Have you heard the report from Tamar Lewin? That “the average young American now spends practically every minute — except for the time in school – using a smartphone, computer, television or electronic device.” I find it a little high, if true, and sad.
Call me old school, or not ‘techy enough’ but I like the simpler life. But I also know I can probably easily get used to having instant information. I try not to rely too much on it though.
My family still hasn’t seen the real need to be connected all the time. We have a landline phone that works just fine, and can use it whenever we need to. We also have a 10-year old cell phone (with an antenna I might add) that we pay per minute of use. We take it when we go camping or traveling in case of emergency.
We write letters on paper and send them with pretty postage. And go to the post office too. We make cards by hand. And we also send emails and Skype with grandparents and friends living far away.
We don’t have a TV. We watch videos and movies on the computer onto a screen. Like a movie theater. We read together out loud, listen books on CD, listen news on the radio, or computer. We play board games, card games, games in the computer and we play games outside too.
I can see the fun (and need?) of having a smart phone, and being able to check my email and search online whenever I want to. But I can also wait to check my email when I get home and have time to do it. I can also wait to find out the information we need, just a little later. Either online or find it in a book. Sometimes it doesn’t matter. But I can see we are all moving into getting the information almost instantly.
But I don’t want to be dictated by other people’s needs, getting a hold of me all the time. I don’t want to be hurried in my days. I want to be disconnected some times. But I also want to make sure I can get a hold of someone in case of emergency. Emergencies is what keeps me worried and wanting “instant.”
But otherwise, the rest of the time, I don’t want to be connected. I don’t want us to have to do this and that and respond to so many things, we end up hurrying. I don’t want us to have a hurried life, where we loose the art of old things. I want to send handwritten letters on regular mail, and talk to people face to face.
I want to learn to quilt and sew and make clothes and useful things for our home. I want to spin wool and knit it. I want to take time to draw and paint. I want to know where our jam, apple sauce and pickles come from. I want to learn to preserve more so we can eat the summer produce in the winter months. I want to learn to make a fire with flint and steel. I want to learn more about bees by watching them. I want to learn to make something new from something old. I want to see my salad grow in our garden.
And most importantly I think, I want to do all this with my kids, and share time with them, and I want them to learn to do all this too. I want us to be balanced.
That’s why we try to be outside and be disconnected from technology. That’s why we use the computer to learn and study. That’s why we pick berries together and bring them home to can or freeze. That’s why we learn to forage wild foods and go Geocaching too.
I want us to get the best of both worlds. The best of today’s with the amazing technology and efficiency. And the best of old times, when life was much slower and better quality in the things I find relevant for my family. It’s tricky, and I know it’s not the common thing. But we are working on it, and we are trying to balance it all to something we all enjoy.