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Lisa Simmons discusses the spiritual fruits of teaching our children and teenagers to seek out quiet time with God.

Many years ago, while teaching high school Confirmation on Sunday afternoons for six weeks out of the year, I looked at what I thought my teenagers needed to learn out of all the theology and spiritualness of Confirmation preparation. And I know this was totally the Holy Spirit speaking to me (and maybe a little of my own selfishness). See, while we were teaching lots of good things about the sacrament of Confirmation, I noticed that these kids inside class and out were either always listening to me talk, watching a video or talking or looking at their smartphones. And I thought (totally Holy Spirit inspired) these guys could really use some quiet time: time in front of the Blessed Sacrament to just listen to God.

I am blessed to work in our parish office and so I get frequent opportunities to pop in and out of church and say hello to our Lord. Sometimes I sit down and talk to Him about a special problem or a bad day other times I just say "hi." But I thought, wouldn't it be nice if these teens could get a little Jesus time, sitting in the quiet, dark, and cool church.


Monstrance with Holy Eucharist


So I put fifteen minutes of quiet time in church in front of the Blessed Sacrament in our Confirmation class schedule. At first I worried that I was just using it a filler. I love teaching teens, but sometimes I am at at a loss for what to do during down time or when lessons aren't getting across to them as they should. Having this scheduled quiet time helped me with lesson plans and gave a natural break during our sessions. Little did I know, these breaks would grow to be very important.

After a year or two, I began to hear from students that they actually enjoyed this time. They never fought turning off their phones, separating from friends, and spreading out in the dark cool church to just sit and pray. Most of them knelt, even.


young man kneeling in church


So imagine my surprise when I came across an article recently about "The importance of Teaching Silence to Our Youth" in a copy of OCP's Today's Liturgy magazine. Hmm … other adults are noticing this need as well.

I was so happy the Holy Spirit had popped that thought into my head years ago. But now I have noticed that even our really young kids need silence in their lives at home and at school. Even babies are constantly bombarded by music and sound in our homes. We need to have some silent time at all ages.


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If we constantly fill our world with sound we cannot hear God. #catholicmom

So whether you are a mom to really little ones, or teens, I'd like to offer this bit of Holy Spirit inspired thought: look at how much sound they are hearing every day and encourage them to put down their music and their phones, and just listen to God. Whether it's in their rooms, in the car, walking, playing outside, or inside church.

Silence is when God gets to talk to us, and we need to give Him the time to do it. If we constantly fill our world with sound we cannot hear Him. And we wonder why we are anxious and fearful so much in our lives. The gift of silence is golden. It helps wash away the anxiety of life by giving us breathing space and calm. It will help your child find peace in their lives.


two empty chairs on a dock at sunset

Copyright 2021 Lisa Simmons
Images: Canva Pro