NPR’s “This I Believe” podcast is one of my favorites. The shows are always short, and almost always quite poignant. This week, Phil Power’s essay (shared in his own voice) titled “The Practice of Slowing Down” is outstanding. This resonates with me. I like the following two quotations particularly:

In times of crisis, pace comes to my aid. Another of Petzoldt’s lessons was when faced with an emergency, sit down, collect yourself, make a plan. When needs seem most urgent — even life-threatening — the practice of slowing down offers calm and clarity.


There is magic in any faith. Every once in a while, rushing about, my belief in pace rises up, slows me down and grants me a view of a sunset, a smile from a stranger or a conversation with a child. I owe these moments to what I learned from an old mountain climber and have practiced ever since.

The pace of the world today, moving as much of it is “at the speed of creativity,” is much faster than our natural, biological pace. We need to slow down. We need to pace ourselves. We need to remember “the rest step” that Paul Petzoldt taught Phil as a young 19 year old. I am reminded of the book “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” by Richard Louv. I want my own children to grow up in a natural environment like Phil did, where they can explore and have frequent times of free, unstructured play in that world.

At Philmont Scout Ranch as a teenager climbing Baldy Mountain, I remember being taught the rest step by my Scoutmaster, Ray Hightower. Later in life, as a ranger for 2 summers at Philmont, I passed this lesson on to the scouts and adults in the crews I worked with. The rest step is vital in climbing mountains, and in walking through the journey of life.

Thanks to Phil for sharing this story, and thanks to the Scout mentors and others in my life who have encouraged me to strive for tall peaks– while maintaining a “rest step.” It’s a lesson I want to pass on to my own children, and need to be reminded of regularly in the frenetic pace of our “modern” culture.

Lubbock Sunset

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, consider subscribing to Wes' free, weekly newsletter. Generally Wes shares a new edition on Monday mornings, and it includes a TIP, a TOOL, a TEXT (article to read) and a TUTORIAL video. You can also check out past editions of Wes' newsletter online free!

Did you know Wes has published several eBooks and "eBook singles?" 1 of them is available free! Check them out! Also visit Wes' subscription-based tutorial VIDEO library supporting technology integrating teachers worldwide!

MORE WAYS TO LEARN WITH WES: Do you use a smartphone or tablet? Subscribe to Wes' free magazine "iReading" on Flipboard! Follow Dr. Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also "like" Wes' Facebook page for "Speed of Creativity Learning". Don't miss Wesley's latest technology integration project, "Show With Media: What Do You Want to CREATE Today?"

On this day..

Share →

6 Responses to Value of Slowing Down

  1. Your comments remind me of a book I read about five years ago, parts of still which are somehow embedded in my memory: Faster details the acceleration of just about everything, and lends some credence to the idea that we do need to slow down.

    And finally, the second quote you include above evokes a Dar Williams lyric:

    “But we love trees, we love the snow, the friends we have, the world we share
    And you find magic from your God, and we find magic everywhere”

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    Thanks for the recommendations Steve! These look great.

  3. Raj Boora says:

    I remember commenting on something like this a while back somewhere when the topic was about how much do we want to be plugged in all the time, creating in a digital space that moves as fast as it can.

    My comment was that without taking the time to slow down, the speed becomes irrelevant and the work pointless. It doesn’t matter what you can do unless you can take time to reflect on why and how “it” was done. We never appreciate the sun without the clouds, joy without sorrow, and now “twichspeed” without “no-speed”.

  4. Kyle Stevens says:


    I was attracted to the NPR series about a month ago. Since then I have listened to the achieved audio essays and after playing several in my English class challenged my students to write an essay of their own. Next week my students will refine their essays and we will begin recording these essays to add to their blogs. Most of them have enjoyed the experience and found it difficult to write about something in which they believe.

    Kyle Stevens

  5. Wesley Fryer says:

    That is great Kyle!!! Please let me know when those podcasts are available, I would like to check them out and also share the links with others here.

  6. […] I have to thank Wes Fryer for his “Value of Slowing Down” post which reminded me that I had wanted to blog about this! […]

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Made with Love in Oklahoma City