Slow down … you move too fast

April 21, 2008 at 8:03 am 6 comments

Over the last three weeks, our playgroup has recently had a few sessions with a woman from the Steiner federation. It has been an amazing experience, but I have struggled to  write about it because it has affected me so personally.  


As a mother who rushes around at high speeds, speaks very quickly, spends hours on the internet, schedules activities in for every day, works part time, loves the company of others and gets extremely jittery at the thought of spending time alone …  a lot of what this woman had to say was very hard to hear.  


Of course, I am paraphrasing terribly, and I welcome comments from anyone that thinks I have gotten the wrong end of the Steiner stick!


We all know the way we speak to our children can be deeply harmful, but we often forget that it can be extremely helpful, and healing. Young children absorb everything they experience into their very being. In that sense, the way we speak to them actually  forms who they are.


By being fully present when we speak, by choosing our words consciously, by speaking slowly, calmly, peacefully we help our children develop fully. Beautiful words will have a very positive affect, just as ugly words will harm our children. 


Filling our homes with artificial voices – the television, the radio, recorded music – confuses the child and is no substitute for the living voice. It is only the living voice that can be the powerfully positive, healing force that we desire. Children need to hear their mother and father speaking to them, singing to them, telling them stories – and they need to hear this constantly.


Children are very sensitive to sense impressions and even a trip to the supermarket, with its bright lights, colours and noises, will be incredibly overwhelming.  It is important to give our children a rich home-life – and that means spending a lot of time at home, just pottering about quietly doing home-making activities.  Children won’t get bored doing this – they will love imitating their mother, playing with a few simple toys, running around the garden. It is the mothers that get bored.  Many mothers are ‘too much in the mind’ with a running commentary going through our heads, thinking about the next thing we need to do, giving off a busy, nervous energy.


She commented that when mothers live ‘in their heads’ and rush their children around over-filling them with sense impressions, the children too become manic, over-wraught, excitable.  Homes are filled with so many toys – these can be pared down to just a very very few quality toys that the child can love.


What she said has had a big impact on me. Initially –   I wanted to reject everything she  was saying. After all, we don’t watch TV, hardly go to the mall, our activities usually take place outdoors and close to nature. We might be busy, but I really thought that Munchkin likes going out, being busy as much as I do – and I would go crazy spending a day at home. I thought of women of my mothers generation, who suffered from terrible loneliness without the social support networks we have today.


But, as I thought about it, the truth of these teachings really hit me. Of course, adopting these teachings doesn’t mean we stop seeing other people. Or that we stop going out. But spending more time at home, not doing anything in particular has made a big difference. Munchkin thrives on this. And surprisingly, I’m really enjoying it too.


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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. henitsirk  |  April 21, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    “You’ve got to make the morning last / Just skipping down the cobblestones / Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.” (Thanks, now that’ll be in my head all day!)

    I tend to “fastness” too, though I’m also a homebody and fairly antisocial. My kids, on the other hand, are very social, but do get overwhelmed by the mall, supermarkets, etc. So we’re all a mixture.

    I think it’s important both to take the advice of Steiner/Waldorf education to counteract the negative impacts of modern culture, and to work with your family’s own temperaments and culture. And “not doing anything in particular” is sorely lacking in most people’s lives–we’re so goal oriented!

    My challenge is to not focus so much on what I need, and more on what the children need. Right now they need at least an hour outside in the afternoons (after mornings outside at daycare!), so that’s what we do, even if I need to be making dinner.

    I also think it depends on the age of the child. My kids are still preschool/kindergarten age, so they really just need to putter around. Maybe when they’re a little older we’ll start scheduling a few more activities.

  • 2. renaissancemama  |  April 21, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Very well said, and also a little hard for me to hear 😉 I struggle with these things also but I agree with what was said and these are things I’m working on.

  • 3. domesticallyblissed  |  April 22, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Thanks for your comments guys! I think there is such a ‘buzz’ that comes from busyness, and such a social pressure to do structured activities, that its actually harder to just ‘do nothing in particular’. Glad to know I”m not the only one struggling.

  • 4. highwaycottage  |  April 23, 2008 at 2:08 am

    Great post, and great advice too. I love to stay at home and potter, and Cam does too. If we spend more than an hour or two out he gets really out of sorts. A quick trip to music or playgroup (usually only once a week) is enough for him. I guess having all the interaction with the older brothers and sister are most of what he needs. You do need to have interaction with grown-ups though, just to stay sane 🙂

  • 5. jmama  |  April 26, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Me and my dd rush about doing, doing, doing. It’ just that she and I both enjoy being on the go. I think though that I understand your resistance to wanting to just stop and be. It’s great that you and your little one are enjoying some down time; for me, I need some down time balanced with being active. Oh, and the social support that today’s at home moms have is tremendous. I feel so lucky for the other parents who are home, blogging, and in my community.

  • 6. Megan  |  April 26, 2008 at 12:47 am

    What a great post…I think I’m going to have to take my time and read it again.
    Sorry I’ve been out of the loop for a while ….but life has been really hecktic!!!!
    Will post again soon


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