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Thread: Daily Bread

  1. #321
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Perhaps one of the greatest talents my parents developed in me was the ability to be alone. I can’t think of a time when I truly felt loneliness for another humans company. I have felt sad. I have been despondent. I have been depressed. But I have never felt like another humans presence would reverse those feelings. This is a somewhat strange admission to see in writing. It makes it appear like I am a narcissist or don’t value people. Not true. It is simply a coping mechanism that was required as a child and that matured into a primary feature of my character.

    My parents were strict adherents to the law surrounding the “Day Of Rest.” We kept quiet until the church service benediction which occurred sometime after noon. We ate lunch at home and my parents retired to their bedroom for the afternoon. My brother and I were expected to remain quiet and not disturb them until they appeared for the afternoon supper. And then we would don our Sunday clothes again and attend church until 9pm after which we would stop at my grandparents house and I would get to watch grandpaps color television, the only one I knew existed.

    Because of this routine, my brother and I learned to invent silent games, value collecting silent objects and learned how to speak in whispers. We also learned how to explain to our friends why we weren’t permitted to leave our property or play with them outside or have them over. I learned to be still and contemplate things.

    In grade school I remember the teacher asking each of us in class what their favorite word was. Some said their dogs name, some had to do with fun or sweet food, some were about sports. I confused more than one person when I responded that my favorite word was, “Sshhs!”

    One of my favorite quiet games was created with a pair of socks, a small brown paper candy bag, scissors and some tape. I took the bag and cut the bottom out. I taped the bag to the woodwork archway between the dining room and the living room and then I rolled the socks into a ball. With this setup, we could play a silent game of basketball. The sock ball would fit nicely through the bag, could be banked off the ceiling or wall and would make little to no noise.

    I also spent hours sorting, cataloging and examining the hundreds of baseball cards we kept in shoeboxes under our beds. Each card had a small cartoon story and statistics for the player. They could be arranged by team, by year, by position or by batting average. Or usually we would make an all star team and keep them in a separate special place.

    If we wanted to pay less attention to the volume of our speech we would go outside but the problem with this is we were tempted to make too much noise and disturb our parents. That would inevitably earn you a chore like washing all the woodwork in the house with Murphys Oil Soap or trimming the grass below the chain link fence by hand with shears.

    I have to admit that as a child the reason for all this quietness escaped me, sometimes confused me and on more than one occasion made me angry. And later on in my young adult life, I made up for it with loud muscle cars, ear piercing rock n roll amplification and pyrotechnics smuggled into the neighborhood as M80s and Roman candles.

    Later in my life when I was bedridden for three months due to an acute illness, I searched for an explanation why such a thing had happened to me at seemingly the worst possible moment of my life. I began reading through the Psalms and frankly had gotten nowhere with it. Nothing was speaking to me. And then I got to the 46th chapter 10th verse. It said, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Well, the one thing I knew how to do was to be still. Now all I had to do is wait.

  2. #322
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    Really interesting but I don’t think it would be good to have to be that quiet as a kid.

  3. #323
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Self-government is an important skill to learn as a child. Many children today seem to lack that focus and the poor teachers have to teach the kids about it before they start to teach anything else.

    What I am amazed at is the amount of detail that you recall, WS. Neat to read.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  4. #324
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    Really interesting but I don’t think it would be good to have to be that quiet as a kid.
    I took from it that WS only had to be quiet on Sunday, the Day of Rest. It appears that this "noise fast" one day a week awakened a lot of other internal resources, so I don't see it as a bad thing. Plus he had his brother to play with, and it seemed they were very creative with their quiet time.

    I was naturally quiet as a kid, and living quietly in the summers with my aunt and grandmother was a great blessing. But I'm sure that everyone's temperament is different.

    When my kids were young, I had a similar rule, but daily. Every night after dinner was "Quiet Time for Adults." We had to institute that policy with 4 kids, otherwise I would have gone crazy. They still bring it up, but I don't think it harmed them at all.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  5. #325
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    Self-government is an important skill to learn as a child. Many children today seem to lack that focus and the poor teachers have to teach the kids about it before they start to teach anything else.

    What I am amazed at is the amount of detail that you recall, WS. Neat to read.
    I suppose my ability to recall detail is both a blessing and a curse. I considered including the benediction word for word from memory but felt it was possibly too much religious speak in one short post. During my career, the benediction came to mind just before I entered a situation which called for a certain amount of wreckless courage or while in the presence of a departed person whether natural, accidental or by violence. It was paraphrased by my childhood pastor from Jude 24-25 as follows:

    ”And now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the throne of God, the only wise God our Saviour, Be glory, majesty, dominion and power both now and forever, Amen.”

    He would raise his hands to the heavens, palms held high, close his eyes and as if to launch his flock out into its pasture filled with all the dangers of exposure to hungry wolves or thieves - declared that God Almighty alone would be the final arbiter in the game of life and death.

    Later, details would and still do at times return unwelcome. It’s part of the risk of allowing oneself to be still I guess.

  6. #326
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    My kids all loved to read so often we would all be in there reading together. Of course with 3 boys we were plenty noisy too. A guaranteed quiet time was when they napped and they went to bed early so had plenty of time. I just found it strange as I don’t know anyone that did this. Being able to self govern comes from kids not being entertained all the time by adults or devices.

  7. #327
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsmith View Post
    ”And now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the throne of God, the only wise God our Saviour, Be glory, majesty, dominion and power both now and forever, Amen.”
    I haven't heard that benediction (word for word, I don't think it was a single syllable different) since my ex-wife and I left the evangelical Christian church we were attending when we moved across town to a newer home church that did not issue such a benediction.

    Even though I am no longer married to that woman and left organized religion and it all seems like a couple of ilfetimes ago, I thank you, Williamsmith, for that flashback. Not an unpleasant memory at all.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

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