As a mother of two small children I worry when I hear silence. Whether it's laughing or screaming, to me noise is reassuring. Noise means that everything is okay. Well usually anyways. Yet I recently learned a different lesson about noise and about silence. I learned that just as silence can sometimes be a warning flag, it can also be an opportune moment to shower praise and to appreciate all the good that I have.

Picture the scene. My five year old was playing with his two and a half year old sister. They were actually playing quite nicely. No one was hitting, biting, pushing, or saying not so nice things. It was pretty silent. The phone rang. It was a friend. Just as silence can sometimes be a warning flag, it can also be an opportune momentWe began to chat. All of a sudden there was noise. This one took this one's toy and the other one hit that one. Screaming, crying. Urrrghhh. "Why every time that the phone rings or that I try to have a conversation do you have to fight?" I asked them in a not so nice voice. I felt like exploding. I felt so frustrated. I told my friend that I had to go as I complained about my disruptive offspring. The silence and the playing nicely from the previous five minutes were instantly forgotten.

Now press the rewind button. You know, the one that we all wish that we had. The children are playing. Again, no hitting, biting, pushing, or saying not so nice things. Silence. I go to check out what's going on because like I mentioned before, silence worries me. I see that wow, everything is great. The children are playing so nicely.

"Wow, you guys are playing so nicely. Mommy is proud of the way that you are sharing. I really appreciate that you are letting Mommy work without making a lot of noise. Thank you!"

The phone rings. It's a friend. Before I start chatting I mention to her in a loud voice (so that my children can hear of course) how nicely and quietly my children are playing together. I have a really good conversation. I'm even able to chat for ten whole minutes!

Why did the second scenario end so differently than the previous one? What were the keys that made it a parenting success?

· First, my children got their Mommy's attention without having to act out

· Second, they received well deserved praise for positive behavior

· Third, the praise was a motivating compliment that encouraged them to continue with their positive, compliment provoking behavior.

So now let's move on from childrearing lessons to raising myself, and from relationships with our children to relationships with everyone and with our Creator.

I see that G‑d is trying to get my attention. He's got it. I'm worried that we won't have money to pay our rent this month. "G‑d please help us out with this one. I don't want to have to borrow money." My daughter has an ear infection, again. "Please G‑d, let her stop crying. Take away the pain." My students are not listening to a word that I say. "I need You to help me. How can I get through to them?" Noise, noise, and more noise. I see that G‑d is trying to get my attention. He's got it. I keep talking, and asking, and pleading.

Silence. Everyone is healthy. We were able to pay all of our bills this month. The clerk in the supermarket smiled at me and told me to have a nice day. The taxi driver didn't scream at me and I actually arrived at work on time. The weather is nice. I'm walking on two legs. I have a beautiful family.

Silence, silence, silence.

Now here's the big test. I remember G‑d when things are shaky, but what about when things are going good? Do I remember to say thank you? To appreciate and to praise? It's not enough to just talk when I need to complain or ask or beg. Rather, I must recognize the beauty of silence and use that as an opportunity to recognize and acknowledge. So thank You G‑d for giving me life! Thank You G‑d for opening my eyes and letting me see goodness today.