometimes reminded (shushed) mommy or daddy when one of us has forgotten and felt like we had to say something this minute. We might all do well with more silent times, but I'm glad we've at least carved out this little niche in our week.


Anne H. said...

Isn't that neat how you stumbled on a ritual that prepares you for church and worship. I wonder if it has any effect for Charlie and/or Teddy?

Lauren Jackson said...

Thanks for sharing this tradition.

K said...

Oooh, I like it! Our church has a longish "moment" of silent prayer--about two minutes--and it's a whole different experience from the 10-20 seconds that most of the churches I've been to have.

I'm wondering about the details. Is it the first or second half of the drive? Assuming it's the second, do your voices begin the minute you all step out of the car, or do you stay in your own internal places while walking inside? I guess the latter doesn't depend entirely on you, as you are greeted by others. Plus there could be practical considerations such as checking to see who needs to make a pit stop.