Tip #20: Memorize this: “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”
The sun has yet to rise. My toes are cold. It’s 31 degrees and only moonlight reveals our way. We are at 10,000 feet and have over 4,000 more to go. There is an ice field to traverse and then the more technical climb begins.
Our guide, Nate, says with a disarmingly quiet voice, “Just remember: slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”
This is the living definition of a good guide. He led me to a path – that I would never have seen on my own – and gently delivered a mental framework that equipped me to take a first step and keep going.
Then, he trusted me.
He walked ahead and didn’t often look back. But somehow he predicted my needs. He had the right tools available. (Poles for the ice climb. First aid for our dog when he fell into a crevasse.)
He never sped me up nor slowed me down. He never questioned my ability nor did he give me lectures or instructions even though I’d never done anything like this before.
He led me out of my panic zones with simple stories. (“…so I knew always to look up, not down…”).
The climb and descent were memorable, but it was Nate’s simple phrase that impacted me the most: “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”
These words aptly reflect Maria Montessori’s science of “waiting for the child” and how I want to relate to my children as their guide and parent.
If I can remember not to rush the learning, the growing and the living, then I can be more contented, peaceful and encouraging. I can reach new heights in the nitty gritty of human living and be a better role model to my boys.
Nate’s guiding me up Castle Peak reflected our vision of the journey at Acton. We give the young heroes tools and frameworks. We share stories of heroes and callings. We show them the path and then trust them to claim their own journey along it. We don’t take the struggle of the climb away because then we rob them of the joy of doing it on their own.
Now is the time for us to savor watching our children discover who they were born to be. Let’s remind each other not to rush the learning. Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.