“Know thyself.” ~ Socrates
As children, many of us were told to “sit in the corner” or “Go to your room!” so we could think about what we had done or said. It was punishment and it did not feel good. Now we wonder why we have trouble sitting in solitude and quiet, whether it is meditation or simply a noise free environment for reflection.
When done with love and kindness, and in the spirit of teaching (our true job as parents), time alone is a beautiful gift to our children. It presents them with an opportunity to check in with themselves. Sometimes we just need some quiet time to reflect, to go inside. That is the intended purpose of taking time outs, sitting in a corner, or going to your room. It is not about being punished; it is about reflection. It is about quieting what is going on inside, and then listening.
To be with our children when they are doing this … that is love. To help them problem solve and get to the bottom of what they are feeling and why something may have happened … that is love. No right or wrong; just learning. That is how they learn to embrace compassion and empathy. Sending a child to the corner to think about it, and then assuming “time” is going to change something, does not make sense. They need love, direction and guidance. It is very simple.
As adults, we struggle to go inside, to be alone, to sit in the symbolic “corner.” And yet that is where the Divine speaks to us. That is where we receive and commune with our inner wisdom. Taking time for ourselves, for reflection, for actually “experiencing” what is happening in and around us is healthy. Supporting our children in having that experience is a tremendous gift.
Quiet time is a form of meditation. Meditation is simply the art of self-awareness. Self-awareness is a good thing. Daily quiet time creates sanity, a releasing of “stuff”, an allowing of what is. We get bombarded with so much information and input. Our children do too. We have TV, computers, school, work, radio, CDs, toys, games, people, books, cell phones, banners, billboards, signs, stores. The list goes on and on. It is all going IN. Do we need all of that inside of us? No. Do our kids? No. How do we release it? Through quiet time. Time to relax, release, and let go. Time for allowing wisdom to come up and speak to us; and unnecessary information to fall away.
I recommend “sitting in the corner.” I recommend doing it with your kids for five minutes every day. Create a joyful quiet sacred space. Teach them the value of time alone, time inside.
The next time you are tempted to send your child to the corner or to their room, consider how to make it a loving, teaching and nurturing experience. We can teach our children to go inside for peace and quiet, for reflection, for answers. Can you imagine how different the world will be as children begin to have this level of self-awareness and connection? This can be the “default” they go to when life is challenging, rather than drugs, alcohol, or other outside influences.
I challenge you to play with this. Have fun with it! Take five minutes a day for quiet time as a family. It could be at prayer time, just before bed, first thing in the morning, after lunch … whatever works for your family. Give it a shot for a week. You may actually like it! When done consistently over several days, you will be amazed at how nurturing it is. It will begin to feel like home. (It IS home!)
“Know thyself.” ~ Socrates