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The Gift of Slowing Down

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Our world puts such an emphasis on speed. We want our question answered NOW, we want our drive-thru coffee NOW, and we better not have to wait more than .001 of a second for that webpage to load.

I am so guilty of this myself. Sometimes it is harmless (although patience is a virtue, and it’s one I need to cultivate), but I’ve recently noticed a GLARING place in my life where me wanting things on my schedule is not harmless; in fact, it is extremely harmful. And that is with Bert.

Bert is a toddler, as well as a developing walker, so needless to say he is not bound by any schedule. This means that when I ask him to walk to the car so we can head to the grocery store/library/church, in my head I mean WALK 👏🏻 TO 👏🏻 THE 👏🏻 CAR 👏🏻, but in Bert’s head this means “Collect two monster trucks, say bye to Jane Austen, say ‘car’ 15 times without actually heading there, get sidetracked by three things in the garage, watch the garage door go up, ask if Owen (his friend) is coming, happen to catch a glance of an airplane flying by ...” You get what I’m saying.

This happens any number of times in any number of situations throughout the day: going to the car, walking up the steps for a nap, heading to the kitchen to eat lunch. Bert is just strolling along living his life, while I am usually looking at the ceiling and whining some version of “BERT PLEASE JUST GOOOOOO.”

I’ve been doing this far longer than I care to admit before finally realizing the other day how bad I’ve gotten. I had to take a hard look at myself and ask myself why I am so bothered by Bert’s dilly-dallying and refusal to follow my time schedule (if you ask me) or enjoying a slow pace of life (if you ask him) — the answer was in the question.

Bert is not over here trying to make us late for the doctor. He is a new little person who is learning about and noticing things in the world for the first time. My responsibility is to leave us enough time to get where we need to go on time. And truthfully, how often do we really HAVE to be somewhere on time? Church, therapy, the doctor, sure, but those things are far less frequent than nap, lunch, or playing outside with a friend.

Bert is laid back, and he likes to say goodbye to Jane, take detours to kiss his trucks good night, and touch a few things in the garage on the way to the car. It’s frequently maddening to me — someone who just wants to GET. THINGS. DONE. NOW. — but for Bert, it’s who he is. It’s not a sign of disrespect, lack of caring, or some other negative thing. It’s him enjoying the wonder of a world that is so new and fun to him.

It is likely that, like the rest of us, he will one day experience the stress and anxiety of a fast-paced world where everything is NOW NOW NOW. But I don’t need to force that upon him at age not-quite-two by pressuring him to walk a little faster to the steps for nap time. Even more so, I don’t need to be the cause of his stress or anxiety because he senses I am upset with him but has no idea why. Instead, it is I who should learn from Bert and slow down a bit, maybe take a look at what is just so necessary about making sure you have a monster truck in each hand before getting into the car.

I think there is a beautiful secret there that he knows and has been trying to tell me. Bert, I’m listening now.




2 comments:

  1. It is so nice to read your blog again. I love the way you are deciding to adjust to your little man. We all could take a lesson from him.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I had to take a break over the past few months due to pregnancy and some health things with Bert, but I'm glad to be back too!

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