Thursday, June 25, 2015

"slow parenting" in troubled times

I recently read this article from the Boston Globe heralding the merits of "slow parenting" and I encourage you to take a look at it.  Have you heard the term bandied about recently?

 I keep circling back to this notion and two thoughts strike me ... Why is it that we always need to apply a modern term to things that seem so obvious? Or has our society really come so far away from unscheduled family time that "slow parenting" seems like a unique and original idea? The basic principles of slow parenting build on ideas of quality, unscheduled, family time with a focus on removing haste from the daily life of your child's existence. In the process of writing this blog, I come in contact more and more with families having conversations about stepping back and looking to scale down their schedules. 

With regard to recent events in Charleston, SC and across the south, I for one have been grateful to have close family time with my children to have long conversations and answer the many varied questions they have. It's amazing to me to reflect on the car ride talks, lounging in the pool talks, and discussions that have bubbled up right in the middle of a peach picking excursion. The depth of understanding my eleven year old boys have displayed is staggering. Slowing down gives us a chance to really know our children and keep a check on what's on their minds and in their hearts, especially during these troubling times in our nation. 

In this day and age of chaotic schedules, forging ahead with a plan to adopt a slower pace means taking a stand; swimming upstream if you will. Take that stand. You can never get back these precious slow years of bonding and you may just find, as I have, that you are not alone in craving these sweet, fleeting moments with your family.

Some tips linked here for talking with children about tragedies. 

And these thoughts on an old fashioned, slow summer from last year...

FRIDAY, MAY 23, 2014

saving summer vs selling summer

Remember the old stand by in school when you were tasked with writing about what you did over the summer? I grew up in a nest of ideal, old-fashioned summers filled with swimming in a lake, water skiing, goofing around in a two- kid sailboat, lying in the grass on the hill at the back of our house reading til the fireflies came out, and watching summer storms while eating a Popsicle from the comfort of a lawn chair on the front porch. My mom was the the Kool aid mom and we owned the spare lot with the perpetual baseball game. It was an idealistic time of long, unscheduled days of humid summer... but the years were short.
 My brothers and I never went to morning classes of any kind, much less a camp. My Mum was the camp, providing snacks and a watchful eye from her crows nest at the kitchen window. Back in the days before seat belts and bike helmets, when running the streets of our neighborhoods freely was still PC, we kids had to be hunted down and corralled to go on day trips and excursions which always included collecting rocks for my Mum's rock garden. We tagged alongside my prim and proper British Mum as she stood her ground and bartered with the truck drivers at the local truck stop over the purchase of giant inner tubes as a chief form of entertainment for all the neighborhood kids swimming in the lake.  She was full of suggestions to fill voids of time - there was a grove of low lying bushes to build forts in and a vacant weekend house overgrown with lilac bushes that my little brother and I used for making our special lilac "perfume" concoctions. That was as close as we got to an organized science camp. The biggest expense my parents faced in terms of summer fun were the purchases of a few hoola hoops, those giant inner tubes, and enough cookies to feed a small army on a daily basis. A $200 camp for one week? Never.

 I can't recall ever being bored. The summer always drew to a close with the feeling of regret that there had not been enough time to do nothing. I've always felt that these summers were what taught me to be content with being alone with my thoughts, resourceful about conjuring up simple ways to be creative, and instilled a general sense of calm that has stayed with me as an adult. Looking back I realize that stressed, rushed, andover scheduled are never words I'd use to describe my childhood. I never want to associate those words with my children's life either.

Summer is big business nowadays but we still plan to hold on to our Popsicles, slip-n-slide, water balloons, and nerf guns as long as we possibly can because, after all, the number of summers left is fading faster than fireflies in a jar.

*this post dedicated to CAC, my summer partner in crime and master firefly catcher

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