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JLeslie's avatar

Is there a difference between the expressions "quiet time" and "moment of silence?"?

Asked by JLeslie (54570points) December 27th, 2012

Do they conjure up different thoughts?

Would you spend the time differently if told one or the other?

It came up during a discussion about prayer in school, which turned to a mandatory moment of silence.

Feel free to discuss what you think about either being used in public schools, but let’s not get into a discussion about prayer in school specifically. Let’s assume school led prayer is not on the table.

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21 Answers

Sunny2's avatar

A moment of silence is just that, brief, with individual reflective thought implied. Quiet time is longer and may be in respect to others needing the quiet or to your own need. In schools either is used to settle students down before lessons begin or resume.

Judi's avatar

Quiet time sounds like a punishment. A moment of silence sounds more reverent.

Seek's avatar

To me, “quiet time” is free time meant for calm activities – such as reading or resting. “Moment of Silence” brings to mind a mandated moment of reflection upon some pre-determined subject of perceived importance.

downtide's avatar

My definitions would be the same as @Seek_Kolinahr.‘s

In schools, I would consider “quiet time” to be a session of the children reading or doing some other quiet activity that doesn’t involve talking to each other, whereas “moment of reflection” would be a short (5 minutes or so) period of quiet thought on a topic given by the teacher, maybe followed by a discussion afterwards of what the children thought about the topic.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Quiet time is the older kid’s version of a nap that Mom wants them to take for HER sake, but they’re too old for naps. And what Judi said about a moment of silence….

CWOTUS's avatar

I love it: “mandatory moment of silence” passing as “reverence”. The mind reels.

“Actung! You vill be kviet now! You vill not sign ze papers! Ve know vere you liff – vell, your home room, anyvay…”

“Mandatory moment of silence” sounds punitive to me. “Quiet time” is just that, time to be (relatively) quiet and reflect – or not – as one will, just not bother others who do want to be quiet and reflect.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@CWOTUS I agree with you, but I think we had this discussion going on with out the “mandatory” part.
Oh, and “Quiet time” is what you do to the daycare kids at about noon!

wundayatta's avatar

Quiet time is usually time where no one is supposed to bother me. I can nap or work on something.

A moment of silence is held in a public gathering to honor a person or persons who did something notable for the community.

glacial's avatar

“Quiet time” sounds like something you use to punish children.

“Moment of silence” is what we observe at 11:00am on Remembrance Day. It is a reverent thing, as others have said above.

JLeslie's avatar

@CWOTUS I don’t get your response to the mandatory? If a school district or local law pertaining to schools requires a moment of silence daily, is it not mandatory?

Shippy's avatar

I always think about weird things in a moment of silence. Quiet time to me is peace.

augustlan's avatar

My thoughts agree with @Seek_Kolinahr‘s answer.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLeslie I think what @CWOTUS means is that the word “mandatory” and the phrase “moment of silence” sound contradictory. Like, “I DEMAND that you offer your hands up in praise and worship of our gentle Lord for all he has done, and if you don’t I’m going to kick your butt!” Like that.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Maybe that is why the right wingers who want prayer in school tend to say, “well, ok, then how about a moment of silence? Who would object to that?”

Dutchess_III's avatar

The silly thing is, there is no law that says students can’t pray in school! I guess the Christian right expects the teachers to LEAD the students in prayer. That’s ridiculous. I don’t expect my kid’s Sunday school teacher to teach my kid math.
Also…growing up through the 60’s and mid 70’s, I don’t remember EVER saying prayers in school. Only the Pledge of Alligence How the hell do you spell allegence? Spell check isn’t catching it for me!

Seek's avatar


And if you ask me, the Pledge itself is too much like a prayer. “Oh, striped silk rectangle, I devote myself to you for no better reason than my Kindergarten teacher instructed us to do so. I am five years old and not cognizant enough to make my own decision as to national fealty, but I stand with my hand over my heart anyway, monotonously repeating the words I am instructed to say. Amen.”

Judi's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr , before my grandson started kindergarten my daughter talked to him about the pledge. She didn’t have a problem with it, she just wanted him to understand what was going on and what they were saying.
He said “Mom, I don’t think I want to do that!” My daughter was shocked and asked why not?
He said, “I don’t even know where I want to live when I grow up. I don’t want to make a promise like that to this country!”
When he started school my daughter told his teacher how he felt and she respected his wishes. He was excused from the pledge.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When I was in second grade Fred Jenkins threw up purple grape juice while we were saying the pledge. He stood right next to me. Just sayin’!

Seek's avatar

@Judi Go mom, and go teacher. And especially, go kid!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah. Go to the BATHROOM kid! To this day I can’t hear or say the pledge without seeing projectile grape juice…..helluv an association!

JLeslie's avatar

As far as I know every child always has the right to not stand and not say the pledge. Or, at least in every state I have lived in that has been the rule. My sister refused to say the pledge at one point and they called my mom in to the school. My mom said to her, “just say it.” She still refused I think. This was 30 years ago. The law was on my sister’s side, but the school teachers and administrators were idiots. This same thing happened a couple years ago in the same county. It made the news. That county is incredibly diverse. Forget that Americans students have the right to not stand or recite the pledge, there are children of dimplomats, children of people from foreign countries who work for our government or a company for just a few years and then return home. Why should they pledge the American flag? It should be common knowledge in that part of the country that children can refuse.

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