"I need a time out," 4-year-old Mark said in a firm voice to his sister. I watched in amazement as he separated himself from an argument and went to a quiet corner of the living room. Where had he learned this amazing feat? By the example of his mother.
In the still of the night, cell phones whistle like birds, neighbors argue and the furnace kicks on and off. When the sun rises, the cell phone barks like a dog to wake us. We miss the sound of the birds because our headphones are amped up to get our blood pumping to pace our workouts. Our worlds are chaotic.
There was a time when we rose to the singing of actual birds and the whisper of the wind in the fields. There was a time when I was young my family allowed me to spend time in the morning, safe and kneeling on the cold wet sandy beach without a soul in sight, still, quiet. I had time to think deep things and listen to the wind blow and the ocean. When I was 12, on that same beach, my aunt taught me to meditate and I learned the value of being still.
In a world filled with noise, chaos and to-do lists, it is important to carve out time to be still, and to teach our children to enjoy the luxury of peace. When we listen to loud music, watch the television and use other distractions in our world in an effort to numb out stress or entertain our kids, we can actually increase the stress and anxiety in our home. When our children witness us enjoy quiet, listen to soft music or watch us read, study and pray, this calmness can rub off on them.
In the New Testament, Mark: chapter 4, we read about the Savior sleeping while a storm frightens the apostles. The Savior teaches us a great lesson even before he speaks. He sleeps. He sleeps peacefully in absolute faith that his father will protect him. He doesn't need to calm the storm for himself. He speaks those great and immortal words, "Peace, be still." He tames the elements in the service of others. When then the sea becomes calm he asks, "How is it that ye have no faith?"
Sometimes my life feels like a storm and I am tossed to and fro. When I make or create time to be still, I can almost hear my Savior say, "Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?" And then, in the quiet, I am filled with a deep and abiding faith in my Savior's ability to not only calm the wind, but calm my heart.
Create a sanctuary
In your home, find a place where you can go to find peace and quiet. It doesn't have to be a large space. Make it your own. Maybe add your favorite chair, book, table and lamp. Maybe your space has photographs of family. Keep your space clean and special. Now you always have a quiet and beautiful place for solitude and prayer.
Boyd K. Packer, a religious leader and former educator, said, "Inspiration comes more easily in peaceful settings. Such words as quiet, still, peaceable, comforter are abound in the scriptures: 'Be still, and know that I am God.' (Ps. 46:10)"
Late religious leader, Gordon B. Hinckley, once shared the following story. He spoke about going to the Lord and wrestling with a difficult issue. He said, "I went to my knees in prayer. There came into my mind a feeling of peace and the words of the Lord, "Be still and know that I am God"..God is weaving his tapestry according to his own grand design. All flesh is in his hands. It is not our prerogative to counsel him. It is our responsibility and our opportunity to be at peace in our minds and in our hearts, and to know that he is God, that this is his work, and that he will not permit it to fail"..We have no need to fear. We have no need to worry. We have no need to speculate."
Encourage children to create their own quiet place
Once you have a sanctuary, everyone will want one. Get your children involved in designing and filling their own space. They will love having boundaries and being able to have a place where only they can go. It will become a place where they can retreat and tune into their own needs.
Once you give your problems to God, don't take them back
A person with faith is willing to lay his troubles at the feet of the Savior and leave them there. When you pray and then worry, it is like trying to take your problems back and not trusting the Lord's ability to resolve them. Instead, spend some quiet time listening and waiting for a feeling or a personal answer to your prayer.
Be the calm in your family voyage
Be as the Savior, sleep and walk in peace as the tempest is howling. When you are calm like the Savior you will see how contagious your faith is. Your family will catch on to your calm and quiet disposition.
It is one thing to weary the Lord with our righteous requests, it is quite another to weary ourselves, our children and our spouses with worry and unnecessary anxiety. Trust that the Lord loves you and will still the sea and elements of earth for you.
Teach your family to have reverent hearts. Encourage them to find their own quiet place and moments in their life by setting an example. Practice stopping and finding a moment in life to, "be still."