There’s a Slow Food movement gaining momentum, a movement dedicated to being everything fast food is not. With roots in the Slow Movement — which advocates a cultural shift toward slowing down life’s pace — Slow Food believes in healthy, sustaining, fair food for all.
I look forward to living in a society that holds our time spent with loved ones up to similar standards as the Slow Food movement. Call it a Slow Time movement. Quality time spent together would include "healthy time," concentrated, without distraction; “sustaining time,” deep with lasting nourishment; and "fair time," equally shared and accessible. Every child would know that they’re surrounded by communities and adults who are there to teach, care for, and support them as they grow in the abundance of time and love.
As the idea’s taken hold of me, I’ve been noticing the presence of Slow Time all around me. On a recent walk, I saw a mom jogging with her toddler. Instead of the mom tuning into ear buds and the child into some handheld device, this mom was exchanging thoughts with her child. It was just the two of them, concentrating on one another—counting trees, identifying birds, chatting away as they cruised the neighborhood.
My next moment was almost identical to the first, only the child was a young lady. From what I witnessed of this mother/daughter relationship (pictured below) had been practicing Slow Time for years. They were out for an early morning summer walk, spending time together, an activity as easy to replicate as it is to mutually enjoy. Slow Time, like Slow Food, is simple, basic, and accessible to most of us.
Most recently, I encountered a wonderful example of Slow Time while traveling home from New Jersey. I happened to be making the trip with an incredibly inspiring family. A set of grandparents and their granddaughter were journeying home after a 42-day, Internet-free adventure in South Africa and Tanzania. They noted how much they’d learned about each other on this trip, through undistracted and mutually shared time. What a wonderful gift for them all.
While our ever-increasing variety of tech tools can encourage obsessive distraction, they rarely necessitate it. We still choose to lose ourselves in our phone, TV, and computer screens, but we have other options. Although I can certainly slip, I choose to continually practice the patience and presence of Slow Time. When I see families doing the same, I’m the one taking mental note and remarking on how wonderful it is to see Slow Time spreading.
With regards to intentional parenting, I find Slow Time to be personal in practice and multi-generational in payoff. When I took the time to be present with our daughter through her childhood, we both felt a fullness that allowed us to navigate the world securely.
Daily, when life gets busy, I like to take a moment and picture this: our country populated by people enjoying Slow Time. The air filled with stories, discussion, laughter, and even tears, free from screens—amplified by each other’s company.
Here are a few questions to think about. How much Slow Time do you think you weave into life with your loved ones? How do you prioritize slowness? What do you choose to do with your Slow Time? It’s definitely worth looking at.