Jan 16, 2012
Notes from Your Farmer

I was sent a youtube video about future technology and how it would be a “great service”. It opens with 2 parents sleeping and the sound of morning comes on in their bedroom (birds chirping I guess). “Natural” sunlight comes up to slowly wake them (General Electric light bulb). The wall opposite the bed pops on and is somewhat like the internet. It has weather, traffic, and my favorite “The To Do list” for both parents. Before they get out of bed they are already on the treadmill of information.
They are steeped in how much can they accomplish today and the technology will feed them as much as they can take in. The video goes on for 10 minutes or so and involves the whole family throughout the morning. It was exhausting.

The quality of life for this family will be much less than mine by my definition. Both parents had big time consuming jobs and the technology helped them to be more successful in those jobs. More information quicker and faster, to earn more money so they can buy more stuff and go more places so they can have more debt and need to work more and climb to the next job to get more money etc..

I know this track. I was on it and continue to fight to stay off it. That track leads to lots of money and some results that people never talk about…so, given that I am not running for any office and don’t care if people don’t like the truth (as I see it), here it is:

The track on which we strive to play is littered with death. The death of marriages/partnerships is one. A marriage will not survive if it is not nurtured. That takes time and commitment to the marriage/partnership.
Children will either act out to find themselves or withdraw without a solid relationship with a parent. That takes time and commitment to the child. Extended family is lost without time and commitment. Without extended family the family unit has little support when it needs it whether a teenager needs mentoring, (not by their “ridiculous parent” but by the cool aunt or uncle) or a crisis occurs with health or loss of a job.

The connection to the outside world, nature is dying off. It is a significant loss. Most kids don’t know where their food comes from and wouldn’t be able to grow or raise it (and I expect most parents lack this knowledge too). We are logged in, tuned in, locked on or in some way viewing media. Most of it is a complete waste of our time and we are wasting hours and hours a day not connecting with other human beings.

Education for our children has gone by the wayside and the parents have little to no responsibility toward public education. Charter schools are proving that education can thrive but it requires the participation of the parents.
Public schools dismiss the requirement of parent involvement until there is a problem and then blame the parents. Parents choose to buy a new, bigger TV instead of getting rid of the one they have and doing homework with their kids…(it is not fun to do homework with kids, except when you actually do it on a regular basis it can be a blast. Not to mention what we can learn as adults, but most of us are too tired from a day’s work to work with our kids and prefer the TV. Besides I have to get up and work harder to provide for my kids even though what I am providing is not preparing them for the world they will face). I believe in Charter schools in that they require parent participation. Those parents that opt for Charter schools are all about education and that lends to amazing schools teaching kids well rounded skills and emotional intelligence to adapt and lead their upcoming world.

What did we do with our priorities?

I am not free of guilt here. However I did do homework with my son all week. Husband travelling, Joe and had a great week. Homework, walking with the goats on the farm, picking eggs, talking a lot. He has a lot to say and it is critical to me to maintain that communication now that he is in his teen years (mostly listening). I stop to look at my day and consider what that next opportunity means to my overall day to day happiness. Should I really take on more? More technology to give me more information to give me more opportunity to work more?
So much is wrong with short term choices and short term planning. I wish I was better at it. And acknowledging the problem is the first step and who knows where it goes from there…

Your Farmer…Tara Smith