Sounds of Silence

During the final years of driving my daughter before she had her license, I marveled at the long periods of silence in the car. During those rides I pulled out my best attempts to jump-start a conversation. Usually these attempts were met with a shrug or a long pensive stare out the passenger window. In a desperate attempt at humor, I threw out a line from an old movie, “I eagerly await your next syllable,” to which she would respond with a heavy sigh or an even more pronounced eye roll. There are times when we all feel a little defeated in trying to connect with our girls after school.

If we try to put ourselves in our daughters’ shoes, we quickly realize the reasons behind a little sullenness in our teens. Below is a list, gathered from articles and observations, that reminds us of a few challenges they face each day. They are actually pretty good at managing these things on a daily basis, but I do understand why they are a bit taciturn at 3:15. We might stop and ask ourselves how we would fare in a similar situation.

Before they reach the car at the end of the day, they have been asked to do most of the following:

• To try new things and not be afraid to fail.
• To work in small groups with people they may not particularly like.
• To adjust to at least 4-5 different styles of teaching.
• To be corrected and evaluated and to respond with understanding and grace.
• To have a positive attitude throughout the day.
• To be polite and respectful to classmates, teachers, and any adult on campus.
• To accept the decisions of those in authority.
• To eat lunch very quickly.
• To always be on time.
• To always make good choices with social media or anything else in their online worlds.

So in the afternoon when your daughter slides into the seat of the car, maybe just a simple question will suffice. “Is there anything that I should know about your day?” And then just put the car in drive.


4 thoughts on “Sounds of Silence

  1. Thank you Jess. Rarely the driver anymore but good to be reminded of a day in the life of a teenager.

  2. This was wonderful to read. Thank you. It is good to be reminded that the silence isn’t just in my car. It is also good to show our children that silence can be a comfortable and peaceful state of being. Thank you!

  3. And these last few months, I was convinced it was ME! Beautiful, Jess. Thank you for synthesizing my kid’s day in a way I am not able. Looking at it from the angle you present is comforting and tiring. Remarkably, a list of challenges can be gathered for them from 3:15 and 5:45 on. It is exhausting to think about. (I’m still pretty sure it’s ME, too.) Smiles!

  4. You are spot on , Jess! Even though I don’t pick Laura up from school anymore, I should remember your advice when she comes dragging in from Lacrosse practice at 5:45 every day!! Nicely written! Barbie

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