Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator best known for her philosophy of education, taught the value of silence to her young students.
In her book, The Secret of Childhood, she explains that one day she carried a sleeping infant into a busy classroom and all the students quieted down to observe the peacefulness of the infant. This silence became a game in her classroom and it wasn’t long until the children grew to appreciate all that silence brought, “Silence is refreshing, giving our overloaded senses a break. When it is silent it is easier to notice how smooth the geometric solid is in our hands. It is easier to hear the gentle sound of a zipper, or notice the scent of fresh cut flowers. Silence brings us back into ourselves, yet is also a profound connection to everyone else in the room at the same time.”
It isn’t unusual to find plants and flowers in a Montessori classroom, each used as a lesson in how beautiful things happen in silence, “Watch as the flower blooms in complete silence or how that green plant grows up the side of the window in utter silence.” The same is true when appreciating a sunrise or a sunset, each taking our breath away without making one bit of sound.
Autumn is a wonderful example of God’s beauty in silence. The silent trees fill the landscape with a brilliant celebration; bright yellows, jubilant oranges and rapturous reds awing us into a silent reverence.
May we take this lesson and like Dr. Montessori and her students, savour all that silence can teach us.