Permaculture in Action

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Slowing Down- Week Two

Thanks to those of you who left comments on my last Slowing Down post. A few of you reminded me that slowing down means you're able to be more present in the task of the moment.And Rhonnie says that slowing down allows for her young son to "help''. A wonderful reason for slowing down, don't you agree.

 In these days of rushing here and there, taking the extra time for the children to help can be a real trial. Linda's post here, about her young children's attempts at hanging out the washing had me giggling. Wouldn't it be easier to just do it properly yourself. But we rob our children of an important opportunity every time we take that option.

In Steiner education the first seven years of a childs's life is spent in imiatation. They see all work as play. If you're washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, making the beds etc, they want to play along.We need to be careful what we give them to imitate. We can show them fast and stressful or slow and calm. We can give them a childhood that is slow and enables them to be children, not one that pushes them though their childhood at a fast rate.

So here on the farm we offer parents an alternative to the fast paced world that would have the children imitating teenages or TV characters. At playgroup we make bread. We knead the dough, roll it into breadrolls, leave it to rise, pop it in the oven where it bakes while we walk around the farm. Then we eat it. There are no hurried activities that have to be done, just whatever takes the child's fancy. We just let the children 'be'.

At our farm birthday parties there's no fast food it's all slowly and loving prepared.

 There's no fast activity, we slowly walk around the farm, feed the ducks and geese, collect the eggs, pat the horse and settle in for a gentle and quiet story.

 And there's certainly no fast clean up at the end. No fast whipping around with a green garbage bag collecting disposable plates. Oh no not on this farm. We use real plates and cups, real tablecoths and serviettes, handmade reuasable decorations. Absolutely nothing that would find it's way to the garbage. Does this make more work. yes of course but it makes lots less garbage. And it looks and feels so much nicer in my opinion.

We have at our disposal so much in the name of convenience. Our lives are full of convenience food, convenience appliances, convenience shopping/enetertainment that we feel the need to fill the space left in our lives with fast toys, fast food, fast and furious activity. Because that space needs to be filled with something and our children are expecting that we, parents, community, school, fill it or else they have nothing to do.

Let's fill their time with something more meaningful.

What do you want the children to imitate?


  1. What a thoughtful post. We do the same with family gatherings, the washing up is part of the ritual of the end of the gathering .... and it takes me back to sitting and listening to the adults talk while I had a go of wiping up the 'unbreakable' things as my aunts and grandmother washed up at the old cast iron sink .When work is done thoughtfully with another it ceases to be work and becomes a lovely memory.

  2. I love your birthday table. I find that when the grandchildren visit they arrive in a rush, but after a couple of hours pottering around our place they are ready to quietly sit and colour or read. I like the fact that our place is a quiet sanctuary from the busy world.

  3. A thought provoking post I hope is seen by many.

  4. I belive that the first 10 years of a childs life is spent in play with midful parents to attend them. It all takes much longer - but we have them for such a small part of their life - when what we teach our kids when they are little will be the foundations of their life - if it takes a little longer - we have plenty of time - a lifetime really.

    I have just started recording our schooling journey with our kids - it became urgent in the last month that I start sharing what I am learning from my children with like minded people. Would love you to join me - it is in it's infancy - but I really think we can learn from each other. Health is another high priority in our family and with our children.

    Am now going to enjoy looking around your blog : )

  5. Your parties always look so wonderful Kate. You can tell that there is a true meaning behind each celebration, all done with beauty and simplicity. I think those kids will remember it in many years to come.
    I think your parties will be my inspiration for our next one. The last few have been small family affairs but I have a feeling that Julia will be asking for a "proper" one this year.

  6. One of the simple task I have yet given over to a machine... is washing dishes. When you let go of the belief that tasks are work, it opens the opportunity for pleasure. At the end of dinner in our house I shout "Disco dishes time". I put some music on, and the kids and I dance around the kitchen doing the dishes - we have a ball.