Have you noticed that there are Christmas trees set up in Costco? The fall and Halloween displays have been taken down and the left over merchandise is tucked into out-of-the way aisles. I wouldn’t be surprised if Christmas music will be playing next time we go (which will be next week. I love me some Costco samples!) I am fully expecting to go on Dec 24 to buy Valentine’s Day cards.
What is going on? How did our culture get sucked into living at super speed? It is not only shopping: its all aspects of our North American Culture. The part the gets me is how it has affected parenting. I know of parents whose children are in school all day, and activities all night. Weekends are full of activities and obligations and running around.
I don’t want that life. I can’t do much about unseasonable displays in retail locations, but I can do something about my children’s childhood. I want to do something about my children’s childhood.
I want to slow it down.
I have always wanted to homeschool. I was homeschooled for 3 years and consider them the best, most educational schooling years of my life. I mentioned earlier this week, one reason is to have an impact on my children’s mindset – I don’t want them to adopt a fixed mindset, which I believe institutionalized education fosters. (I am not saying all children in schools have a fixed mindset; I think the current set-up of education pushes children towards, and intentionally rewards a fixed mindset).
The other reason I want to homeschool is because I don’t want our family life to be sucked into the whirlwind of busy. I understand that life will be busy, that my life will be busy with 4 kids close together in age. But, there is a difference between external busyness and family busyness. External busyness is running everywhere like a chicken with its head cut off trying to accomplish all the tasks that society tells us we must in order to be living the best life ever. Family busyness is attempting to sit down for supper and having to get up 134 times because you forgot all the things kids need in order to complete a meal. Family busyness it trying to corral your kids and all their stuff at the same time so you can take a leisurely fall walk in which you spend all your time answering questions, guiding the run-away kids, preventing a tumble into the lake. (Ha. Leisurely…)
I want to be able to intentionally slow down on a regular basis. I don’t want my schedule to get cluttered with external obligations at the expense of my family’s life. The art of slow does not come easy to me: I like to be productive. But I want to change my mind set to see that spending time doing life with my kids and husband is productive in the best kind of way.
Life has been getting busy lately. We are desperately trying to get a bunch of renos finished before the twins come. I feel like it is consuming my life and I am constantly anxious because I don’t think we will get done.
But I think that life will be easier if we get them done before the number of kids we have at home grows exponentially.
But I feel like I am pushing my family to the side to achieve these goals.
So, when I noticed that a new friend of mine joined a challenge for October called The 30 Day Slow Down Childhood Challenge I joined as well. Because I am a follower.
Ok, I joined because I thought it would be good if we could take a month to relearn how to slow down before the little ladies join us in 7 short weeks (eek!!).
The challenge comes with daily things to do with your kids intended to slow down your day. Some of them are easy: read aloud to your kids. My kids wouldn’t let me go a day without multiple stories being read. Others are more difficult: make a piece of land art. My kids are constantly collecting nature to do things with, but I never follow through with the actual creating of something.
It has been difficult to find time to complete all the tasks of the challenge.
I thought it ironic that my slow down challenge has become one more thing to check off my list, so I decided to slow it down a bit more. I am not completing all the tasks (I am not sure I will ever be the mom that does yoga with her toddlers. Just doesn’t seem like fun to me.) There is a daily journal component that I really want to do but haven’t yet. Part of the reason is that I think I need to go out and buy a beautiful journal in which to transcribe my oh-so-poignant thoughts. Really, for the poignancy of my thoughts at this stage of pregnancy, the back of a receipt would do.
One the challenge items I latched on to was the “Purge 25 items.” I have made it into “Purge a multiple of 25 items.” I am collector (that is ‘hoarder’ in euphemistic terms). I have So. Much. Junk. And even as I purge I think, “this could be useful one day.” But I am attempting to be ruthless, as ruthless as I can be, because I actually like my stuff.
I have gone through purges before and regretted the stuff I got rid of. Ok, there was only 1 thing I ever regretted: my old SLR camera that used film. It was the camera I bought for my travels. I hadn’t used it since I purchased my DSLR, so I sold it. And regretted it the moment the transaction was done. Now, I live in fear that I will regret another purged item. So maybe I should keep the terra cotta pot that has one side broken because maybe I will make a fairy garden like this one day. Or maybe it just should go into the dump pile.
Some of the tasks I missed I want to do next week, like make the land art. We have so many leaves here from our maples that I think would be fun to collect with the kids. I don’t know what we will do yet, but if Atticus has his way, it will involve glue and paint. And a drill.
My journey to slow is far from complete. These reminders and challenges are good to keep me on track. I don’t want to raise workaholics, but rather adults who take pleasure in the simplicities of this life that God gave us.
And, by the way, the pot got chucked.