Hearing the Sound of Silence and Knowing When to Break It

Silence is not always golden, sometimes it is very dark and needs the light of the right word spoken at the right time. To be a good listener, we must not only hear what people are saying but also to hear the sound of silence. Learning when to speak and when to break the silence can make all the difference in whether we can be a more excellent person or whether we sit by and let things go unsaid and miss out.

Martin Luther King, Jr said,

“In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Way too often we say words that need not be said and hold back what we really need to say the most. Why do we do that? Silence always says something.

George Bernard Shaw said,

“Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.”

Don't just talk to speak, though. Pythagoras said,

“Silence is better than unmeaning words.”

 

 

Silence can be caused by many things:

  • Deep wounds
  • Deep shame
  • Deep dissapointment
  • Deep disagreement
  • Deep scorn
  • Death

While silence is something we all need sometimes, I'm talking about the silence between people who know and love each other. Or silence to speak out against injustice. Silence over things that should be said. Silence about love.

People are irreplaceable. And those with whom we've grown up, made memories and loved are not disposable. You can't throw away those relationships like an old shoe. The relationship is worth fighting for even if you'll never agree.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to break the momentum of inertia and pick up the phone, go see someone, or stop them in the hall.

There is a time to speak and a time to be quiet. And the wise among us know that often the hardest but greatest thing to do is to break a silence that deserves to be broken.

I wish I could wave my magic wand and help you build rebuild bridges torn asunder by differences of opinion. I wish there were easy answers. I only know that people are important and worth the effort to try to speak when it is just easier to be silent.

As you seek to be excellent, ask yourself if there are injustices, love, or great wrongs that require you to speak. Time passes and there can come a time when words can no longer be said.

Silence isn't golden, sometimes it is a darkness that needs the light of the right word said at the right time.

This post is day 39 of 80 days of excellence. I've created an email list below for those of you want to be emailed the full posts written as part of this series.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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2 comments

Tori Nielsen February 15, 2018 - 12:06 pm

I appreciate this post so much! It has helped me further my understanding of what ‘hearing the silence’ means. I love reading your posts, and look forward to future ones!

Reply
Vicki Davis February 15, 2018 - 12:38 pm

Thank you, Tori. Hearing silence can take practice but it is important.

Reply

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere