The Gift of Slow

The Gift of Slow - Adventures of a Subversive Reader

When you’re living a distracted life, every minute must be accounted for. You feel like you must be checking something off the list, staring at a screen, or rushing off to the next destination. And no matter how many ways you divide your time and attention, no matter how many duties you try and multi-task, there’s never enough time in a day to ever catch up.
The Day I Stopped Saying Hurry Up by Rachel Macy Stafford

This beautiful post, about watchers and noticers and those children who cannot be hurried, has been shared over and over again on my Facebook feed. It’s resonated with many parents – and I have to admit that I am one of them.

For too long I’ve subscribed to the cult of ‘too busy’. I’ve planned my life with too much in it, never happier unless I was juggling 10 things at once. I equated ‘being busy’ with being successful. When I had Squirm, I was thrown – how could I be ‘succeeding’ if I wasn’t ‘getting anything done’. How could I justify the days when my greatest success was having a shower and washing the dishes?

Then, recently, I noticed a change through my Facebook feed. People were talking about the article I mentioned above. They were talking about the small, good things in their lives. One of my favourite pages, Brisbane Kids, started to have moments of Slow and Grateful Parenting. Janet Lansbury made me think about observing instead of rushing in.

I was becoming more conscious about my parenting, about how I valued my day, about how I valued Squirm’s choices, but I didn’t really get it until I watched Squirm take on the door sill. At the time, Squirm was a relatively new walker. He was slowly becoming more confident, but there were always more challenges to take on. One of those challenged was walking over surfaces which included a change of height – where one surface was higher or lower than the other. Our back door sill is a shocker for this – with about three or four different heights to deal with – easy for an adult to just step over, much more difficult for tentative little feet.

Usually I would just pick Squirm up and carry him over the step, but on this day something made me stop and wait. Squirm would hover his foot over the step, working out how high he would have to step and how much he would have to put into the step. He’d make a start, then stop and reevaluate. He tried again and again, and I managed to hold back and let him go, despite the urge to just pick him up or help him over. Finally, after carefully mapping the door sill with his feet, he was able to get over it all on his own – with the biggest smile on his face.

Since then, he’s taken on a number of other door sills – the ones at his grandparents place are a real challenge. Sometimes he falls, but when he achieves it, all on his own, there’s a sense of pride in him which makes me so happy that I stood back and waited – that I embraced the gift of slow.

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