Sunday, April 12, 2009

slow down, folks!

I do my best to listen to whatever it is The Universe is trying to tell me — preferably before it reaches the "brick bat" stage (ouch).

So when I received the link to this post from the New York Times parenting blog, Motherlode, not once, not twice, but three times last week from three different sources, I figured I had better a) read it, b) pass it on, and c) try to live it a little more. In brief, it's an e-Q&A with author Carl Honoré, father of the Slow movement, specifically about something called "Slow parenting."

I've been tuned in — on and off, actually, since slow is not my natural speed — to the Slow Parenting thang for some time, thanks to body+soul and other like-minded publications, as well as hometown resource Honoré — author of The Power of Slow, In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed, and most recently, Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting — provides some gems about the basis of the Slow movement and how it applies to parenting overall and in relation to our ebbing economy.

A few of my fave excerpts from the e-interview:

"'Slow' in this context doesn't mean doing everything at a snail's pace. It means doing everything at the right speed. It implies quality over quantity, real and meaningful human connections, being present and in the moment.

"To me, Slow parenting is about bringing balance into the home. Slow parents give their children plenty of time and space to explore the world on their own terms. They keep the family schedule under control so that everyone has enough downtime to rest, reflect and just hang out together. They accept that bending over backwards to give children the best of everything may not always be the best policy.

"Slow parents understand that childrearing should not be a cross between a competitive sport and product development. It's not a project; it's a journey.

"In these belt-tightening times, and after a period of wild and reckless spending, maybe people will begin to rediscover the simple pleasures in life. For families, that means spending time together that doesn't revolve around buying stuff, following a schedule or building the perfect resume.

"This transition will be hard, because we are all so marinated in the idea that we have to push, polish and protect our kids with superhuman zeal, that we have to strain every sinew in our bodies and stretch every dollar we earn to the breaking point, to give them the best of everything and make them the best at everything. But with time, I think many parents will feel relieved that they have been liberated from the tyranny of supplying the perfect childhood."

I find the notion that we shouldn't be trying to give our children the best of everything fascinating and refreshing . . . and you??

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