By Dusty Kinslow
“Festina Lente” essentially means to “make haste slowly.” A more modern maxim is “Measure twice, cut once.” It is about taking the time to do things well the first time.
For example, have you ever had a Saturday when you had lots of errands to run and things to accomplish, but you didn’t take the time to plan your day? One recent weekend, I had several errands I needed to finish but didn’t spend any time the night before, or even that morning, to plan. I ended up driving (with the kids!!) all over town and getting about half of what I needed to accomplish complete. It was maddening!
It’s also like going to the grocery store because you know that you really need to but you don’t take the time to make the list. You end up buying things you don’t need and not having all of the things you do need. You are in the middle of making that delicious casserole your kids all love (right?) and realize you forgot that can of chicken and mushroom soup. Again, maddening.
This is where the principle of “festina lente” can be applied. Slowing down to plan the day saves time in the long run. This applies to our days at home, as well. In the UMS model, parents serve as co-teachers. It makes such a difference in our success as co-teachers if we will take the time to look over the lessons and plan our school day before we begin. We will make more progress than if we just rush headlong into the day. Supplies will be gathered, hearts will be prepared, progress will be made and frustrations will be lessened because we have taken the time to make ourselves ready. The same is true of our weeks; taking time on Sunday evening to plan for the coming week (meals, meetings, activities) is time well spent, especially if we submit the week to God in prayer, asking Him to order our steps aright.
I would also pause here to say that I find it useful to include my husband in the planning of the week. Simply asking, “Honey, do you have anything I need to include on the calendar?” communicates respect and unity. It is also important to communicate the week’s schedule to him. For example, “This is what we have coming up this week. Is this all okay?” puts everyone on the same page and shows honor and submission to our husbands.
In our model of schooling, we grasp “festina lente” when we see the list of assignments to check off for the day, and rather than rushing through them, we instead slow down to check for mastery. Mastery is what we want. While it is tempting to push through so that we can finish each piece of curriculum, it would serve us well to remember those books are just tools to teach math or spelling or Latin. The books are only maps to show us where to go- they don’t always determine how fast we get there. At Austin Classical, we are more concerned with mastery than with making it to the end of the book. We want to “make haste slowly.”