Speech is Silver. Silence is Golden.



 “Silence is Golden” as sung by The Tremeloes. Originally sung by Frankie Vallie & The Four Seasons. Written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio.

I hardly ever listen to the radio in my car. On the way to work during the last year or two, I have listened to a morning talk show for the 40 minute drive…because one of our neighbors is the co-host of the show.  The show is very informative and very funny…such an interesting combination. So…I stop my moratorium on the radio for a short time period.

Our neighbor should be so honored! Otherwise, I can’t take the noise from the radio combined with the traffic. Silence is priceless in the car to me. There was a time when I listened constantly to the radio in the car…talk shows, pop music, country music, any music. And then our daughter turned four and talked continuously the moment that I started the car.

She was four years old just over 25 years ago. Her important conversations were interesting to say the least. She talked about how other people were driving, about buildings that she liked (especially the courthouse in downtown), and how she was going to be mayor someday. She planned to “get this city under control”. Girls are so different. At the same age, our son talked in the car about how he was going to build a baseball stadium downtown. He even drew pictures of the future stadium, but he never talked about being in charge of the whole city! And sometimes he was quiet.

I began turning off the radio so that I could hear what plans she had for the city after she “finished college at TCU”. She had not even started kindergarten yet. She did finish graduate school at TCU, but I haven’t heard much about the mayor’s job recently. The mayor is going to be able to keep her position for a while longer. Our daughter still has a lot to say, but carefully listens too.

And I am still not listening to the radio. I became very accustomed to the car silence after our children were in elementary school. I was facing an entire day of children talking in my classroom, in the hallway, in the cafeteria… teachers talking too! The quiet was calming and gave me time to totally change every lesson plan that I had written for that day! This continued for every single day of my career! I welcomed the chatter when I arrived at school because of my short amount of quiet thinking time.

“Silence is Golden” became my first lesson on the first day of school every year. Most of the children had never heard the phrase. They believed me, especially when I told them about the rewards to those who listened quietly. If someone started talking excessively, someone would invariably say “Shhhhhh!”…”Did you forget about the gold silence?”…victory! Someone learned something!

I also sought to learn some background about the phrase, since I had no idea where it came from at all. Some scholars state that the phrase dates back to Egyptian history. The first time that the phrase evidently was used in English was in a novel, Sartor Resartus written by poet Thomas Carlyle. Translated into English, a line in the book reads “Speech is silvern, Silence is golden”. According to the website literarydevices.net, one of the characters in the book uses the line to mean that discretion could be more important than eloquence.

Actually, I had not heard the entire phrase said together… “Speech is Silver, Silence is Golden”. I evidently was not paying attention somewhere, someplace! Literary analysis from literarydevices.net states the following edited words:

When we are silent and waiting, something great inside us keeps on growing, and silence give birth to creativity. Moreover the more we keep ourselves silent, the less our hearts will be hurt. In past times, the silence would be a great way of communication and more effective than speaking. Often a silent, but angry look of our parents is enough to give us feelings of their agony and fury. It can make us behave in a much better way than harsh scolding.

 It simply tells us that when we remain silent

and wait, something great keeps us growing,

and gives us creativity.



2 thoughts on “Speech is Silver. Silence is Golden.

  1. I love this post. The mayor dream of your girl interests me. I am pleased with her dream. Even if she changes her mind later it would have motivated her at the time she had it and that certainly had a positive impact on her performance. My last daughter wants to become an astronaut. A big dream for an African girl ; but life has its twists and turns and we know not where it will toss us tomorrow. Tell our sweet girl I am among those who are waiting for her to become Mayor tomorrow.


    • Thank you so much for your comment! Our daughter has been motivated and really determined since she was very little. Sounds like your last daughter is much the same way! Aren’t we happy that they set goals? Last year, our daughter went to a business women’s luncheon and was seated at the same table with the current mayor…an excellent motivator herself. Very ironical! Of course, your daughter can become an astronaut! If you dream it and really believe it…I think the route to the goal will be shown to you. It is up to the person to put the dedication into that route!

      Liked by 1 person

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