I used to want to hurry my kids pretty often. As they would dawdle walking from the car into our front door, as they pored over a drawing in a picture book before we could turn the page, as they told me a story, I was rushing to get to the next thing that had to get done.
But when I was a kid, I don't remember hurrying. I don't remember my mom rushing us to get to the next thing. Mostly what I remember is the feeling of one thing just flowing into the next. Hours spent in the pool or the woods. Getting off the bus and walking up the long driveway after school, with no plans or pressure more urgent than a snack. At a friend's house, we might spend hours outside on the swingset or just mess around in the basement playing a made up game.
This week I was walking and heard a mom tell her child "Hurry up!" I wondered what it would be like to grow up in a hurry, what it's like for kids today. Because kids are hurried. They have to get to daycare, to school, to the grocery store with us. Many have classes and lessons, tutors and 'events.' They have scheduled playdates. Even when they aren't signed up for extra things, kids now are actually doing more homework than I did and spend much more scheduled time in child care than was common in my generation.
If you are raising children right now, do you find yourself hurrying them? Do you ever wonder, what would it be like if we weren't in a hurry? Imagine with me the way your days would go if you never had to say "Hurry up."
Imagine slowing down to the pace of a child. Would you spend more time cuddling in the morning? Holding hands as you walked from place to place? Would breakfast be different? Getting to the car? Cooking dinner? Homework time (if your child does homework)? Imagine bath time. Story time. Bedtime. All of it feeling spacious and open.
What if we each choose one thing and slow down to a child's pace. It could be small, like walking upstairs to get ready for bedtime with them. Let's choose this one thing and dedicate ourselves to operating at child speed with no rushing. Let's try savoring it, allowing it to be exactly what it is, like a mindfulness practice.
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.