Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More Than Just Antiques

For thousands of years people had knowledge of foods and herbs.   A good woman's worth was tangible. She was an asset to her husband, and he was richer for having her.  She could cook from scratch, weave, or knit or sew up clothing and curtains, doctor up a wound, use healing herbs, plow a garden, grow vegetables, butcher meat, churn butter, bake bread, make cheese, and preserve food through drying, smoking, canning and fermenting.  I'm sure that my list is short compared to all the other things she could do.  It is truly shameful that these wonderful things stopped being passed down from one generation to another.  Modern life came and interrupted.  Grandmas knowledge became "cute" and "quaint".  
But today everywhere we look, people can be seen gazing and tapping into cell phones, gawking at video games, staring at televisions and transfixed by computers.  This country has developed into a nation dependent on electric and battery powered gadgets.  But consider for a moment and imagine what would happen if you became ill and couldn't work, or if an earthquake or hurricane or bomb left your community devastated. It happens.

When unexpected disasters happen, people who are even a little prepared are much better off than those who have taken their dependence on outside resources for granted. When you imagine the security of not having to worry about going to the store for even a few weeks, a comprehensive storage system begins to make sense.Considering these issues, the "information age" appears more like a backward regression to me. 

 The Bible tells us that the our flesh is lazy and we naturally seek the easier way of doing things. It takes effort to put off laziness and seek wisdom and knowledge.  But the rewards are worth effort. 

Before the 20th century, many people understood how to use the soil to grow things, how to distinguish one wild berry from another and how to survive without the "help" of governments.  In fact, they considered accepting charity a real blow to their dignity.  Men wanted to work for money.  Now, many men are standing on corners with cardboard signs with no problem beggin for a hand out.  Only this generation of men are spending it on their addictions rather than food for their families.

Job 21:14  Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.

Today, we see far too many pasty and sickly children with callouses on their finger tips from all the texting and video game buttons.

Pr 20:21 An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.

Country folks are ridiculed by city slickers because they are "backward" and modern ways are so much better.  But modern living is rather artificial don't you think?   If money and electricity were suddenly gone, I wonder how many would starve or use violence to take what those with and self-sufficiency skills have worked hard to achieve.

I do love electricity  and the ability to flip a switch and have my "servants" (major appliances) wash my clothes and dishes!  But I think it's wise to acquire knowledge on how to accomplish household tasks without modern conveniences if need be.  If I ever get my hands on a wash tub and clothes line, I'm going to declare Pioneer Week at our house and have a ball doing the wash and hanging it on the line with my kids on a warm summer day.  

I canned for the first time in my life last month. I do not currently own a canner, (though I hope to get one in the future)  but I didn't let that stop me.  I just used kitchen tongs, a great big pot and some pint mason jars and got to work. It went really well and I canned 5 pints of blueberry jam. My 12 yr old son even helped me and learned a lot in the process.  It must be wonderful to be taught this kind of thing by a loving grandmother, mother or aunt.  But for those of us who don't have such privileges, there are tutorials and books. 

If you have the kind of skills that are rapidly becoming "extinct" in our society, I encourage you to pass them on.  Invite groups to your home and show them how it's done.  We don't have to capitalize on everything.  Skills like these are probably availabe through different community venues, but when a family is already struggling in this economy, why not donate your time and skills to those in need?  Local homeschool groups are a ready and willing recipient of such offers.
Such genorosity is almost unheard of.  But it's a seed that will produce a harvest of self sufficiency and bless generations to come.

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