The other day my son and I got this really cool book from the library, called My Grandfather and I. We couldn’t wait to start reading, expecting it to be filled with wild adventures of a little boy and his grandfather. Little did we know that this book was going to be a lesson for me more than anyone else.
In the book, the little boy complains about how everyone in his family pushes him to hurry! “Hurry and eat your breakfast,” “hurry and put on your shoes,” “hurry let’s get in the car,” and the list goes on, on and on. The only person with whom the boy in our story didn’t feel rushed was his grandfather. With his grandfather, they always found time to stop and look, to stop and talk, to stop and touch.
While reading the book, every time the mother, father, brother or sister said the word “hurry”, I cringed! It was all so painfully true. A crime we are all guilty of, at least once a day.
Children have no agendas, no desire to check off things from their to-do lists. Their thoughts and actions are not controlled by electronic notifications, ringtones and jam-packed planners. They don’t have that need to be on time for every single activity, which they haven’t planned to start with.
Aren’t we all too familiar with the scenarios where as you need to leave the house, your child decides to change their shirt or get their other hat because the one they have isn’t good enough or blue enough or not ugly enough? Or when you’re already running late and trying to get them in the car and your child insists that the stuffed animal must be buckled in too; and takes their sweet time doing it? Or when at the grocery store, they decide to check every single item on the shelves, asking tons of questions about each product and expecting a clear, eloquent answer? Or when you have a full agenda for the day starting at 6am, yet they want to make pancakes themselves; which involves lots of gentle stirring, egg cracking in different directions and milk spilling everywhere but in the designated bowl!
Children have no agendas, no desire to check off things from their to-do lists. Their thoughts and actions are not controlled by electronic notifications, ringtones and jam-packed planners
Your blood pressure may have reached the roof by now, just reading these sentences!
We all know the struggle, we all know how many times we have to shout “Hurry up” for them to finally pick themselves up and follow, if they ever do! We all know the way-too-familiar sentence: “We don’t have time for this now.” Yes, I see that grin starting at the corner of your mouth, you know we all do it, yeah? But let me ask you, if now we don’t have time to roll on the floor, stop to smell the roses, check the shadows, make a little mess here and there, then when will we ever? When they are 20 and off to start their own lives? When they leave your nest and you are staring at a spotless clean kitchen, bedroom and bathroom? When they no longer have the excuse of their tender age to be silly, messy and carefree?
If now is not a good time to live the now, then when will we ever do it? We think of time as ours but aren’t we forgetting that they also own their time, just like we do?
Maybe we need to stop every time the ugly “hurry up” is about to erupt from our mouths, and think of the damage our hurried up existence is doing to those life-loving spirits.
Maybe we should stop having tunnel vision – only looking ahead to what’s next on the agenda. Maybe we should reconsider the idea that anything that cannot be checked off the list is a waste of time. Maybe we should wake up earlier, leave home 10 minutes before we actually think we should, maybe we should take smaller steps and longer breaths. Maybe we need to tuck the phones, laptops and distractions away, and banish the word hurry from our vocabulary. Maybe we should cancel more activities and sit still for a while.
What if we let our kids set the pace of our days, for a change?
So…Here’s to never saying “hurry up” again!