To me, I’m fast.
I can usually do things quickly and well-enough.
I can think fast (most of the time); talk fast; walk fast.
In fact, when I was 26 weeks pregnant in my Aqua-Mom class, I water-walked so fast, I could have won a trophy. (It was only later that I realized the other ladies were not in a race. They were enjoying the relaxation, the socialization, the peace and quiet. Oops. Sorry for the wake!)
So, surround me by a culture that prizes FAST, and you’ll understand why, somewhere in my subconscious, I’ve assumed people who are SLOW are wrong.
Really. Morally wrong.Â My confession is that I have subconsciously assumed – once or twice – that if someone is slower than me, she is morally wrong. (Terrible, I know.)
As if she is making a deliberate choice to drag her feet, pause, and produce less stuff.
It’s only recently that I’ve acknowledged that SLOW – in and of itself – is not wrong.
In fact, SLOW is not a moral issue at all. (Of course, in other contexts it is. Being slow-to-obey is wrong. Being slow-to-anger is right. But, for right now, I’m just talking about the tempo of a person’s life.)
In fact, compared to you or Apollo Ohno, even I might be SLOW.
Think about how this plays out in the business world:
The standard of virtue in most offices is set by the guy who works the fastest, thinks the fastest, and produces so much stuff in one week’s time, that he proves you right: he never sleeps. For his company, Fast Worker is the standard of success. He is the “A+”. Unintentionally of course, every other worker is expected to perform at his level. The further they are from his pace, the lower their grade-point-average; the more vulnerable their job security; and the more frustrating they are to the faster workers.
But the secret is that Fast Worker is just fast, that’s all. He was created to be fast. He worked on FAST his whole life, so he’s really good at it now. He got prizes! prizes! prizes! for being fast because everyone from his soccer coach to his typing teacher liked his speedy ways. Of course, there’s always someone faster who is ready to tip the scales. And there are always millions of someones slower who are overlooked by an inaccurate assessment of excellence.
Other people are simply not as fast. They are, dare I say, created to be slower. They have been slow their whole life and are really good at it now. They never got prizes, until they discovered the few golden opportunities in life that allow for slow and steady work – like life-long hobbies, friendships, and woodworking. They’re just as intelligent, and just as valuable. While the fast workers are busy whizzing by, snapping fingers at the slackers, the slow workers learn the value of patience, of doing something right the first time, of sticking around to get to the bottom of something, and of seeing something through to the end.
How does it affect a classroom?
How does it affect a church?
How does it affect a family?
Today, take a deep breath and hug someone slow.
(Who knows? You might just choose to hug me!)