Modern Life: A Balloon About To Pop

balloon-pop1What good is an education that doesn’t teach children to be independent thinkers? That doesn’t teach them to look after themselves?

As you know I teach crochet at the local high school, and I also have grandchildren, lots of them so I see and hear a good deal about education…and I despair.

I have grandchildren that can make a computer do magical things, but they can’t boil an egg. They know nothing of planting and harvest, nothing about how to take care of themselves should they ever need to.

Writing these letters to you has, as you can imagine caused considerable excitement amongst the children. Having a granny, and in some cases a great granny that writes for the internet apparently is very cool. I was at one point last week more popular than  ‘Clash of Clans’ on the iPad.

Trivial stuff aside, some of my musings and memories have triggered a great deal of debate, which I think is a good thing. Even the young ‘uns are coming to the conclusion that for the most part their education does not teach them life skills, it doesn’t teach them how to cope if the life that they lead right now alters.

I understand that me talking about a life lead without electricity and running water is foreign to them, they cannot imagine it. That doesn’t mean though that one day they won’t experience it.

I have no idea whatsoever how the internet works. It’s magical to me that I can tap out letters on a screen here in Devon and seconds later it can travel all the way to America. I cannot grasp how that can be possible Tess…but it is and I accept it.

The problem is if you go the other way, people will not be able to just accept that there is no electricity, or water, or supermarkets or whatever, because they are not able to cope without those things. They are not able to cope because they have not been taught to cope. They don’t have the basic knowledge of how to manage. It is always easier to cope with being given something, like the internet, than having something taken away, like the internet! yes I would miss keeping in touch with you and the other friends I have made that I will most likely never meet. On the other hand, I wouldn’t go into shock, having lived most of my life without even basic amenities losing the internet would not be a major crisis.

It’s all very well using a calculator, but that won’t help if the battery goes and you don’t have a spare. What would help is being able to add up without a calculator but using the machine for speed and ease.

God knows I am not anti-technology, but you need to be able to do things without technology if you are going to survive when the balloon of modern life goes pop, and pop it will, one day.

Schools, and more so parents, need to get back to basics. They need to tell children that milk comes from cows not the supermarket. They need to teach children that all their clothes are made, they don’t just magically appear on clothes racks in fancy shops.

Food need to be associated with fields and soil.

People need to get back to cooking proper meals with proper ingredients.

Children should learn to sew on a button or knit a scarf or crochet a blanket, anything that puts them back in touch with the idea that everything in life is not instant, that things take effort.

You have given a good many people in my corner of the world a chance to talk about and debate things that wouldn’t have entered their heads. Before these letters started I, along with my old and wrinkly friends, was considered to be a boring old fart who was living in the past. Seeing that younger people, people who are aware of the world around them and what happens in it, are interested in what someone like me has to say, has raised more than a few eyebrows I can tell you.

The younger family members no longer pour scorn on my having almost as many supplies as the corner shop. Indeed, now they have started adding to it, more due to Ebola scaring them half to death but I’m not knocking it. It has woken them up to the possibility that their lives can change in an instant.

Talking of Ebola, Moira at the daycare centre is now wearing gloves at all times. Not nice thin ones like nurses wear, oh no, bright pink washing up gloves. I’m sure that the woman is past her sell by date Tess.

Oh dear, I have just read what I have written, a bit boring today!!! Sorry, never mind, you don’t have to print it do you? It’s just nice to chat sometimes.

We will have to do the camera thing again soon (Editors note: Skype) I do so love seeing you in person.

Well, time to go. I am baking today. I’m not so steady on my legs anymore which is very annoying, but Edith has brought all the ingredients into the dining room so I can sit down at the table and make cakes. I so love baking, especially bread, I can bash it about and when it cooks the smell fills the house. wonderful.

Okay Tess, I’ll speak to you soon,



Granny Spear was born in a small cottage in Devon, Southern England in 1925. Married to farm labourer Ernest, she raised her family in the heart of the countryside without any of the amenities we rely on today. Using skills passed down from her mother, who had learned those same skills from her mother, she not only survived but positively thrived living a self-sufficient, off grid lifestyle. Outliving her husband, one of her children and two of her grandchildren she stayed in the cottage until 2003 when a serious fall saw her hospitalized. She now lives with her daughter just four miles from her old home. For her 89th birthday her grandchildren and great grandchildren brought her an iPad, which she instantly rejected until they showed her Angry Birds…After much persuasion she has agreed to share some of her knowledge with us about what she calls the ‘old days’

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published October 16th, 2014
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