The Power of Silence


Working at Keystone Science School has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Everyday I get to have amazing experiences with children in an outdoor setting. As magical as it is, it can be easy to get bogged down with the details and intricacies of each day. It can be almost impossible to see the changes we are making before the students leave.

A few weeks ago I was hiking with students on Minnie Mine trail in Breckenridge. The students were studying earth science. We covered topics like plate tectonics, mining history, landforms, rocks, minerals, and a handful of other topics. On this particular day I was focused on stepping up the curriculum for this academically-driven group.

At the end of the day the students participated in a solo hike in which they walked in silence for about 10 minutes. Following the hike, we debriefed the experience and for many this was the first time they had walked in silence. Primarily students mentioned something cool they saw along they way or something they heard. I was about to wrap up the conversation when a rather rowdy student raised his hand. I was expecting a silly response but to my surprise he said, “I think you realize a lot more things when you are quiet.” He than went on to talk about this new realization and how much he gained in that 10 minutes.

Maybe I am being nostalgic but it was exactly what I needed to hear that day. We make a huge difference here at the Science School, and even if I never see the change in these students lives, I know that I am doing something amazing.