I am a proponent of technology. In many ways, the continuing advancement of technology makes our lives easier, compact, and self-sufficient. At the click of a mouse or the swipe of a finger on a smart phone, we can basically run and execute our lives from anywhere at anytime. Modern technology has advanced the health care industry, the automotive industry and even the food industry to the point of making our lives, for the most part, better.
So why am I left with the overwhelming feeling that this is such a bad thing?
For every good that happens, there is a bad. A downside. A 'giving up' of some sorts. Certain abilities and talents become compromised and when they're not used on a regular basis, those talents and abilities become lost. Extinct. This is why the continuing evolution of technology bothers me. Let me explain...
While technology for the most part has made our lives better, it has also made us weak, lazy, and socially inept. Families no longer sit together at the dinner table and actually talk to each other. Nope. That's all been replaced with texting - to the point that even people who live in the same house, who are home at the same time, will text each other to communicate instead of having quality family time together or communicate face to face. In some schools, children are no longer required to learn cursive, nor are they required to learn the basics of letter formation. The modern age's reasoning? Why bother - a computer will take care of it for you. Most cashiers I encounter can't even make change unless a computer or calculator is telling them how to do it - we're talking basic math, people. And we've become so gadget demanding that we no longer appreciate the feeling of an actual book in our hands. Nope - those ancient things called books have been replaced by Nooks and Kindles. All of these things and more I've come to dub "The Lost Arts."
I refuse to let my daughter go through life without mastering these lost arts. In so many ways, I consider myself to be progressive in thought, creativity, politics, lifestyle and more. However in many ways, I'm a traditionalist. Call me crazy, but there are so many basic things in life we should all know how to do without having to rely on a computer, smart phone, or fancy application.
To you, Madeline, I promise the following:
- You will know how to speak properly and will know how to carry on good conversations without the help or assistance of a cell phone. Good ol eye to eye contact and moving your lips will suffice just fine.
- You will know how to write - you will know how to properly form a letter, a resume, a thank you card, and how to properly address an envelope (You wouldn't believe how many people in this day and age don't know how to do this).
- You will not read a book from an electronic device. You will learn to appreciate the feeling of paper to skin, the smell of a book when you open it, and the joy of collecting your favorite authors visibly on a bookshelf.
- Instead of being stuck in front of a computer, ipod, Nintendo, or ipad all day long, you will actually go outside and play in the world. Make mud pies. Enjoy a slip and slide. Make up plays and act them out with friends. You know, actually use your mind to be creative and to keep yourself busy and occupied. This world is big and tough - you will never find your place in it if you're not out in it.
- You will learn how to write in cursive.
- You will know how to make change and how to balance your check book.
- You will know how to read a map and how to use it. A Garmin won't always get you to where you need to be.
- You will not get gastric bypass, lypo or botox at the age of 12. Sorry. Learn to love the body you've been given.
- You will put actual pen to paper and write letters.
- You will know how to read a ruler and cooking measurements.
All of these abilities and more, the Lost Arts, I want for my daughter. We should all want to know them for ourselves. It is possible to live in an age of technology without losing basic and fundamental components of living and socializing. Technology isn't a bad thing but how good can we be as a society, as individuals, and as a whole if we lose these basic abilities? Technology will only take us so far. The rest we have to know how to do and appreciate on our own.
Just some food for thought on a Wednesday. What are some skills that you want your children to carry with them through their lives?