Does this sound familiar? Get your brand new baby ready for college! Prepare your child’s resume to look spectacular. Get them involved in extracurricular activities early! Get them into classes to learn how to play sports and dance, so they can be the best when it counts. These are all opportunities that will set them apart and get them into the best universities. If your child is not involved in at least three extracurricular activities or unable to read before they get into kindergarten, they might already be failing. And while you’re doing all that, be sure that you are committing enough time to your work and planning for the future. Are you giving your all to your team? Are you staying on top of your household responsibilities as you shuttle children around and attend work meetings? If not, you may not be doing enough.
Well, that’s extreme! But this seems to be the mindset of the parenting culture. Parents feel pressured to constantly race. Be the best. Give your child the best opportunities now. This easily turns into eating in the car, having no real check in time with your children, and racing to some unknown finish line.
Recently, there has been the idea of “The Speed of Slow.” Carl Honoré, the author of “The Power of Slow: Finding Balance and Fulfillment Beyond the Cult of Speed” said that “”Slow” in this context does not mean everything at a snail’s pace. It means doing everything at the right pace. That implies quality over quantity; real and meaningful human connections; being present in the moment.”
Children need time to play. They need that time to connect with you as their parent, instead of being continuously whisked around from one event to another. They do not need stuff; they need you. For example, some of my fondest memories of childhood are from when my siblings and I all cuddled on the couch with my dad and he read us a novel. He would read us a chapter at night and stop at the most engaging parts. I enjoyed those simple moments so much more than my crazy high school years later when I was trying to keep up with the pressure of being involved in everything. How about for you? Do your favorite memories from your childhood involved rushing around from activity to activity or the time you spent as a family?
There have also been recent movements and articles that show the benefits of living less busy. Children who are less busy tend to:
-Be more creative
-Value simple things
-Get bored and have time to figure out what they are really interested in
-Less likely to burn out
The speed of slow can be a hard thing to adjust to at first. You have to be willing to say no a lot. This can be especially hard when the rest of your friends may be telling you to speed up and do more. However, you may soon find that not only do your kids enjoy the new pace, but that you do too.