Monthly Archives: June 2016

Slow Parenting

parenting-seminar

Rethinking Lifestyle, Childhood and Parenting

‘Slow parenting’ is a term coined by the Canadian journalist Carl Honoré. It is only one of many elements within a comprehensive lifestyle known as the ‘slow movement’, a cultural shift that developed in response to the rushed modern life. Other elements include slow food (cooking from scratch at home, supporting small food businesses), slow shopping (shopping from a small store not a big name supermarket), slow gardening (organic planting of flowers), slow travel (‘live’ at your travel destination: shop, cook, volunteer and work), slow money (investing in small local business, compared to stocks), slow families (spending time together without any distraction from digital media), slow medicine and slow leisure.

In the rush, parents miss the opportunity to build a healthy relationship with their children. In slow parenting, parents listen and pay attention, respect and respond to their children in a way that contributes to a fulfilled and really successful life.

In the rush, parents plan everything for their children from academics to activities and daily schedules. In slow parenting children develop a sense of ownership to achieve their own ambitions, through their own efforts and their own interests.

Parents want their children to succeed at everything and are not allowed to fail. In slow parenting children have opportunities to fail and to learn how to deal with failure and avoid repeating their own mistakes.

Through a caring and trusting relationship, parents know their children: their interests and abilities, and push them without pressuring them when practicing any activity so they are not exhausted not frustrated.

Slow parenting calls on parents to find the time to play with their children and have fun together without feeling guilty. They need to allow kids to have free rather than structured play to discover their interests and abilities, and allow them time to be lazy and do nothing to reflect on their experiences.

Parents should not have unrealistic expectations nor model social competition. Rather, they downshift to simpler living to reduce stress, gain leisure time and escape the work-spend cycle. In slow parenting, parents provide their children an opportunity to be in nature and learn about the world, or explore the world around them.

The change to a slow mindful life will not happen if we continue to accept that work has priority over our life and family. Rethink life priorities.parenting-as-a-christian

 

Technology and Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD)

Technology is changing at a fast pace no one can keep up with. Even the most intelligent and smart individual feels overwhelmed by these changes. Too much change too fast strains people and result in feelings of helplessness and inadequacy, two symptoms of stress.

Technology is erasing our sense of place and community. Feeling that you belong to a certain group is a human need for a healthy development of the young. When using technology for too long we become addicted to mindlessly pressing levers in the hope of receiving social or intellectual nourishment.

Instantaneous devices and the abundance of information people have access to have an impact on the thought processes, obstructing deep thinking and understanding, and impeding the formation of memories. It makes learning more difficult and results in diminished information retaining ability, leaving thoughts “thin and scattered,” according to Eric Schmidt, Chief executive of Google.

In 2008, for the first time in human history, more than half the world’s population lived in cities and towns – and by 2030, two-thirds of human beings will live in urban areas. Less park areas in the city and suburbs in addition to digital screens like TV, computer and smart phones and cultural attitudes towards nature cause Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD), a condition that refers to a wide range of behavioural problems which children experience as a result of spending little time outdoors.

Well-intended parents, motivated by stories they hear on media, are scaring children out of the parks and fields. Our modern cultural attitudes unconsciously associate nature with violence and accidents, and disassociate it from joy and meaningful physical and social activities.

Richard Louv coined the term NDD. He believes that the twenty-first century will be the century for human restoration through the powers of nature. By going to nature and having a nature-balanced existence, we can boost our mental abilities and be more creative, promote health, and build smarter communities and economies. We need to have a balanced existence: the more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need. Even though a walk in the park is free, we are so caught up in our busy lives that we do not connect with nature long enough.

To have a meaningful relationship with the natural world we need to design new kinds of cities and towns and model participating in outdoor activities to our children.