Friday, May 8, 2009

Simplifying - Technology as Timesaver or Timewaster?

We had our yard sale a couple of weeks ago and actually made a nice little amount of money, I think it's such a wonderful way to de-clutter and make a little extra cash, if you aren't people living on a strict budget as a one income family like we are then why not have a great big yard sale and give the proceeds to charity or use it to buy groceries for a needy family, I have no doubt that most of us have at least 10 needy families within a 20 mile radius of our homes. If we all really worked hard to simplify our homes having yard sales or simply taking our extra stuff to Goodwill/St. Vincent etc., then we could probably feed and clothe a lot of families out there...and truthfully it just takes a little bit of work and then put it all out on your driveway, somebody always wants your stuff, I promise you that!!!!

The truth is I just love getting rid of things, which makes me wonder why I get them in the first place. I am not one to get caught up with getting the next best thing, I've seen way too many of these things fall by the wayside when others purchase them and are very dissatisfied with them, so they sit and are never used and what a waste of our hard earned money!
I try to live by the theory that if it is not used, loved, antique or precious to someone it is out of here...we all live with way too much stuff, I know that my grandparents did not have the things we do today and they lived very well. They did not rely on the convenience items we rely on today, they used their own hands and those of their kids, friends, neighbors and had a very strong work ethic, no sitting around for their kids, Sunday was a day of rest but the rest of the week you worked because it needed to be done. My grandma served three full meals a day and those meals were made of what grew on their farm or they bartered to get at their general store, maybe their eggs for a bag of flour etc., that's just the way it worked and sitting by idly did not get those meals on the table. Those kids knew where their food came from because they were very hands on in it getting it to the table, chicks came in mail and they had to be nurtured, fed and cared for in the spring, it would get cold so they had to have some warm lights or lamps in the chicken coop and then would have to check on them through the night so they did not smother each other trying to get to the heat, those chicks weren't cute little pets, they were going to be full meals in a few months. They rode horses so they had to be cared for, cattle had to be fed, milked etc., there were all the farm animals to take care of and then you had to put in the garden and take care of it, gardens don't just take care of themselves, there's a lot of hard work put into having a garden, especially one large enough to sustain a family of 11. Of course a huge part of caring for the animals and gardens outside was keeping the unwanted critters away...that would try to take off with the farm animals or eat up the garden, truly they worked from before dawn to after dusk, because if they didn't work they didn't eat, you did what had to be done.

Sometimes Wildcat Man (who grew up in the city) will say "I just don't know how to do that, we didn't have to do that at home". Well, this means we go to our books, Internet, parents, friends or whoever until we find out how to do something, I know his parents knew how to do things, they renovated an entire house from top to bottom all by themselves, but that was when he was young and after they finished I guess they were tired of being DIYers and called repairmen to have things fixed so he had no need to learn those things. I was raised in a home where we got our hands in and tried to fix something, if absolutely necessary we would call someone in but my mother, step-father and my father are all hands on people and truly seem to relish the challenge of fixing something...I guess that runs in our blood because I'm the same way, I love to figure things out. Most of the time these days Wildcat Man will say, you tell me how to do it and I'll do it, so together we can figure out most things!

Today's kids sit on their bottom playing video games and truly wouldn't know how to function in my grandparents time, isn't that sad? They have no work ethic bred in them because they don't have to do anything, their parents work and don't teach them how to take care of things around the house...they buy them things to appease them and are so tired from working themselves that they would rather 'do it themselves' than to have their kids work along with them, very sad...and we're raising a generation of helpless slugs which makes you wonder what will happen to the next generation?

I believe it's our duty as their parents to make sure they leave our home as functioning people, did you know that statistics show that the average college graduate has no idea how to take care of themselves? One survey I saw said that 75% of college graduates have never balanced a checkbook, sadly they have never done it because they don't know how!!! Another survey I saw said that only 8% of college graduates could actually plan, shop, cook and cleanup a meal for a family of 4...wow now that is sad. Yes, it is our duty to teach them how to fix something that is broken, plan a week of meals and make them do laundry, scrub floors, sinks, toilets, tubs...care for the lawn, keep a tidy room, etc. These are not things that are luxuries in life, they're things that are necessary to live in a clean, safe environment. It really only takes putting a broom in their hands and showing them how to sweep a floor one time to teach them, it's not difficult it's just that folks don't want to fight with their children so they don't make them work around the house. Our mother was not one to be shy about making us work around the house, we knew how to do things whether we wanted to do them or not and the option of not wanting to do it was not there...yes, we respected our mother....we learned very early in life to respect her and to move quickly when told to do something! Did we fear her...you bet and today as adults we still respect her and simply adore her!

I love the idea of earth day but I think we should have a full earth day every week, 24 hours of unplugging everything unnecessary and driving only for work or emergencies. Not only would this give our earth a break, it would make us learn how to do things without technology and that would be a very good thing for us and our children. Do we know how to build a fire?, cook over an open flame?, make sun tea? Imagine no technology for 24 hours...I wonder if we could do it? We might find out that we really like just sitting and chatting with our family, reading aloud, singing together...we may even finally talk to our next door neighbors that we've never actually met....yes that could be a very good thing!

We might even get some good use out of those front porches that stay empty while we're in front of the television!

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