Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Technology is making me backwards

I realise that what I am about to write could well raise the ire of those of you without a dishwasher.  I am well aware that there are many many people way less fortunate than me who make do without fancy technology, many who make do without electricity.  Or houses.

But today my dishwasher broke and it cannot be fixed for a few days.  Therefore I will have to get my hands wet and dirty and wash dishes the old fashioned way.  In the sink.  With my hands.  Having lived in a house with a dishwasher for five years now, it has been a while since I have had to wash dishes by hand.

(Of course, there was the six weeks earlier this year where I was washing dishes in the bath tub when our kitchen was being redone, but that probably doesn't count.  Actually, it's something I prefer not to think about.)

My point though, is not to moan that I might have to do some actual work, but to point out that there are basic skills we are losing because technology is there to do it for us.  And our children will not know any different.

The Blonde Bombshell, at three and a half, knows how to load and unload a dishwasher.  She knows how to fill the washing machine, where to put the detergent, and which buttons to press to start a load*.  She knows how to put a DVD in the machine and turn the TV on.  She knows how to use a computer and how to send text messages on a mobile phone (I didn't teach her that!).

And I guess it is my job as a mum to make sure she grows up knowing how to wash dishes properly by hand, how to cook a meal from scratch, how to build a cubby out of chairs and old sheets, how to make paper mache and how to amuse herself without staring at the TV or relying on computers and electronic gizmos. 

I guess she needs to learn to be a kid 'like in the olden days'... when we used to catch lizards after school, and use an old icecream bucket of water to paint the fence or driveway.  When we could spend an entire weekend building a mini golf course in the backyard out of nothing more than plastic piping and bits of wood (thanks Dad xxx).  Where a grassy slope and old cardboard box made for a rollercoaster and some borrowed props and plenty of imagination made for a crowd-pleasing variety show.

So in the spirit of technology-free childhoods, I guess it will be acceptable if we eat off paper plates for the next few days.  Picnics in the backyard and tea parties on the floor.  Nothing to do with the fact that I don't want to wash dishes, you see, just making it fun for my children!

*Before the overly concerned amongst you call Child Protective Services, I am NOT using my daughter as child labour.  She's just a very useful engine**

**Yes, I am aware my child is not actually a train.  She is a human being.  She just likes Thomas the Tank Engine and being told she is helpful.

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