Sam Radford

November 10, 2021

Improving on silence

I started reading Will, the new memoir from Will Smith last night. Only a chapter in, but enjoying it and gaining wisdom and insight already.

Though this is a complete aside from the point of the opening chapter, I loved his description of his mother, in sharp contrast, he writes, to his father:

Mom-Mom is quiet and reserved; not because she's shy or intimidated, but because she “only speaks when it improves on silence.” She loves words and always chooses them carefully-she speaks with an academic sophistication.

I couldn’t help but chuckle at that “only speaks when it improves on silence” line!

I was walking to school with my nine year-old daughter this morning and we were both silent as we made the one mile journey. 

After a while, Imogen said, “Say something, Daddy. I don’t like it when it’s quiet.”

Naturally, I read her this quote from Will Smith.

It’s fair to say it may have gone a little over her head. But it was a good opportunity to talk about how, much as she (and her mother!) might not agree, silence does not always have to be filled.

I realise that Twitter is not an audible platform. But imagine if everyone applied that ‘improving on silence’ criteria to their tweeting. Oh the bliss!

–Sam

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@samradford | samradford.com