I witnessed it many times from childhood into my adult life. My mother would be rushing or frantic about something. The more frenzied she’d get, the more my dad would slow down. He would never say anything, but he would become a snail.
I can recall the first time he did it to me. In sixth grade I was in a public school, so that required I go to religion classes on Sunday. Since I was the only one doing this, one of my parents had to make a special trip to get me to church. One Sunday, we were running late. I was frantic. Walking into a class late was a shameful thing to me. It came to pass my dad would drive me.
And he was a snail. He drove super slow. The more I tried to push him, the slower he seemed to go. He made sure we got every red light.
Now I find I am my father’s daughter. At least, I am making every effort to be. After years of being the one who was frantic and frenzied, I now am becoming the one who takes a breath and slows down. This applies mostly to work, where I see teachers overworking themselves, trying to do everything, trying to make sense of things where there is no sense, and basically making themselves crazy. The crazier they are, the more I slow down.
Today, I wrote these words in my journal: Relax into language. That is what my class is about. It isn’t a list of objectives or vocabulary words to memorize. It is about language — how it is used, how it is misused, how it is biased, how it is freeing.
Relax into language. My mantra this week.