Keep Calm, and be Slow and Deliberate

I was having a conversation with a friend a few days ago, and I was telling her about my initial days of training as a Montessori teacher. One of the things that took me awhile to get used to, especially having gotten used to the very rushed pace of life in HK, was that when presenting a demonstration to a child, we had to do it very slowly and deliberately. It almost felt as if I were downplaying the child’s intelligence as it felt exaggeratedly slow. But it wasn’t, and young children DO need to watch what we do in that almost snail-like pace in order to really catch every detail of the movements we make. If we go too fast, the child would simply miss seeing what happened. In hindsight, that slowness and deliberation put into the work was a kind of spiritual practice; one that forced us to calm down and be very mindful of our actions to the details of each step. I once learnt Tai Chi; the slower the movements, the harder they were to execute steadily and well. Once in the real Montessori classroom, it became even more apparent why we had to do it so slowly and carefully; because whatever way the children saw us do it, they followed in the exact manner. If I showed it to them half-hurriedly, or my movements were rather rough, then I could expect the child to repeat the work process in the exact same way. Children model after adults a great deal, for that’s how they learn a lot of things without our purposely teaching them. That’s why we need to be extra careful what we are modeling to them. Ironically, they always pick up on the negative things much more easily than the positive things! In the past many months, we can see a lot of examples out on the streets that we’d teach our children not to do; that’s easy to point out, but at home, we need to be equally, if not even more conscious of our own examples that we’re setting for them. But one thing I think we ALL stand to learn to do, is to slow down the pace of life. This current situation in HK is definitely not ideal, but perhaps it’s life’s way of forcing us to sit back, slow down, calm down, and think beyond what we’d normally think about. Many have allowed the over-looming sentiments and emotions get the better of them. Once upon a time, a life coach said, “Intelligence and emotions are inversely proportional; so when emotions go up, intelligence goes down, and vice versa.”
Some families have taken to the outdoors for a change, and that’s actually very healthy. It’s time to start smelling the roses more often…

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