Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Simple Things

My daughter's third grade class took a trip to Historic Brattonsville to spend the day learning and pretending to be students in a one room school house in 1840.  They used real slate boards and graphite pencils and learned to quill with a feather dipped in ink.  You might recall seeing this lovely little town in the film, "The Patriot" with Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger.
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. ~Proverbs 31:17

 It is surreal to think of all the gadgets we have at our fingertips, so that we don't have to lift a finger!  I wonder what our forefathers would think of us today.  Would they be impressed or think we are lazy?  Can you imagine what our ancestors would think about a car with heat, heated seats, a radio and a TV...and with many vehicles today, you can turn on any of this with the click of a button! 
I don't think most Americans can imagine what it was like to live in a one room house with no heat, no central air, no hot water, no bathroom (or 'privy' as it was called) inside the house, no phone, certainly no television, and no computer...or even a car.
I wonder...have we gained so much with all the advances in technology or have we really lost so much?

I spent the day with these third graders and I had the best time!  No technology was used that day...just a good ol' chalk board and the light streaming in the little school house from outside.  The meal was simple with nothing to 'recycle' because napkins and baskets were reused after lunch.  My favorite part of the day was recess when the children played with various wooden toys that were popular during that period.  It was fun to watch the children learn something 'new' that was really very old!  I enjoyed watching them use their imaginations and their hands to figure out these new-old games.

Life was simple then. 

I have friends who have a 'blackout' once a month with their children.  They turn off the power, cook by fire, light candles and tell stories, play games or read.  She says that it is amazing how slow the time passes and that these are some of her most precious moments with her three boys.  How wonderful it would be to spend the evening with those that we love the most without any distractions!  I am determined to try this!
As Thanksgiving approaches, I am thankful for all the 'luxuries' we have today.  But, it is not these things that I am most grateful.  I am sure that many would agree, whether we live during 1840 or 2010, we are most thankful for those around us...our family. 
Etch out those quiet moments for your family this holiday season!  Maybe turn off the lights, the TV, computer and phones.   The 'simple life' sounds so appealing!
 Does anyone remember Dr. Bratton's home from the movie?
This is the one room school house we used for the day!
My daughter practices quilling.
The children were encouraged to dress like they lived during 1840.  This little girl really looked the part!  She is playing one of the games popular during that time.
A simple meal consisted of a ham biscuit, an apple, a pickle and a cracker.  No processed food or paper products here!  It really made me think of how much I waste and what I eat from a package.
This looks like the original fence to me!
Note: I was discussing my trip with a friend and she mentioned that on their field trip to Brattonsville, one of the guides was showing some of the daily chores that took place during the 1840 time period.  The guide asked if any of the children did chores at home and not one child raised his/her hand.  I think we better put down 'technology' and teach our children to work!  Simple chores can teach them responsibility and how to manage money. 
I better get busy!
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It's me said...

What a lovely post Christie.....cute little kids !!.....have a nice Ria........

Sammi said...

What a nice field trip. And I so agree with your note....we do NOT do our children any favors by not having them WORK! When my son got his first job (doing simple jobs on a dairy farm), I told him he had to save money for things he wanted (but didn't NEED) AND he had to put aside at least 10% for a charity of his choice. He is only 15..yet has a nice savings acct and giving to charity is automatic....We need to remember that we are training future ADULTs. ( stepping off my soapbox...)

Erin said...

Christie, yes, yes and YES! I am in total agreement with you on everything you said(except I think the men of yester year would like a car with or without heated seats, lol!). We too try to make our kids see the bigger picture and gadgets aren't always the best. It's the simple things in life that are free that rock! Because what if something happened tomorrow and it was all taken away, would they know how to cope? I think mine would, because self reliance and common sense go a loong way! Don't you love third graders? Perfect age if you ask me(course, it's all good:)). We too feel like Sammi, we are training tomorrow's adults and we take that seriously. We are proud of our kids and gladly claim them(except the other day when Brooke was tired throwing a fit in Wal-Mart). Thanks for posting this:)

The Decorative Dreamer said...

What a wonderful day! That would be a great field trip, and one so many of our kids need to experience, IMOP. The meal looked delicious to me! My youngest teenager who is still at home was just complaining the other day about one of his chores, unloading the dishwasher. LOL! I need to send him here for the day! Beautiful home and grounds, and yes, I remember this movie very well!

Anonymous said...

Christie I enjoyed this post so very much! What a wonderful day. Beautiful photos!

Anonymous said...

Thank U for taking the time to share so much... Ur blog totally inspires me in more ways than one... I am a stay at home mom of 1 2 yr old daughter (w/o very few friends) & @ times Ur blog has been a lifeline to me... I sure don't know where U find the time, but I want U to know how greatly appreciated all Ur efforts are (((: Kindest Regards, Shay J.

Vanessa said...

Hey! I absolutely love everything about this post! It reminds me of when we got to visit the real home of Laura Ingalls when I was a little girl. Talk about a dream come true! My son is reading the first book in that series at school right now so we have had fun talking about what life was like then. I'm so with you on how we can find ways to implement that simpler lifestyle even today. Ian saw someone holding a Nintendo DS the other day and said "what's that mom?"! :-) I realized how grateful I am that he doesn't even really know what the latest and greatest things are (other than Legos!) and would rather look at the old film projector his grandpa found than anything else. Funny kid!
You are such a wise mama to be thinking and praying about how to encourage your kiddos "to be in the world but not of the world"!
Thanks for this today!

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Great post and it is so true the kids these days seem to be all about technology and not much activity or chores any more. How great for them to act like they were back in time for a day.

Rachel Noelle Pallas said...

~*~*How adorable and fun!! Thanks for sharing Christie!!~**~ Hugs, Rachel

Sommer said...

What an amazing trip! I felt like I was there and can I just say, a day with no distractions sounds like heaven. My phone rings all day, doorbells chime, tv's blare and I hate it. We recently moved our living room to the basement and the main level is now only bedrooms and formal living space. I never go downstairs. I love how quiet it is up here.
Let me also say how suprised people are when my children tell them they do chores! My children all start at age 5. My 6 year daughter unloads the dishes every day after school and my 9 yr old son loads them. He also does all his own laundry on the weekends. My youngest at 4 still just helps me around the house but will get her own official chores next summer. I've literally seen jaws drop when they find out I start them so early. I figure they will never do it if I don't tell them to!

Crystal @ Ordinary Days said...

I love this post. It really made me think. A couple years ago we had a bad snow storm and had a blackout. My then 5 year old LOVED it. She loved the quality time we were "forced" to spend together. That is so sad. My husband and I always discuss how great it would have been to live in "simpler" times. We have a lot of power to make our lives more simple and simply do not choose to. I'm going to try the blackout thing with my family. Thanks for this post!

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