The moment of silence
Recently when we were on the way to the baseball field and I had a captive audience in the car, I finally got around to asking The Bigs what the moment of silence was all about after the Pledge of Allegiance in school.
“How long does it last?”
“If you’re in charge of the announcements, how do you know when it’s over?”
“Has anyone ever offered you any guidance about what to do during the moment of silence?”
“I don’t know…”
“The office ladies tell us…”
“Why are you asking us all this stuff?”
“Well, I’ve been meaning to ask you since that day I heard you do the announcements,” I said to my oldest. To my middle son, I said, “Have you ever done the announcements?”
“Yeah, we all get a turn.”
“Well, what do you do during the moment of silence? Do you think about anything or do you just…look around?”
“So, it’s like waiting for it to be over?”
“Yeah,” replied my middle son.
“Usually during the announcements we’re finishing up our morning work,” offered my oldest.
“What morning work!? The announcements happen right when school starts…”
I don’t know that I ever got a clear answer to that one, but what ensued was a conversational foray into the subject of multi-tasking.
“You know, doing more than one thing at the same time…like playing D.S. and watching TV or trying to do homework and watching TV. Or talking on the phone while doing dishes.”
My boys didn’t think that was any big deal. I realized that multi-tasking is probably a given, a way of life for them. So I asked them if they could think of times when it was impossible to multi-task.
“Playing baseball,” they both answered.
“Yeah, you’re right. You can’t play DS and baseball at the same time.”
“Well, you probably could if you were in the outfield…” one of them answered.
“And some people can’t multi-task when they’re reading,” my middle son commented pointedly to his older brother, who, when he gets his nose in a book, will only reply, “Wait, what?” after several attempts to get his attention, even if we mention candy, money, or the Red Sox.
“Do you think you might consider praying during the moment of silence?”
“Hmm mmm,” they both answered noncommittally.
I mentioned I was amazed that The Pledge of Allegiance is even said in school anymore.
“Because it talks about ‘one nation under God.’ I didn’t think you were allowed to mention God in school. Maybe that’s why no one suggests what to do during the moment of silence.”
“So-and-so’s a Christian.”
“Well, you don’t have to be a Christian to believe in God. Remember, ‘one God, many ways to worship’,” I reminded them with some song lyrics.
“And anyway, our money says, ‘In God We Trust.’ ”
“Yes, it does. So, you could always pray that you have a good day in school that day.”
“I always have a good day in school anyway,” my oldest stated. My middle son, who has had several “worst days of his life” in recent memory, was silent.
“Okay, well, you could pray about a test you might have. Or you could pray for your friends.”
“Hmm mmm,” they both answered noncommittally. We had arrived at the field.
“Alright, boys! I’ll be back after I get your brother!”