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!


Got some thoughts on this? I’d love to hear from you – do hit reply or drop me a note.

@samradford |

About Sam Radford

Husband, father, lover of books, writer, tech geek, sports fan, and pragmatic idealist from Sheffield, England.