Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Slow Movement

A friend of mine sent me a link to the following talk:  Carl Honore praises slowness. My friend thought that there was some overlap between the Slow Movement and the Footprints Project.

Let me start by writing that if you live your life quickly don't bother to watch the talk. It is long and you may be unable to slow yourself down for the fifteen or twenty minutes it takes to watch it. Personally I found it riveting. That may be because I've been aware of and interested in the Slow Movement for some time. In fact, I was googling for information on it long before Footprints was conceived.

Husband is working from home today and joined me to watch the talk over a cuppa (Fairtrade organic, of course!). He immediately pointed out that one cannot live too quickly on Footprints. He believes we have to slow down and think about everything we do and its consequences so, although not part of the Slow Movement, we are living a Slow life by default.

What we are doing is different from the Slow Movement more in objective than in execution. I think the Slow Movement is wonderful and would have no hesitation in being a part of it. I would, however, continue to do what we're doing now for the reasons we started them.

Husband and I were eating Slow Food before there was ever a movement. We love home cooked meals made from fresh local ingredients and always have. As soon as we moved in together we began to enjoy a 'sit down at the table with no distractions evening meal'. Our lives are chaotic having two teenagers but whoever is at home for the evening meal sits down at the table for a cooked meal. Sometimes the combination is a little quirky; it's not unusual to have Husband, Teenage Son, The Boyfriend and me while Teenage Daughter is at work. One evening I had Teenage Daughter, The Boyfriend and the Twin Nephews with me. These days eating any other way would go against the philosophy of Footprints. Fast food for us consists of fresh baguettes filled at home with fresh produce. We do that when we have to be somewhere in the early evening and don't have time to sit down and enjoy a meal together.

It wasn't just food Carl Honore talked about, of course. Husband and I both agreed that we had been doing other things he talked about. I remember fondly the years when the children had bedtime stories. We began doing that almost immediately after each was born and found it rewarding for them and us. Some nights I'd read from books, some nights I'd make up stories and some nights we'd just lie in bed and talk as they got older. After that, I'd sing some lullabies. They're both musos now and have come to realise that I can't sing but I could fool them back then.

On weekends mornings they began to clamber into bed with us as soon as they were out of cots. They both remember with great pleasure the game 'Attack the Hand' in which they'd try to tickle Husband. Even now Teenage Daughter still occasionally climbs in for a cuddle and Teenage Boy jumps on Husband trying to attack him. After that we often have a big breakfast of eggs or pancakes.

Being on Footprints requires taking time to solve problems, look up information and plan and prepare things. One needs to be creative. There is a certain excitement in having a problem and a solution finding you when you're doing something else. That happens a lot to me but I'm not sure it could happen if I lived my life too quickly and tried to fit too much into it. When I'm weeding or cleaning or doing other things I would classify as 'mindless' I like to leave my mind open for day dreaming rather than plugging into a portable digital device. I don't know what the Slow Movement would think of that but I find it helps with creativity.

Speaking of which, I'm off to meditate for awhile before the kids get home. It's a busy night. Grrr.


1 comment:

  1. Oh Rach, I am SO with you on this one. I pull rank about sitting at the table by just quietly setting the table while I'm cooking dinner - it's my personal daily revolution to combat teenage boy's preference for lounging on the couch in front of the tv for dinner (or any other time really) and partner's tendency to ask him where he'd like to eat...ARGH. I grew up eating meals at the table. My children did too. It's where the vitally important family conversations took place. It's where my kids learned to listen to other people talking instead of seeing themselves as the centre of attention.

    Now I'm becoming the subversive in a household where that wasn't the case. Next stage is to achieve teenage boy not bringing his phone to dinner....!

    I feel a Dragon Mother blog post coming on...you've made me think!