Slowing down the boy

There are many sides to this slow living business. The Slow Food movement is defined: … the pleasure of food with a commitment to the community and the environment… And if you just swap food for living, that could be one definition.

For me, the influential things in my life have always been the outdoor experiences. A campsite is my favourite home. A campfire is a place to chat with friends. An expedition is my package holiday. If you can, listen to this snippet from Ray Mears and fail to be uninspired.

And then came the Campfire Kids. Parenting is so personal. And it didn’t ever cross my mind that they wouldn’t be into the outdoors. I started to realise the things that slowed them down, the things that gave them that meditative, timeless aura, when the hours would melt. Gender stereotyping is not really my thing, but I noticed the difference in slowing down more in SlowJoe than SlowFlo. Over time we’ve built up a bank of slow ideas and slow resources. And the best ones, we’ve found from meeting inspiring people in campsites. These are my top favourites:

  1. In the Continuum Concept, by Jean Liedoff, a villager returning to his tribe after a period of time away spends a few days quietly becoming in tune with his village before he interacts and talks of his experiences. We have used a campfire as a way of coming back together as a family after a long period of seperation.
  2. Within days of moving to our new home, SlowJoe had befriended Alan from number 8 and came home with an old childsized fishing rod. I’ve since watched SlowJoe endlessly cast and recast his line for hours. It is meditative to watch, so the gain for him must be boundless.
  3. We found Ted in a campsite. For all his boyness and crazy energy Ted could slow down and relax with the world. His mum was inspirational. I came away with a pair of knitting needles, a shopping list for a camera and a list of web-resources as long as my arm. Knitting is good for boys’ focus and giving a boy a camera can slow down and personalise an outdoor experience.
  4. Binca. I never saw that one coming. Cross stitch was all the rage before breakfast at my kitchen table last summer.
  5. Rocks. SlowJoe loves rocks. And as a lapsed geologist that warms my heart. The feel, the texture, the books, the planning of expeditions to find rocks. Wanting to find out about how to get a market stall to sell rocks. The knock on to atlases and maps knows no bounds.

We also have buckets full of stones, that both bring back from the beach. They have invented the pebble bubble. When they want to be in their own space and not interact they put a circle of pebbles around themselves and have time in their bubble. Somehow mine never seems to work…