The Treat of Doing Less







One of the things I look forward to in Ramadan is the excuse to say ‘no’. ‘No’, we won’t be attending that function; ‘no’ we can’t meet up that week; ‘no’ my child won’t be committing to sports class this month; ‘no’ we aren’t going to the beach/farm/park/whatever. No. The smallest word we own, yet so hard to say sometimes.

I’m a great advocate of letting children get bored. I see myself as their mother, not their PA, and although as a homeschooling mum that means planning everything from education to days out, I make a careful choice to keep plenty of time free for nothing whatsoever. It’s intentional. Children need to play. Too many people schedule the hell out of their children’s lives so that they never have any down time. The belief that down time is ‘wasted’ is another insidious pathological facet of modern living that has crept up on us. Children live in a bubble of frenzied activity, readying them for adult lives of total busy-ness in the belief that this makes them ‘useful’. How these children ever get time and head space to have their own thoughts and own ideas is beyond me.

So having an excuse to cut down on the commitments we DO have and declare a ‘no one in, no one out’ rule for a whole month? Well, it’s a treat, really. It’s a slow, quiet time of nothing, but everything. Ideas are born (and die), books are re-read, the art shelves ransacked, creative ideas are given space to breathe.

And somewhere deep inside, a frazzled part of me, the part that is always rushing to catch up, or rushing onto the next task, or planning for the next week, gets a chance to pick up the pieces, calm down, stop and see whats around and enjoy the very real treat of just having time to be.

Doing less is a real blessing.


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