I came across Carl Honoré’s TED speech a couple of days ago, I love TED and try and watch a speech as often as I can, they’re a great way to get the cogs in my brain moving, as well as much needed practice on single-tasking for a short period to concentrate on what is being said.
According to Carl and the movement, slow is good, fast is bad. Society tries to speed everything up, speed-walking, speed-dating, speed-smelling the roses etc.
Carl’s revelation came through reading his son’s bedtime stories. This is a moment in the day I’ve learnt to particularly appreciate, and like me Carl realized that he couldn’t speed up his son’s appreciation of the moment and that he had better just slow down and go with the flow. I’ve always found bedtime a moment of confidences and important questions and as we grownups are at least as tired as the kids it’s important to just take our time.
Another thing that got my attention was Carl’s mention of children’s lives. Some Scottish schools have experimented with banning homework for the under thirteens. They found exam results increased as a result. As a teacher I do give homework, mainly to get the written practice done so pupils can do more oral work in class-time, as a parent I’m against it, kids learn much more living life instead.
A letter sent out to undergraduates by the Dean Lewis in 2005 entitled “Slow Down! - how to get more out of Harvard by doing less” reiterates this sentiment.
It seems to me that in a world where social and emotional intelligence is overtaking the traditional I.Q. it is giving children the time to discover, be curious and creative that will make the difference; and by creative I do not mean sitting next to them guiding them through the latest shop bought craft activity set.
All of this speaks to me, especially in this holiday period where my life has slowed to snail’s pace, if I manage to walk the dogs AND get lunch then the day has been a success. I no longer have time for the household chores I did when working.
This is especially important for children. We don’t realize how busy their lives are, and even in the holidays there is pressure from the yummy squad to sign them up for as many holiday clubs and camps as possible.
Something my son said the other day though made me notice that he’s taken on board the Slow mentality, as I bellowed gently up the stairs to get a move on before we were late from school, I asked what he was doing, to which he replied “I’m just pissing about, I’ll be down in five minutes".
This brought home to me two things, firstly pissing about is important, secondly it reminded me to swear in French more so people think the children are picking up this appalling vocabulary from their father.
We’re off on our family holidays and Carl has persuaded me to do something I was thinking about the other day, I’ll be leaving the computer at home, and facing another of my addictions that I’ll tell you about another day.
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