When you encounter a rest in musical notation, you should do anything but rest.
This observation isn't really new. It's a nice quip that many people have said. Teachers themselves, pedagogy instructors, and students. All have realized that so much goes on in a rest.
I'm commenting on it, because I find myself as a teacher forgetting the advice. Or, I forget to consider this as a fundamental issue slowing down a student's learning process.
Rests have musical value, of all kinds of variety. It could be interruption or surprise, and very often it's a musical breath, an essential aspect of voice-like phrasing.
Often, rests are technical, and it's in this sense that I forget the maxim. Often times, rests mean to move. Whether or not a composer inserted the rest intentionally, we often need rests to find a new hand position. Think of a rest as a momentary pause is absolutely incorrect.
The same could be said about long note values. It is difficult for younger students to engage with these in any way other than counting out the correct number of beats. But we want to draw students into a dual-way of approaching longer notes: both counting the durational value, but also using the 'hold' as a chance to look ahead and prepare what comes next, at least mentally, if one can't do so physically.
"Modern performers seem to regard their performances as texts rather than acts, and to prepare for them with the same goal as present-day textual editors: to clear away accretions. Not that this is not a laudable and necessary step; but what is an ultimate step for an editor should be only a first step for a performer, as the very temporal relationship between the functions of editing and performing already suggests." -Richard Taruskin, Text and Act