20 December 2011

Guest post: The importance of "low-tech" hobbies

My wife Anita is back with another guest post! This time, she's talking about how it's helpful to introduce your children to "hands-on," non-electronic hobbies and activities early on. As usual, I've thrown in a few editorial comments, mostly because I just can't help myself.   

Does your child live with a cell phone as an extension of their arm, texting continuously? Do they have any other hobbies? What else do they do for "fun"? Is there something that your child can do that doesn't need electricity or batteries?

Coming from a poor family taught me many cheap ways to entertain myself. It also taught me some skills like writing, drawing, crafting, and reading (like a book). Not only do these things entertain, but they are also good for the soul. To this day, my hobbies relax me and comfort me and keep me busy when I am dealing with something unsettling.

My mother used to do crafts with me as a young child and all through my teen years as well. I think I had more clay than anyone on my street growing up, mainly because mom used to make clay out of flour, salt, and water. She taught me how to use scraps of material and odds-and-ends to make pictures of people, places, and things, and then make up a story about them.

When times get tough and the plug is pulled on our high-tech life in the wake of a disaster, what will your children do to stay occupied? I'm talking about any child, from newborn to teenaged. An infant will need its mother for comfort, not just an electric swing to be soothed. Teenagers who don't have cell phones and iPhones will need to comfort themselves with some other alternative. In a disaster situation, you need to have simple forms of entertainment on hand just to maintain sanity — yours and theirs!

My daughter has been making little clay sculptures since she was 4 or 5. She too used the salt and flour clay that my mother also made for her. (Grandma loved working with clay herself.) In later years when I met Atticus, the two of them made dozens of salt and flour clay Christmas ornaments while I was baking Christmas cookies. They then hand-painted each one, along with my daughter. It was a great family activity, which gave great comfort and enjoyment to the whole family. [Editor's note: "dozens" might be a stretch, but we made a bunch... it was great!]

We didn't need any electricity or mechanical devices for this project. We just talked and used our hands and our minds. In my opinion, we all should get back activities like this from time to time. We don't need a disaster to get close and enjoy a hobby that is old-fashioned and hands-on.

My daughter also beads jewelry. She makes her own designs and patterns to create great wearable pieces of art. She sometimes even makes her own beads and tiny sculptures out of clay and uses them to bead necklaces, earrings and bracelets. My daughter also draws, and writes poetry. I have tried very hard to keep her from being obsessed with the TV- and high-tech world. As an only child, I've always felt it important for her to be able to entertain her mind with her own creativity.

I think it is very important to always have a comforting, soothing hobby to turn to in times of crisis, whether large or small. It should be something that you can do on your own, independently, with no outside help or electricity. Whether it be a natural disaster or you got a bad report card, you can heal by doing something that allows you to say, "I made it myself" — and really mean it. [Editor's note: don't underestimate the need for "soothing" activities to help you relax and unwind; this will be especially important in situations where you're hunkered down, just waiting for the emergency to be over.]

What do you think the children of today will do if they have to go "back in time" without all the "tech toys"? What will you do in that event?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your post, I want to try to make more things by hand so that I can stay active without using electricity for everything.