Thursday, March 07, 2013

Fast and Slow

Now that I'm spending a lot more time with my kids, I am more aware of what I say to them.  I find that I am giving my kids two different messages all the time, and that might be confusing for them.

All the time, I'm telling them to move faster.  I'm constantly emphasizing that we're going to be late if they don't get their shoes on and get in the car, their cereal will get soggy if they don't put down the ponies and get over here, I am always trying to figure out ways to get Lillian to read more smoothly so she can make 80 WPM and pass off her stupid reading assignments (she has these dumb paragraphs that she has to read over and over and over again until she can read them in a minute or less... we've read the current one every day for two weeks), or pushing her to be able to do her timed math wherein she is supposed to do 72 simple addition and subtraction problems in 10 minutes.  She can do about 20; it takes her about 40-45 minutes to do all 72.

And then sometimes in the same breath, I tell them to slow down.  Be patient, wait, I know it's boring, take your time and do a good job.  Lillian has very sloppy handwriting and Tyler and I harp on her about it ALL THE TIME.  I\We make her erase and re-do, do practice worksheets like the kind you do in kindergarten, and emphasize that she has to think about what she's doing before she does it.  The kids complain that their chores take too long or that it's boring when we go to the park with just a soccer ball and no organized games or activities, or when we have to wait at an appointment or a restaurant and I didn't bring the iPad or any books or toys.

I was thinking about this on our a hike we took recently.  All three kids were walking and there was much emphasis on hurrying up, putting down the rocks, stop touching the grass, catch up, OK I'm leaving without you, and that sort of thing.  The kids kept telling me that they were bored; they wondered when we were going to "get there," and I told them that there was no "there."  I told them that the point was to be out in nature and to get some exercise.  Speed up and slow down at the same time.

I worry that they can't keep up with life, that they won't be fast enough; but then at the same time, I worry that they won't know how to slow down and do "boring" things like wait, study, practice, and enjoy nature.

I suspect that this is why parents make their kids play sports.  It has elements of both things- you need to think fast to keep up with game play, but at the same time, you have to do boring drills and go to practice over and over again.  So, although I have no idea how soccer is going to fit in our schedule, I plan on signing Lillian up for the spring season.

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