Not long ago I read a book entitled “In Praise of Slow” by Carl Honorė. It was a most interesting and thought-provoking book. Obviously it portrayed our present society as being in a hurry and wanting everything in an instant. It showed a society with a lack of patience and displaying the inability to “slow down and smell the roses!”
The book outlined many different facets of our lives where we could or should consider slowing down. He covered aspects which readily come to mind such as driving, but he also brought up other aspects which are not so readily thought of as being rushed. It takes very little reason to appreciate that slowing down in most areas holds incredible benefits for all of us.
Slow down on the roads – even by just keeping within the speed limits – then less people would be injured and more people would be alive. To slow down in our eating habits by eating more together as families and taking the time to enjoy the food, not only will do our digestion good but will have long term beneficial effects upon our health. It also brings closer relationships within the family. He pointed out that many families only eat together when they go to Mcdonalds – and even then the average time at the table is eleven minutes! He highlights the French and Italians who willingly sit on the patios of roadside cafés and let the world go by, as they enjoy their coffee.
The book also touches on the area of medicine where the doctor and patient relationship is examined along with the disbursement of medical advice. It suggests that the need for speed forces doctors to give less attention to the patient than what they would like to, and what is needed. Education is another area in which, the benefits of slowness is shown in the statistics of achievements. The writer points out that individual attention to the student, such as in Home Schooling, gives a child the opportunity to study at his or her own speed and ultimately offers a far superior advantage over other regular schooling situations. The book scrutinizes other aspects of our lives which could benefit from slowing down. He covers, the bedroom, the work place, and our times of leisure, pointing out the advantages of pulling away from the frenetic lifestyle to a more measured pace in all things.
The thesis is a good consideration for all of us. Slowing down to enjoy life cannot be a bad thing. Taking time to be with family, making our eating together an event, as opposed to simply a necessity, must pay off in the long run. We all know that simply to sit and enjoy a sunset, or take in the sight of beautiful flowers, the cherry blossoms or other aspects of creation, give us a real sense of serenity, peace and satisfaction.
So do something today to slow down. Just sit and think, read, write, talk, discuss and dream. Enjoy the company of others. Give them your attention, especially your children, because they won’t always be around. Life will go on just the same whether we slow down or not, but by slowing down, it will become more meaningful and your mental health will benefit also!
It’s interesting that God also talks about slowing down. He said, “Be still and know that I am God” which emphasizes that we can be too busy to get to know God, a tragedy in itself!