MORPC wants your input on regional planDecember 9, 2009
Another Great Article!December 14, 2009
(make sure you go on and post comments to these on the Dispatch site!)
This is the one you all helped with last week – Thank you!
Movement teaches parents alternative to harried lives
Friday, December 11, 2009 3:09 AM
By Rita Price
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
How to slow down
Some Web resources for developing a less-hectic lifestyle:
* Simple and slow: Families find peace embracing a lifestyle in which less is more
First came the slow-food movement, working to counteract fast fare and put the happy back in meals.
Slow parenting proposes a similar alternative to screen-watching, over-scheduled, materialistic kids.
“If we don’t sign our children up for all these things and buy them all these things, family life really can be enough,” said Bernadette Noll, a Texas mother of four and co-founder of the Slow Family Living group.
“They actually can fare better with less.”
The recession plays an obvious hand in the growing popularity of the philosophy, with many families forced to change the way they eat, work, play and shop for Christmas.
But even those who haven’t faced unemployment or foreclosure are finding a welcome clarity in the leaner times, Noll and others say.
“I talk to people all the time who are longing to make these changes,” said Donna Sigl-Davies, a holistic counselor and president of Simply Living of Central Ohio.
“They’re kind of trapped by what they know. They almost need someone to give them permission, to say, ‘Your child doesn’t have to have that iPod.’ ”
Michael and Ali Malley of the North Side say it’s easier to slow down family life if you shut out the voices — television and the Internet, especially — that tell children what toys, gadgets and activities they need in order to be happy.
“If you just go with the flow, which was the style of my parents, the impact today can be very negative,” Mr. Malley said. “Part of good parenting right now is protecting your children from the culture, which is really strange.”
Families clearly want guidance on how to put on the brakes, he said, pointing to the growing pool of advice. The book In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore has been called the gospel of the slow-parenting movement.
Honore recently added Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting.
Noll said families shouldn’t start by upending their lives. “It’s not about dropping out,” she said. “The guiding question is, ‘Is what we’re doing as a family working for us?’ ”
If you hate the bustle and competition of soccer for 5-year-olds, stop going, Noll said. If your high-school junior isn’t elite-college material, stop pressuring.
And when it’s too busy no matter what you do?
“At least take the time to look each other in the eye, smile and connect.”
Sigl-Davies said harried parents who keep striving “to give their kids more than they had” often wind up instilling a sense of entitlement, with compassion and empathy the casualties.
The Malleys say the slow life flows more easily with support from like-minded relatives and friends: folks who won’t puzzle over your fondness for homemade Christmas gifts, board games, long walks and quiet evenings at home.
“We’re on a path that feels right to us,” Mrs. Malley said. “Every day, I feel like this is the good old days.”