June 10, 2011
The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner
Are you familiar with the Slow Food movement? It began in Rome in 1986 as a local protest against the proposed construction of a new McDonald's restaurant in the neighborhood. In the last twenty-five years it has become an international movement. Slow Food USA, the expression of the Slow Food movement in our country, has over 225,00 supporters. What began as a protest against the rapid spread of “fast food,” has now matured into a a movement that promotes and celebrates the simple delight of eating locally produced, fresh fruit and vegetables, prepared at home in an unhurried manner. For most all of human history, slow food was of course the norm, and the Slow Food movement is one attempt to recapture some of the rhythms and rituals our grandparents and great-grandparents and all those before them had around food.
My wife and I participate in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) which means that for six months we get our produce directly from a local farmer. The produce is delivered each week to a central pick up point, but some weeks we choose instead to drive out to the farm and pick up the produce ourselves, taking time to walk in the fields and see exactly where and how the produce is grown. The quality and freshness of the produce we get from the farm is amazing. Equally amazing has been the chance to directly observe and experience up close the source of the food we are eating.
In last week's column I wrote about how summer is a good time to shift gears, to downshift to a slower pace of living. This week, families especially are shifting gears as their children finish school and as they transition to summer schedules. This presents a great opportunity for families--in fact for all of us--to think more intentionally about the pace of our lives.
The Slow Food movement has been around for twenty-five years, and now there is a parallel grass roots effort to start a “Slow Family” movement. The ideas are similar, to find a way to reconnect with some of the wiser rhythms and rituals of when life was lived at a little slower pace than it is today. Too much fast food, too much “fast family living,” is not good for our health--physically, emotionally and spiritually.
The “Slow Family” movement emphasizes the importance of creating relaxed, unhurried times together. In the words of last week's column, it is creating time for family “saw sharpening.” Each family will have it's own way of doing this, but may include things like a game night, going for a walk or bike ride together, playing in the park, cooking a meal together, or going to church or working on a service project together. Grandparents, godparents, and other extended family members can have a unique role in helping to create slow family time.
When we slow life down, both with our food and our families, life tastes better. We sense things we would not sense otherwise. We become more conscious of the source of our food, and the Source of the love and life that is in our families. As you think about slowing down a little--don't overdo it--don't try to make these changes too fast!! Just choose one thing you can do differently, one thing you can do this week, to slow down your life, your eating, and your family. Experience the difference and let me know how it goes!
(Living Compass has it's own Facebook page. If you are a Facebook user, I hope you will becoming a “friend” of our page and leave a post to let us know your favorite ways to create “Slow Family time.” The link to our page is: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-Compass/259794547710