My youngest son loves to help in the kitchen. One day when he asked my sister if he could stir the spaghetti sauce on the stove, I shuddered at the thought of red sauce being flicked out of the pot, but she calmly responded: “Sure. Be low and slow.”
He looked at her, smiled, and did just that.
I stared at my sister and said, “That’s amazing. Those two words can really inform many of our actions — especially as parents.” She nodded in agreement, with a wink that she knew this all along.
I left her house that day thinking about low and slow. When I stayed aware of those two simple words, I noticed that my behaviour actually changed. The biggest difference I noticed in myself was that I was intentionally making time for in between things like carefully getting everything ready to be on time for our out of the house activities, creating better lunches for us, and not even trying to cram something into a time-slot that was going to be tight.
Another thing I am making a point of doing slowly is walking. My children often complain that I race ahead of them: they’re usually running after me. I’m trying to remember to slow down to walk with them. My sister’s children mentioned she does that, too, so we laughed thinking that we must be programmed to walk fast because we are from the far north and grew up either trying to outrun clouds of mosquitoes or not get frozen solid walking to school in -40 degrees.
I asked the parents on my Facebook page what they thought of when they heard the words low and slow, and was delighted with their thoughtful responses. Here are some of them:
“Low – to get down to their level, and Slow – to take time to think before I act. Make my parenting a choice not a reaction.” Victoria H.
“I thought of getting low to the ground to meet the child where she/he is, and taking time (slow) to connect.” Velma S.
“Scheduling: have a low key, calm lifestyle, routine, and attitude about life. I think that rubs off on the kids the most and helps them feel emotional rest and the least amount of stress.” Bethany S.
“I thought of dealing with life at the lowest possible level—no dramas. Also, to take your time: stop & stare, reflect, and think.” Mandy U.
“Keep expectations low and make slow progress! After all, any progress is still progress.” Heather T.
“I thought of cooking things low and slow and how it takes time to make something delicious.” Morgan C.
“Calm voice and labored speech: don’t use big words or too many words. And, fixing problems with parenting takes time and you can’t fix everything at once.” Tony C.
I love that these parents interpreted the words differently and mentioned things I hadn’t thought of. Taking time to think, engage the rational part of our minds when we’re upset, and connect are actions that require quite some intention. It can be quite easy to get swept into a feeling of urgency when emotions rise and patience falls.
I find that the words low and slow are reminding me about that intention, and that I need to look at parenting as a work in progress. Just as Morgan mentioned above, it takes time to make something delicious. This as a metaphor for the growth of our children! When we keep the temperature low, we’re sure not to burn things, and push the food we are cooking to be heated faster than the taste and texture can keep up with. Infusion of flavours and tenderness happens over time.
What do the words “low and slow” mean to you? Or is there another word or two that helps keep your parenting feet grounded? I’d love to hear what those are—can you please comment below or over on my Facebook page? And, if you’d like information on using positive parenting strategies, I suggest looking at my Taming Tantrums app (for iPhone & Android).