Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fast and Slow


      On my professional path to where I am now, I spent a chunk of time as the orchestrator (aka teacher)  in a K - 2 classroom.  I had the pleasure of guiding children for their first three years of public school education.  Unless their sibling was in the class, I generally first met my new students as eyes wide open five year olds.  I got to hold them for three years, taking them from that pre-literate place to thriving chapter book readers. From September to June, we had wonderful days together.  There was a daily rhythm in our world complete with songs, art, outside play, tons of books, math stuff, writers' workshop, hands on science exploration and lots of (what I thought of as) the social curriculum.  That was simply time devoted to learning who we each were and how to get along with each other.  I don't know what it is about little kids but their observations, their reality, their freshness completely capture me.  I enjoyed planning our days together and I loved watching their faces and their reactions to what unfolded in our world.

    Parents were an integral part of that world.  I needed them in order to make everything happen that I wanted to have happen.  I needed parents who would sit on the rug and explore tangrams with children or guide a lesson about ladybugs or take a small group outside and play with jump ropes while I sat at the reading table helping children learn to make sense out of letters and words.  I loved the additional adults in the room too just for the shared adult perspective and humor,  Most parents trusted me to guide their children but sometimes there was some anxiety about a child's academic progress in the class.  I completely got that.  After all, these parents were turning over their most precious jewels to me for six hours a day.  Parents wanted to know that their child's time was well used.

    One thing I did know clearly was that children cannot be rushed.  They will come to places in their own time.  That didn't mean that I wasn't alert to possible obstacles that the school could assist with (a referral for special ed services, for example) but my professional eye often could sense when a child simply needed a slower time frame.  She was going to get there (reading chapter books, for example) but she was taking the scenic route.  Somewhere I came across this phrase and it fit perfectly:



                                             
   Recently I had cause to return to this notion of taking slow to grow.  Oddly, what occurred to me is that it isn't just kids who need slow in order to grow.  We adults often need the same thing to reach new places in our lives.  The current culture is jammed with activity and expectations.  Days go by fast.  How many balls can we juggle?  How many things can we check off our to do lists?  How fast can we go?  The flip side is what happens when we slow it way down.  What can we see and what can we hear when we meander instead of sprint?  It's no earth shatteringly new idea.  But it is one worth considering.  I, for one, plan to experiment with more slow and less fast.

    How about you?  Where do you find slow in your life?  Are you drawn to fast or to slow?  Would you like more of one or the other?

21 comments:

  1. Great. I don't know what a tangram is.
    Maybe that's why I had to repeat Kindergarten.

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    1. Maybe they were just waiting for you to catch up with your sense of humor! Happy Birthday!

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    2. Oh, and tangrams are these 7 piece Chinese puzzles that little kids play with - they learn a lot about shapes and solve various problems with them - geometric problems, not life problems. :)

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    3. Thanks for that. I am so gonna use that in Words With Friends.

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  2. Yes we do need slow to grow as adults as well...or at least I sure do!! The world has gotten in one big huge hurry, as a character in a movie I saw said once.

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    1. Amen to that! One big huge hurry! Stop the world! I want to get off.

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  3. Very thought-provoking. I am definitely drawn to slow, but the fast is unavoidable and seems to have consumed me.

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    1. Bingo! Fast is quickly eating me up.

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  4. So true. I keep thinking I need to hurry up, but I think I really need to slow it down.

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    1. I want to do less and enjoy it more. Enjoy everything more.

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  5. I definitely do not want time to speed up. It’s going by too fast for me. We are pretty slow paced, that’s what retirement does, and I like that. But I would like us to do more with our time. It doesn’t matter to me if it is fast or slow. But sometimes I feel like we are wasting it, time that is.

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    1. No, I don't want time to speed up either. TIme goes too fast as it is. I just want to slow down - not try to pack so much into every day. I think retirement must be like these 60 days of summer break (now down to 27, btw) - very slow paced. AHHHHHH....
      I was thinking I was wasting my summer break b/c I wasn't DOING anything - but then I realized I was doing exactly what I wanted to do - read, nap, go out to the coast, nap, read, take neighborhood walks, read, nap.....

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  6. I hate fast. I really do. My daughter is all "go Go GO!" and it wears me out. At least I have one son that likes to just cuddle sometimes.

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    1. I know that fast thing. In my current position, it feels as if I am always running - literally and figuratively. I plan to do less running and more strolling on campus this year :)

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  7. I like fast and slow. I do know that I get a lot more done when I have a lot to do and when I have all the time in the world to do something, that's how long I will take

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    1. I CAN get a lot done when I have to get stuff done. I think when it spills into leisure time, though, I owe it to myself to not do a bunch of stuff. Cut that to do list in half!

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  8. I hate the days I spend by myself, so they drag. Otherwise, time speeds out of control, even though I want it to slow down. I wish it were the opposite.

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    1. Days don't drag in my world - alone or with people, there is no dragging. Not right now, not recently. Perhaps someday and I won't like that. I have the place to myself today and am looking forward to meandering through a collection of chores and pleasures. At MY pace, not necessarily a fast pace.....

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  9. I am definitely more tortoise than hare. I will remember that phrase when I am feeling impatient with my lack of progress.

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  10. Well, I am retired now so I start slow then I taper off.

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  11. This actually goes to the heart of a huge inner struggle I have been having for most of my adult years. It's the battle between the voice that says, "Why aren't you further along in your life?" and the one that says, "Take it easy on yourself--everything worthwhile takes time." Thanks for giving the kinder, gentler, slower side a boost. :)

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