If you've been following my recent interests, you may have noticed a theme emerging. This summer I'm attempting to slow down, simplify, and prioritize. I've made attempts to slow down our schedule, minimize the clutter in our home, and intentionally choose to devote my time and energy to things I love rather than the things I think I'm supposed to love. In some ways this has been a relief, and in other ways it has been a painstaking process of cutting out activities that seem good but actually just take away energy from other pursuits. As Rob Bell has so aptly stated, "The good is the enemy of the best."
What I'm Reading
I found the chapter entitled “Children: Raising an Unhurried Child” particularly interesting. It points to the educational philosophies of Finland (focus on the quality of learning rather than the quantity) and how they continue to dominate the rest of the world in educational outcomes. It also addresses some of the ways that childhood is rushed by adults.
The lovely thing about children is that they are rarely in a hurry. When a five year old finds a fascinating bug on the sidewalk, he can devote a considerable amount of time to studying it. When a parent most wishes to rush out the door, the three year old insists on dressing herself completely independently for the first time. Children are not beholden to the clock; in this, as in so many ways, children are some of our greatest teachers.
This is a quick, captivating read. Normally my interest in non-fictions books wanes early and often, but the different topics in each chapter held my interest throughout.
“In the war against the cult of speed, the front line is inside our heads” (Page 119).
“Recent generations have been reared to believe it is their right and duty to have it all: family, career, house, rewarding social life. But ‘having it all’ has turned out to be a poisoned chalice” (Page 193).
“Stuffing information into children as fast as possible is as nourishing as wolfing down a big Mac” (Page 255).
“Rescuing the next generation from the cult of speed means reinventing our whole philosophy of childhood…More freedom and fluidity in education, more emphasis on learning as a pleasure, more room for unstructured play, less obsession with making every second count, less pressure to mimic adult mores” (Page 271).
“The great benefit of slowing down is reclaiming the time and tranquility to make meaningful connections – with people, with culture, with work, with nature, with our own bodies and minds” (Page 277).
I can certainly attest to its impact in my life. Just last night my son asked to go on a family bike ride after dinner. I had dishes to do and it was close to bedtime, but my husband and I agreed anyway. We had a lovely ride, and bedtime was only slightly pushed back. After we got our son down for the night, my husband and I shared the insight we’d both felt on the ride, that these are the moments we’ll cherish as our own son grows. I’m grateful that slowing down has helped me remember what makes for a fulfilling life.