The Hilliard Institute

The Hilliard Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation offering sensory education programing, experiential learning, and academic research and publishing while also supporting philanthropic initiatives through fundraising and educational training and activities—all under the umbrella of the concept of Educational Wellness

The Hilliard Institute. 4440 Savage Pointe Drive. Franklin, TN 37064

Email Dr. K. Mark Hilliard at

or Professor Jessa R. Sexton at

Time for Tea

art from Hilliard Press book   Join Me for Afternoon Tea

art from Hilliard Press book  Join Me for Afternoon Tea

By Professor Jessa R. Sexton


You’ve heard the age-old adage to stop and smell the roses, but since plants cower when I come near (because they’ve heard I’d unwittingly let my own mother wither if she were leafy and green), I chose a different enlightenment pause. 

Whatever happened to teatime?

Tea and tête-à-tête  

In my travel opportunities, I’ve been blessed with two trips to England, and both times I was giddy at all the chances for tea and conversation. And that’s part of it. I don’t remember ever having a cup of tea in front of my laptop; it was always  with someone with the sole purpose of enjoying the taste and time together. 

Today we are too busy with being busy. We have to do at least three things at one time to feel as though we are accomplishing anything at all. 

I am a mother of three. I often feel frantic by how little I feel I accomplish each day, and I think part of that is our society’s definition of daily accomplishment. We must always do more to be more, or so we are told. 

And yet half of the things we do are really a waste of the valuable moments where we could just be.

The time of tea and tête-à-tête is one spent in enjoyment of being: being together, being thoughtful, being warmed, being welcomed. 

I want to bring teatime back to our culture, or at least into my own culture. When people visit me, I try to offer them what Dr. K. Mark Hilliard calls “a cup and a chat.” Yes, we have housework and projects piling around us, but moments away from our to do lists will be invaluable for relaxation and clarity. 

But a cup of tea need not always be with another. Still holding to the idea of teatime as be time, I also recognize the worth of this chance for inspiration-abounding solitude. 

As a write-at-home mom, time alone is rare.  I find myself piddling too much of it away on brainlessness when I could let my mind wander over a warm brew. Something about tea and quiet seems to help me unwind. My mind doesn’t stop thinking (ever), but it does get the chance to think about whatever it wants. Every once in a while I have to steer it away from the dinner menu or whether I need to put diapers on the shopping list, but I can take another sip and reign it back in to something I want to truly contemplate.  I don’t ever solve the world’s problems in my private reflections, but I do sometimes notice something beautiful. 

Trouble yourself for tea
Tea is taste, touch, sight, smell, sound: it is a complete sensory package to be shared with a friend or group over a mash of ideas or to be enjoyed alone, freely sequestered from the world. 

Tea is not much trouble; boiling water is easy. The only trouble is taking the time for tea, but it is a trouble you simply must get into. 


Love teatime? Watch our video on how to make the perfect cup of tea from former butler to Blenheim Palace, Dr. David Woodfine.