Sometimes you’ve got to slow right down and simplify to notice something. This week we’ve been able to slow down and simplify big style. Our default setting of autopilot was shut down at the door and everything became intentional. Wensleydale hasn’t gone digital yet so to watch any sky channels we had to log onto our laptops and sign into Sky Go. This has been great for the girls to have an hour’s downtime on the sofa but meant that for the first time in our family’s history (shocking I know) we’ve not had background TV on. TV is a funny old thing. I don’t have a problem with it at all. In fact I quite love it. Sometimes all we need is to collapse in front of the Box and be idle for a while. But that’s the thing – it makes active people idle, unless you count ironing because that is something you can do while your watching the TV. Or running on a treadmill, you can do that too I guess but I don’t. On the whole when we watch TV we generally become physically and mentally disconnected from reality. So this week I have felt very much reconnected, so much so that I know I need to be more intentional of my time from now on.
I reckon the killer of many great ideas is busyness. We mean to do this or we mean to do that, but we just didn’t get around to it and we just ran out of time. It just falls off the radar. And this is why we need to be actively intentional, carrying through with good idea on purpose. We live in a culture of speed and convenience. Everyone is always rushing. Maybe we’re trying to do too much that we’re getting too tired that we don’t end up doing nearly enough as we wanted. I tease The Husband because so often he walks through the front door and before he says hello he’s looking at his watch and telling me what time he has to be somewhere else.
A guy called Robert A Heinlein warned us to “not handicap your children by making their lives easy”. When I first read this I thought it was just another old-schooler trying to take us back to Victorian parenting. Don’t cuddle them or they’ll be grow to be spoiled, leave their pram out in the garden or they’ll grow to be demanding etc. Bear with me (Bear? Bare? I always forget!) I’ll come back to this.
I’ve noticed recently that Ruby struggles with a couple of things that I’m sure Chloe was fine with at Ruby’s age. It’s not that Chloe’s more clever. When a second child comes along everything becomes more rushed because there is double the mess and, well pretty much double everything. So when you’re rushing out the door you fasten their coats because it’s quicker than waiting for them to fumble with the toggles themselves. You make decisions for them because otherwise you know you’ll still be waiting there long after you should have been on your way. Earlier this week Ruby wanted me to fasten the button on her jeans. Because we weren’t rushing anywhere and my mind wasn’t on a million other things I sat down and explained to her that if I kept fastening her button for her she’d never learn to do it herself. Immediately I thought of Robert A Heinlein’s words. Ok, maybe there was just a little bit of sense somewhere in there. So while we’ve been away we’ve tried to hold back from doing things for the girls. Such a simple thing that reaps so much growth. We watched as the girls chose and asked for their own ice creams and we waited while Chloe chose which two gems to get from the Gem Shop (it would have been sooooooo easy to just back down and say she could have the three that she was looking at but I’m totally glad I didn’t). We’re gonna have to be intentional in raising these girls if we want them to grow up to be the awesome world-changing women they have the capacity to become.