Teen Gives Up Talking for 40 Days; Grades Improve

Silent teen

Instead of the standard relinquishment of meat or processed sugars for Lent, Missouri teenager Decklan Conway gave up talking. That’s right, wishful moms. By the time the season is over, the 13-year-old will have not talked for a roughly 40-day period. Forty whole days of no whining. No weird noises. No nitpicking with his siblings. And certainly no demands or sentences starting with “I want” showered on his parents. For a whole 40 days.

To make it even better, his grades have gotten a boost in the process. Well now! Pass me the roll of tape, please. I’d like to conduct a little experiment with Tween Washingtonian Girl. 


The idea for the oath of silence came from Decklan’s brother, Kyle, who backed out from doing it himself at the last minute because of his heavy obligations to talk for the debate team and an upcoming science fair. Kyle passed the potential sacrifice on to Decklan, who rose to the challenge. The teen dream now communicates via dry erase board. So far, he’s been through three markers. Probably more at press time. 

I can feel the solace, and this kid is like seven states and hundreds of miles away.

Seriously though, I do respect his commitment and sincerity. Give up talking? Child please. I can barely shut my trap long enough to sit through a commercial, let alone zip my flapping lips for a whole 40-day stretch. Aside from that challenge, I admire his dedication to his faith, particularly at such a young and traditionally rebellious age. Guess that’s one of the benes of living in the Bible belt.

Well, Easter is fast approaching and I’m sure young Decklan will make up for lost time once the Lent season has lifted and he’s free to chit chat all over the place once again. Let’s just hope he keeps up the academic goodies he earned in the process and maybe, just maybe inspires other kids to follow suit next year. That’ll give some parents a heck of a lot more reason to look forward to Easter time than Peeps and Cadbury eggs.

Has your kid ever taken on a challenge — to do better in school, to lose weight, to take on better habits — and stuck with it? Like really stuck with it?

Image via Katie Tegtmeyer/Flickr

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