Let us bring the child back to the center of our care and concern.
This is the only way the world can survive because our children are the only hope for the future. As older people are called to God, only their children can take their place.
Steel Trap or Silent Refuge?
“The kid won’t talk!”
How often I hear this from mentors who have been paired with a child who appears to be a steel trap. Not a word can they wring from them. It can be very hard, lonely, and discouraging to work with a child who won’t communicate in the standard fashion…but it doesn’t have to be.
So what do you do when you have an hour with a quiet child?
Perhaps the first thing to note is that the silence isn’t a cold silence. The child wants to be there, they just don’t know how to show it. Accept that the child wants to be there.
Have you ever worked with someone so long that you no longer have to discuss every detail, but can work together in silence, speaking only when something needs to be said? Accept the honor the child is paying you by their silence. Do a project together—a model, drawing, coloring, look at a picture book—something that you can both work on and can talk if you have something to say, but can be quiet too. By showing up and wanting to do something with a child you are mentoring them even if you don’t say more than a few sentences.
The world we live in can be so noisy and distracting. Quiet can be a refuge of peace. Try to learn to be comfortable with silence and to hear what a child says without words. “I’m glad you are here” is audible to the heart if one watches closely for the sound of silent words.
Thank you for listening. Thank you for caring.
“Speak only if it improves upon the silence.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
"She's super nice and she listens to me all the time and she never interrupts and she always listens to me and she's always there"
Mentee, Grade 5