Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Handful of Quiet

This was an article written for my other blog for parents, but I thought the viewers today might enjoy it.

My son in law was visiting with us. During a discussion about parenting, rebellion, etc. he suggested that as a child gets older, parents need to give themselves a promotion. (I don't think those where his exact words, but the meaning was well-taken.)

Now that you no longer have to wipe their faces and change their clothes, you can enjoy other things of a higher nature, with them. You can promote yourself through the indulgence of regular times of quiet, in such things as the Afternoon tea custom in your own kitchen.If you have a teenager or a grown child, it is now time to graduate him from riotous, or quarrelsome behavior, and settle him/her down to a more refined way of living.

Refinement means that you take off all the rough edges and present something without discordance, to enjoy.One way of encouraging this adult refinement, is to practice having a handful of quiet each day, or especially on the days when that particular child will be in the home. Prepare an afternoon tea, such as you see here, and sit in a nice spot in your house or outside. Pour the tea and sip it slowly. Eat tiny bites of things.

High teas in America are just ordinary foods cut in special ways and made to have a lovely presentation. There are many recipes in books now for teas that are easy to follow. They are prepared in small bites so that you can have one of many different things and a taste of everything.

This handful of quiet, if practiced regularly, will go a long ways to teach your children the value of the home. It is not a place for rebellion. It is not a place to flop around and be irresponsible. It is not a place of disregard. It is a high place where you have high tea once in awhile. I doubt they could find such a place in society anywhere, that would be as good, and I mean that.

This little ritual shows the one who is discontent and moody, that life goes on for you, in spite of him. Too many parents, in shock, put their lives on hold, while they try to help the troubled teen work they way out of their problems. Tea ceremonies are really the answer to settling their minds, if they only knew it, and they won't know it if you do not do it.

During high tea, only productive, stimulating conversation, and pleasant things are discussed. The advantages of having it at home, is that the family can talk about things they want to, that are personal, such as their personal beliefs and likes, without feeling self-conscious that they will be over-heard by strangers.It is time for parents to promote themselves.

You may have raised your children and gotten them out of diapers and made them independent enough to function, but it is time now to introduce them to a higher level of life.Afternoon tea is the perfect time to talk about a book you have read, or future ambitions. It is a time to bounce ideas off each other as to what you can accomplish as a family. It is a good time for the parents to reinforce ideals they have brought up in their children.

Sometimes when a child reaches adulthood, his brain gets a bit scrambled from the amount of outside influence that he gets, and he forgets what he is all about. Afternoon tea is a time to reistablish the foundations. They just need to be reminded.Eventually, they will get tired of the world. I know that as a young person, I thought I wanted the exitement of friends and of the worlds' activities--restaurants, movies, parties, etc., but later on I realized that the world had nothing for me, and that my parents house was the place where I felt the most stable.

You might not see results at first, but do not let anyone intimidate you into giving up. Keep up your afternoon tea ceremonies, with a beautiful table cloth, a tiered server with sandwiches and scones, and some very hot Yorkshire Gold or Celestial Seasonings cherry flavored tea, and you will find that child one day will come home at the exact time you are having it, with the express intention of sitting down for a handful of quiet.

The photo comes from a Canadian place :

For exquisite pictures of high tea in Australia, go here



Anonymous said...

You mentioned your other blog for parents....can you please let me know how to get there? I'm interested in that one, also. Thanks.
Helen in CA

Anonymous said...

This is yet another wonderful article. Every time I come here, I read something profitable, enlightening, and soul-feeding. Truly a blessing, given all the obnoxious things I've been reading in the news lately...

This is something I think I'll introduce once our children (first one on the way right now) grow to the right age. I'd imagine that using "your special teacup," even if it only holds fruit juice or Kool-Aid, would be something to treasure for a lifetime. (It might also encourage more "grown-up" behavior in little ones, so they can "have tea" too!)

I think I'll put this in the "dreams for my baby" book.

Mrs. Bartlett

Anonymous said...

For past couple of days my eight year old daughter has made herself jam toast and a pot of tea for breakfast. She puts them in a Royal Albert teacup and saucer and small plate and has a lovely start to the day. She is the only one in my family who is "visual", so everything she does is always aesthetically pleasing.

After hearing about my husband and I having afternoon tea at Claridges in London (quite a few years back now!) my daughters love making scones and having Devonshire Tea on the back veranda.

Thank you for the link. I have lived in Brisbane for 2 1/2 years and didn't know High Societea was there. We shall be trying out their afternoon tea in the next school holidays.

I, too, would love to know where your other blog is.

Thanks, again, for another wonderful post.


Lydia said...

for the other blog, which is very private, you have to write to me and I will send it to you after checking out your isp number to make sure you aren't a familiar heckler ;-)

Spunky said...

What a refreshing post. I think I'm going to have to reintroduce tea into our day now that fall is coming. I've hosted quite a few teas with my daughters in the past, but the thought of doing so for my own children on a consistent basis is wonderful.

Jenn said...

I'm glad to have found your blog! I started reading LAF about a year ago and have been blessed beyond measure, and it was one of a number of things that helped me to realize the ministry that I have right here in my home, to think that I once felt inferior, Ha! The Lord has certainly carried us a long way thus far. :)
I'm going to E-mail for the other parents blog, too. How could I miss that one? hehe


Father's Grace Ministries said...

As one of your Australian readers, I really appreciated seeing the link on Australian high teas.I'd love to try your idea as my little girls get older.I really enjoy your blog.You are a great example of a Titus 2 woman to me.I have just put a link from my blog to yours so my friends can enjoy Homeliving Helper too.Being a SAHM is severely undervalued in Australia.

Anonymous said...

Ladies, please don't underestimate the value of a tea time for your sons also. I've done this with my 3 boys (sporadically, I'm afraid) in years past and they have enjoyed it as much as girls would, I believe.
As a matter of fact, I am planning every Friday evening this school year to be a special tea time with my 14 year old son and myself. We will be going through a few different "boy books" together as we enjoy tea and a treat on the small sofa in front of the fire in my room. He is really looking forward to this and so am I. As he enters (homeschool) high school I really feel led to have this special time of discussion and prayer with him.
Plan tea times with your sons too ladies! They need and enjoy them as much as your girls do. :)

Anonymous said...

I think such time would also be of value to younger children. There are several 'mommy and me' tea books to jumpstart ideas.

Thank you Lady Lydia for these wonderful ideas. Whenever I visit your blog I can feel myself unwind and long for simplier ways.

Anonymous said...

Ma'am: Thank you for the lovely suggestions and encouragement to parents - - especially to those parents of children (of all ages) who are indulging in some long-term rebellion. My boys were raised with a daily tea and toast time, and to this day when they come visiting, they want a mug of strong, steamy, milky tea with a bite of something. Today they are 35, 29, and 27 years old. And yes, two of the boys did subject the family to some horrible, tumultuous years. I am thankful to the Lord for the repentance and restoration that has occured. Only by God's grace were my husband and I able to carry on and live our lives consistent with the values and standards with which we had raised our children. There were so many times when it would have been so easy to surrender to the despair and escape into a foggy depression or become bitter and negative. Amazing to me, we didn't. And now the joy is so sweet - - and our grown children love and take comfort in our long-time, homey family rituals. This old mother knows how healing those old simple scenes played out again in a very deliberate way softens hearts and strengthens ties. I know I did get a bit off subject, but the post struck such a chord in my heart. I hope that all the women who read your post will be encouraged to establish some lovely, nonthreatening rituals that become a permanent part of the culture of their homes. Tea in heavy china or stoneware mugs with buttered toast and jam; tea served in china cups with 'tiny bites of things'; or tall glasses of ice cold milk with freshly baked cookies... If the ritual includes godly, uplifting conversation (Philippians 4:8 is an excellent principal for any conversation), if the love flows as freely as the tea (or milk or coffee, etc.), and if all parties take delight in each other, the experience will always be cherished and looked forward to. And sometimes children, even quite grown children, will cry tears of repentance, and there will be forgiveness and hearts will be mended.

Most sincerely,

Miss Leah Claire

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
Another Anonymous here, I have five children. We didn't have internet, we just didn't even know about tea time in the world. I don't even know where our love of tea parties came from. Out of my five, there are three boys. The boys loved tea time, as much as the girls. Maybe, just because, usually, there was a snack? I don't know.
Later, we stumbled across tea time books in the library, and later when we purchased a computer we came across internet information. Then, there was Wallace and Gromit. LOL Cheese, and tea kettle on the stove! My daughter learned a couple of recipes for scones. She enjoyed the approval of her brothers!
Then, in the process I stumbled upon your blog. Which is always a pleasure to visit.
Just adding my two cents. In support of "Tea Time."

Anonymous said...

Well, in my grandma's, my mom's, and now my house, we have always made a pot of coffee at 3 p.m. each weekday and had a little something sweet. I treasure the memories of being at my grandmother's kitchen table, or my mother's, and enjoyed the time of fellowship and refreshment at that time of day, often accompanied by a neighbor or two. This was almost always the case at Gram's, as she lived in a small New England town; it was also often the case at Mom's, but only sometimes at my house, since there are hardly any neighbors who are home at that time of day. We are a family where usually someone is always here with me though, so the fellowship is still very sweet. I also love the way it sort of picks you up for the work that still must be done that day.

Anonymous said...

Dearest lady Lydia,

many many thanks for providing yet another brilliant article for our encouragement - especially we here in australia! I'll be paying a visit to the "tea time" site you've thoughtfully shared. Off topic (but I am not so sure where this would belong), a dear friend with four lovely children (the youngest now just turning 16) had a good old-fashioned bon-fire on her property as the main party for the lovely young lady, with a few close friends and family. This was a wonderful experience which many readers (and most probably also yourself) would remember before the "nanny state" prevented such innocent and wholesome celebration - gotten around by some rather fancy beauocratic footwork and an appeal to good old-fashioned common sense. Meals, tea and other traditions (this family being from South-East Asia) form part of the glue which holds them all together - What a shame society and families at large have forgotten the importance of coming together (whether in quietness or celebration) to enjoy the simple things of life - no need for high-tech, imagination-killing technology or crude worldly intrusions vainly attempting to pass themselves off as "entertainment".

I know I've rambled, but yet again, you've struck a chord within me.


Mrs. E.

wendybirde said...

This all is reminding me of the Japanese tea traditions. They are connected with Buddism on the surface but I feel they are really more universal underneath. From this blog,, I am struck by the similarity between a home that is truly a sanctuary and a good tea house, and the similar thoughts on that healing quiet that both can bring...

"The design of the garden surrounding the tea house should ensure that the guest arrives for the ceremony in a contemplative frame of mind..Stepping through a torii gate will remind the visitor that a sacred space is being entered, and connections with the outside world can be released...

The path itself, or roji, will be a narrow, winding path through the garden...This refining of concentration may be heightened by irregular spacing of the stones, rendering inattentive and automatic walking impossible! By slowing the pace down, the surroundings will be more easily appreciated...

The tea house itself, by its architecture and design, should remind the guest of a rustic cottage, simple and unpretentious. The garden would be enclosed by a bamboo fence, which will emphasise the division between the outside world and the inner space of tranquillity and serenity."

Maybe one of the reasons these "high teas" can be such a healing thing for family members is that through that circle of quiet it reminds them what HOME really is, that it is a true sanctuary, which we must slow down and enter properly to see. I love how you said it best though, "I doubt they could find such a place in society anywhere, that would be as good, and I mean that."

Lydia said...

Dear Miss Wellspring Tea,

Your site is full of wonderful information. Thank you for coming and posting.

Most Americans are told quite frequently at tea parties, what the original meaning of High Tea is, mainly because they insist that these kinds of elaborate afternoon displays are High Teas, but it is useless to try and change them.

For one thing, both sites I posted, one from Canada, and the other Australian, title their afternoon Teas "High Teas" as well. Look into the Hong Kong High Teas and you will find the same thing. Type in High Tea on your Google images, and you will see the same thing all over the world.

As one reader said, it just might mean a little difference between the English and the Americans, like the difference between calling a cookie a biscuit or a cookie.

There might also be a historical difference that we may have to be content to leave in history.

The ressurrection of tea occurred after nearly 75 years, in this country, and there was no one alive who remembered exactly how the original High Tea was done, just as when Queen Victoria died there was no one alive who knew how a formal Coronation was done. There had not been one for approximately 75 years.

In America, the tea party was revived because of a longing to restore some sanity to society after such great upheavals and changes and pressures invaded our lives.

We were tired of the freeways and the schools and the super shopping and the noise and the "progress." We were made to see that this was not progress at all, if the soul was squelched and no one could think.

The High Tea (afternoon tea) appealed to us because it was fancy during a time when everyone had gotten so casual and dull, and because it was different than going around with a can of pop in the hand, or driving up to a fast food place to order a paper cup with a was ceremonial and we had not had that in our lives.

Friendships were neglected in this mad strife. Teas provided a time to create true family bonding and friendships.

Since food was often eaten cafeteria style in schools or at work. High tea (or afternoon tea as it was supposed to be) was a reprieve from all this. I hope the next generation keeps it going.

I don't have a 'final" word on it, but I have not seen Americans, Canadians, Australians, the Dutch, or any other Europeans changing. Check out your Holland tea websites and you will see they use the fancy afternoon tea and call it High Tea, also. So I don't know what this world is coming to!

Isabella in the 21st Century said...

I think the American idea of High Tea is absolutely lovely. A peaceful family get together yet something a little more posh and special than an every day tea. It's so nice to establish new traditions and these things are often the webbing that keep a family together and strong.

Get out your cake stands and your tea pots girls! Enjoy your tea and enjoy your families!

Anonymous said...

Miss Leah Claire,
your post has given me a charge of hope and drive so thank you. It is encouraging to hear from those who have seriously dealt with real rebellion issues and come out on the other side victorious.

I will be doing this as a new ritual as the end of the school day! Thanks for the idea.

Anonymous said...

She of the Wellspring Tea...

I know how aggravating it is when someone keeps making what I think is an error repeatedly, despite repeated correction.

But I've also found that harping on it on my part doesn't help.

We're all just as glad to have you join us, despite the fact that you're wrong (*cheeky grin*). I plan to look at your site shortly. But may I simply suggest, sweetly, from the bottom of a heart that hates to see people fight...

We just do things differently in America. Please let it slide! Please? (*eyelashes flapping*)

Mrs. Bartlett

Lydia said...

Miss Wellspring, I do admit that your way is the right way, as it can be historically and socially proven. Eventually it may win out, through persistence on the part of authentic High Tea Advocates. It will take awhile for Americans to accept it. They like the high sounding name in "high tea" because it goes with the fancy little bites that are so appealing to the eye. They know what hot meals are at the end of the day and it isn't as special to them as the tea party things. That is why they call it High Tea and are drawn to it. But as I say, the right way may win in the end, but not after the altered "High Tea" in America and Canada and Australia has run its course.

Mrs. Melody said...

Thank you Lady Lydia. Once again you have inspired me. I am always blessed when I come here and read, or come to LAF and read there. Thank you for your time and ministry.

Miss Leah Claire,
I have hope that my children won't leave me forever after the turbulent teen years. Thank you for sharing.


Lydia said...

I want everyone to know that it is not what I say that matters. Everyone has to look to a higher standard for their way in life, or deal with things that work well for them in their own homes, according to their own routines and their income, etc. The basic principle is to love your family and care what kind of place they live in. Even if you can't afford something great, you can make a humble place beautiful and you can make a hungry family meals that will give them good memories. When we close our eyes and try to remember something good from childhood, it probably isn't the new car or the swanky house or the up to date clothes, but the special things our parents said to us and the little rituals like tea parties; values of home and family.
My point about tea parties was that the family needs to have something that they know will always be the same, as they grow older.

Isabella in the 21st Century said...

Right, I'm going to do something very un-English and "speak up" now over this whole "tea" controversy.
I'm doing this as I'm rather cross. Not cross over the lexicographical meaning of the phrase "High Tea", it does not concern me one bit, *but* what does concern me is that many commenters belvieve Miss Wellspring to be English. My absolute insinct says she is not.

I don't believe she is English for many reasons, but primarily for this comment:

"For the rest of us, if we take tea in England and call the elegant event high tea, they know we are tourists."

Note the pronoun "they" meaning "the English". But that's not really what makes me think she's not English. The sad fact is the tradition of an English "High Tea" is all but dead...gone! It's been gone for generations. British life has change such a lot in the past 50 years that High Tea is no longer a useful meal (our men don't come home for lunch, our women work too). For most British people now the phrases "Afternoon Tea" and "High Tea" are pretty much interchangable. Please let me stress THE AVERAGE ENGLISH PERSON DOES NOT KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIGH TEA AND AFTERNOON TEA.

Now the reason why the confusion over Miss Wellspring nationality is upsetting me is that it make the English appear to be rude and terrible snobs. We are not . Our traditions are changing but our manners are still pretty much the same. We would never think an American person ignorant if they asked for High Tea, we would be grateful that the tourists came into our tea shops and helped our economy!

Lady Lydia, if you think this comment too controversial you don't have to publish it. I'm just a bit concerned that people are getting the wrong idea of the anture of the English character.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Once again, you have a post that inspires me. Thank you.

Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lidia!
AT first I want to thank you for your beautiful and very wise writings. Those are such an inspiration for me. Thank you very much !!! Can I also get an information about your blog for parents ? I will be more than grateful . Thank you in advance. Warm greetings from Poland and God bless you, Iwona
my email:

Anonymous said...

I am also interested in your blog re: children. I would rather not post my e-mail address on site if there is another alternative. I have no website or blog.

I will also tell you how much I appreciate your role as an older woman encouraging younger women to love their husbands, love their children, be workers at home, etc. I have 3 daughters & with my oldest (19) we have embarked on an intense Titus 2 season. It has made me so sad to see so many Christian young ladies investing so heavily in preparing for a career and so little in learning to build a homelife. My daughter is taking college classes but she has chosen to do this part time, so that we can work on the things she needs to be "educated" for building her home. I gave her your blog & the Ladies Against Feminism site as one of our resources to encourage her. She has enjoyed it very much, & was maybe rather suprised to see so man others than just her mother & sisters sharing her heart.
Mom of 7+1 in Mississippi