Thursday, June 10, 2010

No Hurry

A good friend and I were talking about the impact of hurrying on our families. Maybe you know this situation: I'm standing at the sink, washing the dishes before I get dinner going. Sylvie has made her usual huge mess in her room and I want her to clean it up before dinner. She cries, because she's five and doesn't want to clean it herself. She just wants some company. I order and threaten and demand and cajole and maybe she ends up cleaning the room and maybe she doesn't.

If I wasn't in such a hurry to get those dishes done, I could probably help her clean her room and get the dishes done in less time than the whole drama described above. This is a drama I've found ways to avoid in many other parenting crisis points, like getting everyone to the car or getting dressed or going on a walk. Still, it comes up again and again. It seems to be something I have to work through.

What has happened is I've learned when I'm the one who needs to hurry and that most of the time, hurrying is unnecessary and even harmful. I don't start asking the children to get ready to leave until I'm ready; otherwise, in my haste to get all my pieces together, I begin herding and harrying the children when all they actually need to do is put on shoes. It also makes it easier for me to delegate; if my things are assembled and I'm waiting by the door for the children to get their shoes, I can hand them things to carry or give them specific chores that will help us get to the car.

I've learned that when I slow down, I almost always have more time than I thought I did. Sylvie and Ezra are much more cooperative when I'm not panicking about time. And let's face it, cooperation is often the fastest way to get anywhere as a family.

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