The slow family

The Wood family, December 1970
The Wood family, December 1970 (Photo credit: Dave Traynor)

“Family” is a powerful word.  It carries much more weight than “community” and certainly more weight than “culture.”

In this blog I explore a concept I call the “slow family”.  This idea stems from the slow movement.

Most, post-modern families have subjective values, undefined roles, and their lifestyles tend to be more concerned with extrinsic motivation rather than intrinsic motivation. They celebrate each others materialistic achievements because they matter the most.   Extrinsic  motivation is about fulfilling tangible cravings and rewards.  Intrinsic motivation is more concerned with personal development, demonstrating personality in ways both creative and productive. We all know that young children are highly suggestible.  They are also highly insatiable.

I am not a child development expert.  However, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that people are highly motivated and conditioned to keep food in their bellies.  If you examine old television shows we often see children sent to their room to either eat later, after the family, or to eat in solitude.  I always thought it was funny that I never experienced this.

However, I digress.  I am not advocating child starvation.  I believe it is cruel.  Children should not be punished by using food.   But, I do want us to think about family’s eating habits.  I want us to think about how families sit down to share time together.  I want us to think about the experience of eating slowly, while reflecting upon our lives, our roles, and our relationships.  Slow time is invaluable.

The slow family is a symbol of participatory culture because they listen, and do not condemn.  They question, but do not assume they know everything.  They participate in consciously creating a culture whereby all members feel their roles as sons, daughters, fathers, sisters, mothers, and brothers emerging in meaningful ways that a post-modern family wouldn’t spend time to look for.  Their time eating dinner together provides a vital place for positive conditioning.

The slow family provides nourishment for the brain, body and soul.  They pay close attention to their food.  They pay close attention to each other.  They have nothing to prove to each other, other than the development of the slow family experience.  Their motivations are intrinsic.  They are not concerned with the media. They shut off their cell phones and take their laptops off the table.

Their food enters their bodies in a most rewarding and subtle way.  Their family is truly in touch with their senses and so find themselves truly in touch with each other.  They are taking a time out from being business people, students, artists, and consumers.  They are just eating.  They are providing an avenue for the sacred to enter their lives.

They are the slow family and they might just be a pipe dream for many of us living in fast-paced societies.  They are not a dream however.  A global movement for a slower society is here.  Please take some time to watch this talk.

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The slow family

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