Slow Family Living: 75 Simple Ways to Slow Down, Connect, and Create More Joy by Bernadette Noll, published by Perigee.
Is slow family living a concept that you like the sound of? I know I do. I don’t like to hurry. I hate being rushed. I like my days to go at a nice pace where no one is getting all upset because they have to be somewhere, can’t find the book they want to take and their mitten is missing, and to top it all off they were supposed to be there 15 minutes ago. Nope, I don’t like that type of thing at all. I don’t live like that. Though, on occasion, we have to get out of the house and there is a bit of turmoil. I try to make an effort to be sure that does not happen often.
Slow Family Living is a book that puts a lot of nice, easy ideas before you and allows you to ponder them, pick and choose, and see what might be enjoyable for your family. The title drew me in and all in all I enjoyed reading the book.
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To give you a bit of a taste of what the book is about—though the title is certainly clear—here are a few chapter titles.
- The Blitz. This is all about quickly cleaning up spaces in your home. We already do this and it makes cleanup rather enjoyable. We set the timer for 5 minutes and pick up and return items to their proper homes. It goes fast and it is amazing how much you can get done with everyone pitching in for only 5 min. She goes for 15 – 20 min. That would be too long for us. Not slow but certainly leaves time for other slow activities.
- Beneath Every Behavior There is a Need. I was happy to see someone else writing about this. Just think about how much sense that statement makes and next time there are issues in your family think about it again. She talks about naming the need, and meeting it on some level if possible. Having patience and going slowly allows for more understanding among family members.
- One on One. Since I only have one child this is not as big an issue for me as it is for other families. Spending time alone with each child builds beautiful memories. Once a year my dad would take vacation and each child got to spend one full day with him doing whatever we wished. To this day I remember those times more than any other part of my childhood. It matters. She suggests making the time, even if it is not a full day, and she sets a monthly goal to spend time with each of her children one on one. Whether it is minutes or hours—just make time to share some moments together. Nice.
There were a few things that bothered me in this book. I would like to glaze them over as not important but they were. In general, this book is pretty respectful of children and since so many books do not lean that way I was pleased to find this title. But there were enough times when I didn’t feel that was true that I point them out, not to nit-pick but so that you know that they are there. Declarations of no screen from time from 5:00 – 8:00, or DEAR (drop everything and read) time—“It’s like a time-out. Only with a book” bother me. They also play a “game” in Dec. “Each day, every member of the family is required to get rid of at least one thing.” I don’t find these sorts of things to be very respectful and I certainly would not want someone to say that I Had to do them. Perhaps her family is fine with them. Mine would not be.
Bernadette Noll is a lovely writer. Her book is an easy read with short entries. I like the way the book was layed out because you can read one of the couple page chapters and think about what you have read and mark it to read again (as I found myself doing) or you can sit and read for a while through several entries. Either way she draws you in and I enjoyed her style.
I found this book quite interesting and certainly good enough to review. If slow family living is what you are looking for, if you are overwhelmed and feeling like life is going way too fast, you might want to take a look. There are good ideas here for re-connecting with your children and spouse; having more fun; and generally slowing life down to a pace that fits your family’s needs. Just remember to take what works for your family and leave the rest on the pages of the book. Slow Family Living: 75 Simple Ways to Slow Down, Connect, and Create More Joy.