i first came across the philosophy of slow parenting from a cup of jo. it's been a while since i visited the original article, but what i got from it has stuck with me ever since. every thing we do as parents and as people living in this fast-paced society, is as breakneck speed. everyone and everything is go go go, more more more, faster faster faster! it's enough to make my twenty-six year old head spin. so i can't even begin to imagine how my four, two and half year olds feel when faced with the speed of the outside world.
each year, i pick one word i try to embody. for the past three years it's been 'patience'. i try and come up with something different, but patience is such an important part of my life as a mother that i just can't part with the sentiment. and i need that constant reminder to cultivate more of it within my live and my children's. patience when they're determined to get themselves dressed at a snails pace or blow one more bubble in the bath water before cuddling up in their towels. patience to let them climb in to the car on their own and painstakingly slowly climb back out. really what slow parenting means is let the kids do things at their pace. how they want to and when they need to.
obviously our household is not run by a 4 year old dictator and his 2 year old sidekick (although some days it may seem that way), but we make a conscious effort to step back and ask ourselves "do we really need to speed up?" "do i really need to say 'no' now?" "what is the real harm of letting them do XYZ?" and sometimes, yes, the answer will be 'no' or the time may be fleeting and we need to hurry. but more often than not, i can wait. my agenda and my impatience is nothing compared to the self-reliance, self-assurance and pride my little ones feel when they get to do something on their own time.
in a world full of faster faster faster, isn't it our jobs as parents to allow our children some sense of slowness? even if it's just within the walls of our own home? it's so calming and restful to, even for an hour, just watch them play. without interjecting, without leading, without 'hurry up's, or 'let's go's. just to sit and watch their little brains and bodies figure things out on their own. sure, deadlines and appointments are important values to instill ... but not now. now is the time for doddling down the sidewalk and jumping over every crack. for falling four times trying to climb in to the car before finally making it up. now is the time for slowness and stillness and letting our little ones just be. without the time constraints we as adults are so accustomed to.
try it for a day and see the wonder in their eyes as they work on something at their own pace. you won't be disappointed.