"Dear Vonnie" Doing Things the Hard Way


I have a pet peeve:

Children don't know how to do things the hard way.

As a teacher, it was frustrating to me to have kids not know how to tie their shoes because they grew up with velcro sneakers. Some had trouble buttoning their shirts straight. They couldn't tell time because they had digital watches. They complained if the microwave didn't work, and something needed to be heated on the stove.

We live in a time when everything is so fast and easy that we've forgotten how to work. I think we have become lazy as we acquire more and more appliances and tools. I realize that our life is made better, but we forget how to do thing without the conveniences.

When is the last time you sewed on a button with needle and thread?
Do you hang clothes on the line in the summertime?
Has your child ever seen yeast make bread rise?
Do they know how to use a broom?
Have they helped you make a cake or cookies without a mix?
Have they ever watched a cow being milked or gathered eggs?
Do they know that potatoes grow underground?
Have they ever pumped water from a well?
Have they washed a whole day's dishes without a dishwasher?
Have a they written a letter with paper and pen?

I'm not saying we should live this way all the time, but our children just do not know what life is like without electricity or grocery stores or machines. They need to know where we started-- how many people in the world still live. It will help them appreciate how much they have been blessed with.

Camping is a great tool to learn the basics of life. Cooking over a fire teaches many lessons. Just living a week without TV or phone or computers would be a drastic change for many children. It would be good for them to hike and swim and talk and play together.

If God calls your child to be a missionary on a foreign field. It would be nice if the culture gap was not too wide. It's hard enough to learn a new language and customs without having to learn to live close to nature.

"Hard work builds character." I'm a strong believer in making children do chores. All my kids, boys and girls, cooked and washed clothes (we did use a washing machine) and stacked wood and washed dishes and sewed on buttons. We enjoyed our toys, but I didn't want them to think that's the way life is all the time.

So, get back to basics. Walk to the store, visit a farm, shovel the driveway, plant a garden, and learn to live the hard way.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tough to think of, but we may end up going back
to basics. Good to know how before we need it.
And children should know how to do things the hard way. Sunny

Proverbs 27:19 said...

My husband and I have had similar conversations pertaining to this. This had added something more for us to talk about.

smooches,
Larie

Johnnie said...

Aldo Leopold said something like this: there are two spiritual dangers from not growing up on a farm -- not knowing where your heat comes from and not knowing where your food comes from.

I admit my kids (mostly grownup) missed out on that kind of childhood and it makes me sad. But when I tell them that, they roll their eyes and exchange furtive looks with one another.

Vonnie, thanks for your comment on my site. Please feel free to email me at johnnie.donley at ymail.com.

LauraLee Shaw said...

Such great parenting wisdom as usual, Vonnie. I certainly missed out growing up (for different reasons), but because of that, it's hard to pass it on to my kids. Got me motivated, tho. ;)

Dee Yoder said...

I did get to experience many of these things as a kid, Vonnie, at my grandparent's farms and even in my own suburban neighborhood because my parents were so independent-minded. And at the time, I stored up the knowledge, without realizing it, to help me later in life. (Like how to sow a garden.) But I'm such a city-girl wimp now that I don't want to repeat them! However, it did teach us all a lesson when our electricity was off during the ice storm we had a few years back: go to the hotel SOONER rather than later. LOL. (Oh, I'm afraid that I have become such a pathetic electricity-addicted cry baby.)

Deb said...

Living in the deep south and homeschooling our kids, we've been blessed to show them how to..as we put it..'get real'. My kids have learned to do plenty 'the hard way'..not always with a smile on their face either...but DH and I feel it's very important to make sure that they know how to truly take care of themselves and someone else with little or nothing to do it with. They have raised milk goats and know how to milk them and process that milk in order to drink it..they know how to plant and tend a garden as well as how to can that food. DS knows how to work on everything from a weed eater to a car and DD knows the basics of that at the very least. Like I said, they don't always have a smile on their face when those learning times come, but I agree with you, I think we do our kids a disservice when they can't do the very basic of life skills.
Blessings to you,
Deb

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