Our ‘phones,’ as we call them, are little computers, and Quite Useful ones at that! They have, in them, a calculator, map, reviews, inspiration, Mama’s texts, and so much more. They’re indispensable to us, though many of us wouldn’t admit to liking them. And we all agree we don’t like to see children or even young adults staring down at a little box when they could look at their surroundings. It’s not just the young ones who are doing this, of course, but it breaks our hearts a little bit to see how much life they’re missing out on.
We look at our little boxes, too, of course. When we look down, we may not be ‘wasting time’ at all, but doing something useful, or even, something good. We might be checking in on Great Aunt Charlotte, or looking up a knitting pattern, or seeing if a hurricane is in the Gulf. But…the little ones only see us looking at screens. They can’t see our inspiration, our handwriting, or the title of the book we’re reading. They don’t know we’re reading the Bible or reviewing tonight’s dinner recipe, or dreaming of a farm like the one we’re seeing online.
Are we sure we want to raise a generation who never sees output, and only sees input-through-a-screen?
I have an idea
I have an idea. But, no worries, I’m not suggesting an Abolishment of the Phone (or, hand-held device). I’m just thinking – what if. What if, when we’re out and about in public, we don’t hold our phones, but instead, hold a piece of handiwork? Just when we’re out and about (though, I hope we’ll expand this to inside our homes, but let’s begin here, to help society at large).
I imagine the nearby culture would be affected if a bunch of us used our hands to read a real book, to hand sew, to make a basket, to knot tie, to whittle, or even, to move our hands in conversation like we grew up seeing folks do.
how about if we decide to be the change in culture?
This idea was inspired by two things:
- While visiting a town a couple states over, our daughter and I conversed over how the culture of this town does not greet one another on the sidewalk, smiling and saying “hello,” as does the town where we are from. I said I thought it was sad, too bad, and she said, “why don’t we be the ones to change the culture?”
- I have had my creative things packed in boxes for a year now, for a move that’s slow to happen, and it has distressed me more than I would have liked admitting. So, recently, out of desperation to create something, I began learning pine needle basketry. I did have to use my ‘phone’ to learn it, but now, I carry around pine straw (as we call it), twine, a needle, scissors, and needlenose pliers. It all fits easily into a small basket, and not only have I enjoyed creating again, but I’ve noticed it intrigues those who see me doing it.
A few ideas of the handiwork we could carry around
I hope this list is a launchpad that inspires us to think of more ideas:
- a purchased handkerchief, a needle, and embroidery floss are all that’s needed to create an embroidered handkerchief gift
- a purchased handkerchief, a needle, sewing thread, and a few cotton balls are all that’s needed to create a ‘church doll,’ as they did in old times. You’ll stuff the head with the cotton, sinching it tight with the thread. To make her a doll: add a ribbon around her neck, paint or embroider a little face, or just eyes and a mouth. You can keep on, adding lace to the bottom of her dress, and so on.
- bits of muslin or linen, or a large piece, grided into squares, and embroidery floss and a needle are all that’s needed to create tiny little embroidered pieces that may be later quilted together
- pipe cleaners – just carry pipe cleaners around little boys and you’ll be creating all sorts of shapes with them. Little boys also like rope, especially if there’s a knot-tying book handy.
- pine straw, cordage, a needle, scissors, and needle nose pliers were all I needed to create my first pine straw basket:
let’s begin, even if we’re just holding a book in our hands
The simplest idea of all is to just hold a quality book in our hands. So many of the old ‘children’s’ books are wonderful to read, and doing so inspires children and young adults, and regular adults and I hope even the elderly, to hold a quality book in their hands while out and about in public. Maybe they’ll be curious about the book, maybe they’ll be inspired to also read, and hopefully they’ll come to realize they’re in a culture that doesn’t always look at an electronic device. Maybe others will join us.