As parents, we’re very busy with a multitude of tasks each day. We want to do more for the family, the kids, the school, our community, and so on. Often, we realize that even if our family is involved in a variety of activities we do not necessarily increase the quality of our lifestyles or our relationships. We feel like we don’t spend enough family time, rush throughout breakfast and supper, skip bedtime (sometimes), and forget to have deep conversations with our children about going on at school.
In our family, my husband and I we try our best to be both physically and mentally available when we spend time with our two young preschoolers. Individually, we spend at least 20 minutes with each of our children every day. 20 minutes with each child can be challenging, especially if both parents are working. However, spending this time with our children has proven to be extremely beneficial in regards to our children’s behaviour and our relationship with them. Carl Honoré, the author of In Praise of Slowness, analyzes the “speed-obsessed society” in which we’re living and provides us with useful tools and ideas on how we can slow down and deal with time in a different way. In his 2009 Ted Talk entitled In Praise of Slowness, he asks two important questions: “how did we get so fast?” and “is it possible, or even desirable, to slow down?”
According to Carl, the center of the problem is our conception of time. In many cultures, time is circular, that is, it refreshes itself. In other words, you don’t have to use all the time you have to create, plan, or do things. Time goes back and forth and is available to us when we need it. In western culture, time is linear and many people believe that “you use it or you lose it.”
If we as parents want to slow down, we must change our perception of time. We must understand that doing less means doing more because we understand and believe that our mind, body, and soul need breaks, disconnections and refreshments. Give an example of what it might mean for this particular group of people to slow down.
That being said, the answer to Carl’s second question, “is it possible, or even desirable, to slow down?” is YES.
Carl considers some of the many world movements that value and promote slowness, as slow food, slow city, and alternative medicine. Time-saving concepts such as the one minute bed time story or speed yoga have no place in a culture of slowness. We must resist against these and other similar “time-savers” for our own well-being and that of our loved ones.
Carl affirms that slowing down has a visible effect on every aspect of our life including our health, diet, work, relationships, environment, community, and more.
Want to know more about the benefits of a slower culture? View Carl’s talk on the TED TALKS website.
Bchira Dhouib, B.Ed.
Director of Education