Friday, May 2, 2014

slow down people! (finally, friday)

I have spent the past week working in the library at Cowgirl's school, surrounded by third, fourth and fifth graders  - lord have mercy on my soul, it was Scholastic Book Fair

Yesterday, I accompanied Cowgirl's class on a field trip to visit Arbor Day Farm and learn about trees, bees and local ecology.  It was ridiculously cold (but thankfully, not raining; still I had to dig out my winter coat, hat and scarf) and we spent most of the  day outdoors. The majority of the week has felt like this:

Whenever I could, I turned away from the melee to seek out this:

If I had a message machine embedded in me, you could pull the cord and this is what you would hear:

Slow down people!
Look again ... no, really LOOK!
Pay attention, someone  is trying to tell you something!

As kids went tearing through the woods, they missed the woodpecker, the cardinal, the deer tracks with tufts of hair indicating a resting spot. Whenever one slowed long enough for me to point these things out, the response was always "cool!"  The desire is there, it's just hidden a barrage of noise, flashing lights, and blurred actions.

As I watched a group of third graders pounding the buttons on the interactive kiosk (hello?!  It's not a Nintendo ... ), I found myself remembering Cowgirl as a toddler banging on the keys of a quickly broken and no-longer-musical toy.  Same impulse control ... or rather, lack of. 

This is what we - and I include myself here - are doing: we are fostering a generation of impatient, inattentive, distracted, insensitive, unimaginative and disconnected children. They are not to blame; they are the product of our distraction, our disconnect from what is valuable: time, space, and permission to just be.  Just be, as we are, as this moment presents itself, in tune with our surroundings, alert, attentive, receptive and open. 

As we say in Kripalu yoga: Breathe. Relax. Feel. Watch. Allow. 

It's not going to be easy, stemming this tide of cultural ADD. It may require some sort of swaddling.  My approach is  earlier bedtime: time together to cuddle, read, and just unwind. 

Just being  ... slow, quiet, relaxed, fully present.  

Or deeply asleep ... deeply dreaming.

Rest my friends, we all need to slow the heck down! 


  1. mirroring the weather in your part of the world perhaps... glad you are safe <3

  2. Lis, one on one with kids is easier to be quiet and see the forest around us. Crowds of kids feed off one another's energy and become a roaring, stampeding herd of buffalo! Still cold here too and very wet!

    1. Yes, you are right on that Rosemary! Except most of the week I worked in the library one-on-one and only marginally better than the roaring herd! What I am noticing (and this is also true of the college students I was around for 12 years) is an increasing inability to focus upon one thing for any length of time - if it doesn't "flash" or beep within a couple of seconds, they are gone! Although the exuberant display of energy when outdoors makes me think if kids - heck, ALL of us - could get out more often, then the shift to inwardly focused/present might naturally arise? Talking with the other teachers and the guides, it is getting harder and harder to keep them present ... and with the influx of new devices for education (even though studies show our brains prefer paper ... better comprehension and retention) it seems like the potential for disconnect will be even greater ... I just marvel at the adaptions that will be necessary to harness this beast for progression given the potential for chaos!

  3. I concur, kids these days are impatient, disconnected all due to the parents being impatient and disconnected. It's a throw away society. I always tried to get kids to really look and listen during field trips, but there was always an anxious energy. And as our technology continues to develop it seems to only get worse. Something has to give. I can only hope that I will model appreciating the present moment when I have a child. Thought-provoking post, thank you lovely! xo

  4. Slow down people!
    Look again ... no, really LOOK!
    Pay attention, someone is trying to tell you something!

    I am one of THOSE that needs to heed THIS...

    Enjoyed reading remind me...xx