Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Are we really better off? (Idle hands make mischief?)

Although it has been ages since I’ve acknowledged my purpose for this blog—“Homemaking and Motherhood”—I would like to continue with answering another question that I set out to answer. But let me preface it by saying when I sat to write what you’ll read below, it was not for the intent of continuing my quest into “Homemaking and Motherhood”…it just so happens it fits. I’d love some feedback if you feel so inclined to share your thoughts.

I have been wondering lately whether or not we really are better off these days with all of our timesaving luxuries; “gadgets and gizmos aplenty”. All around us we see ads and commercials, billboards and storefronts telling us that we just can’t live without. Simple things like an electric can opener, a dishwasher and microwave…these have become commonplace and just a part of life. They aren’t even looked at as luxuries anymore. A washing machine and clothes dryer are a necessity! Are these things really making my life easier? Maybe easier isn’t necessarily better for my soul! We’ve been reading the Little House series in our home lately and watching things such as “Colonial House” on PBS and I think there is something frighteningly comforting to me about living in those times. Everything you do in a day was to ensure your survival! Proverbs 16:26 says “The person who labors, labors for himself, For his hungry mouth drives him on.” You worked to provide food and shelter for you and your family or for you neighbor. There was NO room for idleness and sloth. They taught their children survival skills as early as they could. Young boys chopped wood and plowed fields; young girls baked bread and milked the cow. The children had their times of play but when they did they enjoyed themselves because it was relished. There was very little room for mischief.

I see my life as one long spare moment followed by another. The dishwasher washes my dishes, the washing machine washes my clothes and dries them. And the biggest and best thing of all—the market provides EVERYthing else. I don’t need to bake bread or grow vegetables or milk the cow…what a waste of my time. Time that can be used to PLAY…and to teach my children to play! We watch TV, play video games, sit and do nothing because “there’s nothing to do”.

Proverbs is full of caution against being lazy! “Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, And an idle person will suffer hunger.” Proverbs 19:15

“He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.” Proverbs 10:4

“The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.” Proverbs 13:4

I truly wish to escape this vicious cycle that seems to have overcome my life. It’s overwhelming at times. I wonder why I feel so paralyzed at times with confusion of what to do next…it’s not because I have too much to do, but possibly because I don’t have enough to do to keep my hands from mischief. Or that I don’t know what to do to keep my hands from mischief. Yes, I think to most it may sound like I’ve gone off the deep end. You might say, “Well, you have a choice, you don’t have to use all those gadgets and gizmos aplenty.” But I never gained the knowledge or know-how to even know where to begin.

May God grant wisdom, courage and diligence to a struggling sinner.


JamesoftheNorthwest said...

There is a pattern in technolgoical development by which desire for leisure time fueled so much.

Even our ancestors strove to work their butts off in order to have opportunity to LIVE a more "free" existance.

Who doesn't look forward to retirement? The chance to do what YOU want to do!

I think the issue isn't so much the gadgets, but the human soul and what it opts to do with its leisure time. All these gadgets have simply provided us with another in a long set of moral dilemmas - what to do with all the free time.

Yes, the older generations had no such luxury and thus they didn't face this struggle. Maybe the solution isn't to dump the gadgets, but to seek to do something more holy with one's freetime? See it as a gift to laugh, play, and teach your children...or to pray more...or to help someone in need...or to have your husbands sandals, sweatpants, and cold beer ready when he gets home? :)

You've heard the phrase: Wherever you go, there you are. It is so true...all the marvels in the world cannot change the human heart...we will seemingly always find some evil use for things.

All of this being said...I think you are right about idle hands and laziness. Coming home to face the need for hammering nails, I think has been a blessing to me...there is a peace that comes with industriousness.

But even God Himself tells us to rest and relax on a regular basis (We all know how easy THAT is to do!)

Mimi said...

Both of you have hit the nail on the head, I think. It isn't necessarily the gadgets that are the problem, it is what we do with the time that we save.

Although, I also think that in times past, we certainly got a lot more exercise and were less slothful.

Sophia, it's great to see you posting again!

In Christ,

Susan Sophia said...

Thanks, Mimi, for the comment. I found this in the Prevention magazine recently.

Good Old-Fashioned Fitness
Farm life: the ancestral workout
by Julie Evans

They ate meat and potatoes with gravy and never went to the gym. So why were our ancestors so lean?

Researchers at the University of Tennessee think they've found some answers in an Old Order Amish community in southern Ontario, where obesity is almost nonexistent.

Shunning electricity, automobiles, and other modern conveniences, this Amish farm community lives much as our ancestors did 150 years ago. Men till the soil, toss hay bales, and tend animals. Women cook, clean, and do the laundry in hand-cranked wringer washing machines.

When 98 Amish volunteers wore a pedometer for 1 week, the reason for their fitness was clear: Men took more than 18,000 steps daily (about 9 miles); women, more than 14,000 (7 miles). That's three times more activity than most Americans get in a day.