Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Slow Down You Move Too Fast

sun shining with butterfly flitting around - slow down

Today's blog is inspired by Jacqueline Woodson's TedTalk "What Reading Slowly Taught Me About Writing." Jacqueline talks about how the speed reading craze impacted her ability to write. Like Jacqueline, I was a child of the '70s and remember how much this effort affected reading in my family.

I was a good student and a fast reader. I could either read a book out loud or on a speed reading machine (we didn't have computers in schools then) with good speed. Unfortunately when tested for reading comprehension, I didn't do so well. Speed does not equate to comprehension. Because I liked getting good grades, I had to compromise speed for understanding. In a setting like grade school, I felt like a failure. The whole experience put a damper on reading until the early 2000s when I became involved in the Professional Reading Program.

Speed reading nearly did my sister in. She was a much slower reader than I was and could never get the hang of reading. As I look back on things, she was probably much like Jacqueline and liked to use her finger to follow the words. Not only did my sister develop and dislike for reading, but her whole love of learning was compromised. She struggled deeply in school.

Some of us humans have a "need for speed." So much so that we fail to slow down and savor whatever we should be savoring. We rush, rush, rush. We miss out on the very thing(s) we are trying to enjoy. We rush from meeting to meeting. We put out fire after fire (literally and figuratively). Life is one big rat race. Maybe it is time we slow down a bit and take a tip from Simon and Garfunkel. I'll meet you on the 59th Street Bridge!

The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)
Simon & Garfunkel

Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy
Ba da da da da da da, feelin’ groovy

Hello, lamppost, what’cha knowin’?
I’ve come to watch your flowers growin’
Ain’t’cha got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in doo-doo, feelin’ groovy
Ba da da da da da da, feelin’ groovy

I got no deeds to do
No promises to keep
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me
Life, I love you
All is groovy

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Digging a Little Deeper
  • Listen to Jacqueline Woodson's story.
  • Leaders are readers and writers. Is there something you can learn from Jacqueline's story? Are you making time to savor the story?
  • Make a plan to slow down and enjoy what life has to offer.

Pam McDonald is a writer/editor for BLM Wildland Fire Training and Workforce Development and member of the NWCG Leadership Subcommittee. The expressions are those of the author.

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