Monday, October 22, 2012

Days of Beauty: Why Slow Day?

Slow Day ~ I've had quite a few questions about this concept and why I started it, what it means in our home, how we make it work. Since this day adds beauty to our home and week, I thought I would try to answer some of these things in the midst of processing beauty.

It all started during my visit to Colorado this summer. I usually take a day of retreat while I am there and this idea of slowing had been rattling around inside as one topic I really wanted to think about and pray over while I was on my retreat.

Here is my initial post which came before we started implementing Slow Day in our home. I keep my words quiet here on slow day so they will probably erupt into a long post today! :)

So a good place to start seems to be here: why slow day?

This question takes me back a few years to when Emily was just four and the world of opportunities seemed to be opening before her of things to get involved in: Awana, Children's Choir at church, school, etc... Have you realized how many commitments are available to our sweet four year olds? It is a magical age in the realm of over-scheduling and suddenly we are faced with decisions of how much to be involved in, how often to go and so on.

Especially since this was my oldest child at the time and we were doing all of this for the first time, it was (and obviously still is) a BIG struggle for me to think about the time spent out of our home if we did some of these things.

We decided on one thing at church and one more physical activity: Children's Choir and Ballet. That felt doable and good, we had to say no to other good things - but we did that. Also remember that we had two children under four as well, so they were a big consideration in these decisions.

Fast forward a few years and now we have three who are over age four. Now all of these opportunities are tripled. The girls are still in ballet and loving that and we still do Children's Choir. Samuel's activity is soccer for right now and they are all in Awana because we feel like it is very beneficial for them and they love it.

As our children crossed this magic age four and the opportunities were and still are multiplying - it is a constant battle for me to not be too busy. Even as a homeschooling family, the opportunities are endless - field trips, play dates, park invites, classes, lessons, and more. We live in an age of opportunity for sure. We can do anything, anytime, at any age.

What exactly are we teaching our children in this? That the world is theirs for the taking, that it is being held out to them on a silver platter? I will admit that we still do a lot and we are still busy - but I know if we had not been thinking about this each year - we would be exponentially committed and involved in more than we could handle.

I am an introvert - which very quickly translates into being alone energizes me, peace and quiet and slow energize me. And, I think this is where my struggle begins - I am in a season of noise both audible, visual and scheduling-wise. In order to maintain my balance - I have to have some slowing, some quiet and some peace to recharge me from the noisy season I am in.

As anyone who has young children, had young children at one point or has even been around young children knows - peace, quiet and slow are not exactly their mode of operation!

Not only is it healthy and needed for me - I have to believe it is good for my children to learn how to live slower and more quietly. That doesn't mean I constantly walk around shushing them - it means that we more of a quietness of life and heart.

There are so many ways I am still learning in this and so much I need and want to learn in this. This is just the beginning and clearly this is becoming a series of posts not just wrapped up neatly all in one. This is most definitely long enough for now! More to come ...


Julian said...

Yes!I wholeheartedly agree! I have six kids. Ages 22~8. I have 4 at home,and this is something ive been thinking about alot. To live a balanced life,to have enough activity to stimulate,but enough slow.and quiet to be able to appreciate human relationships,and to hear His voice. Many thoughts. Youre on the right track.

Wendi said...

I am right there with you on this. I like things really slow... if I am on the go too much I get super stressed. Besides school and church on Sunday Megan does one other outside activity. She takes piano once a week and that is it. We will meet friends once a month or so to play. I think it is important for children to just be children. To have down time and time to play.

Lauren (in Savannah) said...

I have four girls ages 21(almost 22)-7. Lots of talking,giggling and noise all day long. I love to talk myself but by the time I get my little girls to bed I HAVE to have quiet, me time. I usually go to my bedroom and pray,read and just relax. Usually my older girls are in the den with hubby watching a movie or on computers. All that noise gets to me after a while.

Victoria said...

I have wondered about the origin of your Slow Day(s) and enjoyed knowing the story behind it. How wonderful that you've found a way to nourish your soul while still feeding your kids' minds!

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

I really love slow days. They're so nice every now and then :) :) :) I'm glad you're teaching your children to enjoy these days, too. Oh and I really love those photos you shared. That pathway looks like so much fun to walk on :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :

angie said...

I find so much satisfaction in a day where I was at home completely. I am not rushed, well prepared, and accomplish much. By the way, I don't count a walk or a bike ride as leaving home. Your children are learning the virtues of being content, using their imaginations, and appreciating the beauty that fills their home. This is a tradition I would imagine will get carried on in their adult homes.

Trace said...

Monica, I found myself nodding along with everything you've written here.... for quite a while now, I've felt like I needed to spend much more time at home and much less time doing activities outside the home. Time and time again, we've reaped the blessings from doing this.

BTW - I've been meaning to ask you for quite some time - I ADORED your Mitford Moments series... absolutely adored it... any chance that you'll revisit Mitford?
Ah, favorite book series ever....