Slow Family Living :: Bernadette Noll

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Lucky Star and Slow Family Living are teaming up to bring you a BiG GIVEAWAY!  One lucky woman will win free tuition* for Lucky Star Art Camp, a women’s art and whole living sleep away camp taking place on the Guadalupe River in the Texas hill country this October 9-13, 2013 (worth $875). They will also win a copy of Bernadette Noll’s book “Slow Family Living”. Will it be you? This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss, so read on and enter to win today! The giveaway ends September 2nd at 11:59 p.m.

* Tuition does not include room & board, travel expenses, or any applicable class supply fees. Visit www.luckystarartcamp.com for more details about Lucky Star Art Camp and www.slowfamilyliving.com to learn more about Slow Family Living.

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I recently discovered Bernadette Noll and her concept of “Slow Family”.  I’m so glad I did because the more I read and learn about her concept of Slow Family Living, the happier I am that we finally connected.  This concept of appreciating every step of the family experience for good or for bad, and doing so with intention is brilliant!  It’s what I strive for within my own family, and some days are better than others, but I can use all the help I can get!  Take a look at my interview with her below to get an idea of what she and “Slow Family Living” are all about.  For a chance to win the giveaway, keep reading to the end.  I think you all will love her!

Can you explain the concept of “Slow Family Living” and where the idea originated?
The idea of Slow Family is that you do things with intention, with thought, with joy and with connection to each other and to the process. It came about several years ago when I was doing a Family Mission Statement workshop with my friend Carrie Contey. and about 5 or 6 couples. One of the recurring complaints folks had about raising a family was this idea that there was a lot of pressure to do things they didn’t necessarily want to do with their families or to do things a certain way with this underlying fear that if they didn’t they would somehow be left behind – things like join teams or have extra tutoring or even show up at birthday parties. We joked that, like Slow Food, there needed to be Slow Family. That evening, after everyone left, Carrie and I sat down and wrote the manifesto. The words we wrote that day nearly 7 years ago are the same ones in the manifesto today.

Tell us about a time when you have actually put your “Slow Family Living” ideas to the test with your own family.
Well, every day I try to do something to build connection and to have fun. Things as simple as making eye contact when we talk rather than calling to the kids from across the room. Putting screens down when someone is talking to me. Pausing randomly just for a hug. Listening more. Making time on the weekends that are just family. Having family appreciation dinners. And then bigger things like road trips together or even having a day where everyone plays hooky together! It doesn’t have to be this major thing, it can be just little shifts in how you decide to be when you’re all together.

Did you go to camp as a child? How do you feel about the idea of sleepaway camps, like Lucky Star Art Camp, for grown-ups?
I only went to one sleepaway camp as a teen and that was to a sports camp. My summers were pretty idyllic though because at 11 we moved onto a house on a lake – just hours and days spent hanging out, swimming, having cousins over for weeks at a time and pretty much living in our swimsuits. I love the idea of an art camp for women, specifically mamas because so much of the time we are SO distracted!!!! To have a few days without kids to be with other women to talk uninterrupted, to have a focus on creativity, to have time to think, breathe, make, and see a project to completion is, to me, is about the best way ever to fill one’s cup. Then we can go home, cups full, ready to pour out some more to our families, our jobs, our homes, and all the obligations that are part of our lives.

What would you say to someone who loves the idea of sleepaway camp, but is having a hard time carving out the space in their family life to get away?
First, figure out what’s blocking you. Is it a feeling of guilt? That folks won’t be able to survive without you? That you don’t deserve it? Then imagine how you will feel when you are there and when you leave! So free, so happy, and so satisfied! Next, share your excitement. Tell them that you really feel a little overwhelmed by leaving and that you really need their encouragement and support to make it happen. Then tell them that when you return you will feel so much happier! And ask them, even the little ones, to wish you well in this pursuit. They get it. And if you talk about it ahead of time, and say it with enthusiasm, it’ll be contagious.
Carrie Contey talks about modeling self-care for our children. If we don’t model it, how will they learn it? Will they learn it by us taking care of them? Or will they learn it by us taking care of ourselves? When we tend to ourselves we are teaching our children that we are worth it and that we are strong, creative women who have great ideas! They will then feel that way about themselves when they are adults.

What are your goals for “Slow Family Living” and the “Slow Family Movement”?
First of all my goals are to encourage families to do things in the way that works for them. Not to subscribe to some specific method or rules, but rather to ask every day, “Is what we’re doing working for us?” “Is this what we want?” “Is it bringing us the connection we want?” “Are we having fun?” Ask every day. Then, if something’s not working, figure out how you can change it right away or further down the road. If it is, high five yourselves and keep going! So many messages we get are that family life is something to be endured, survived. Slow Family is about finding connection and creating joy in the process. Whether you are a single working parent, or a stay-at-home mama, a parent of one or of ten, Slow Family is about doing things intentionally, connected to self, to the process and to each other. For now, and for a lifetime of family connection.
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  1. […] they really love. And while dreaming up this summer camp idea, I got an email from the creator of Lucky Star Art Camp, Lisa Hamlyn […]