This year I’ve been intentionally seeking to slow our family life down. To live at a more peaceful and relaxed pace without frantically rushing from one activity to the next or running back-to-back errands shoving kids into coats and carseats with sandwiches in my purse.
I’m a work in progress, but so far I feel we’re doing pretty well. One thing that has challenged me is a chapter in Paula Polk Lillard’s Montessori: A Modern Approach. In her chapter called Montessori and Parents, she talks about how a child’s first “enemy” is often his parents with the war of the wills. She says that a “child is in the process of becoming” and we as parents often fail to understand that (111).
When the child develops the ability to walk, the parent continues to interfere with his growth, both because he feels it is necessary for the child’s safety and because the adult does not wish to–or is not capable of–reducing his pace to that of the child (112).
Polk quotes Montessori (and this is where it hits you right between the eyes),
We know that the child starts walking with an irreesistible impetus and courage. He is bold, even rash; he is a soldier who hurls himself to victory regardless of risk. And for this reason the adult surrounds him with protective restrictions, which are so many obstacles; he is enclosed within a rail, or strapped in a perambulator, in which he will make his outings even when his legs are sturdy.
This happens because a child’s step is much shorter than that of a grownup, and he has less staying -power for long walks. And the grownup will not give up his own pace (112).
But isn’t it true? I know it is for me. I’d rather put my 2-year-old in the cart at Target than slow my pace down or anticipate his meanderings. We’re working on it. Slowing life down. Taking the time that will allow Joey to explore and learn social necessities in public (like, don’t run circles around the girls clothes and hide from your mama). I’m learning to plan less in my days and to be prepared for a 20-minute errand to take 40-minutes or even an hour.
It’s slow and steady. Changing a life-long habit of busyness isn’t easy, but the impact on my children will be worth it.