Monday, January 06, 2014

Don't Leave it to the Experts

My husband and I were talking this afternoon about doing stuff.  He's recently earned his commercial trucking licence and is meeting a different group of people than his office and computer-related work generally exposes him to.

These people do stuff.  One fellow created a fairly complicated machine completely on his own.  He designed it, welded what needed welding and cut what needed cutting.

I mentioned how, not so long ago, people where we live were not encouraged to take up trades.  The powers-that-were seemed to think that only university educations were really worth having.  Things have not changed much.  Of course this has left us a legacy of highly educated unemployed, while highly-paid trades jobs go unfilled for lack of qualified workers.

My husband and I were both in the university stream.  He says he wishes he was more fearless.  I laughed a little at this because of the two of us, I think I would qualify more as the fearful one.  At any rate, I am not good at getting my hands dirty.

We should really know better.

I think it started early.  About the time women stopped being able to deliver babies without "medical" intervention.  Doctors became the experts in birth and child-rearing.  Suddenly, mother no longer knew what was best.

On it went.  We became convinced that healthy baby milk came from cans and bottles.  Scientifically designed food came from a store.

Entertainment came from radios and televisions and movie theatres.  People stopped going to dances and having sing-alongs around the parlour piano.  Education came from school...and only from school.  My mother was told not to help me read at home (I was starting to do it on my own), because she'd do it incorrectly.  When I first proposed home-schooling as an educational option to my college-aged peers, the skepticism was palpable.

We have become a society of one-trick ponies.  And if you are of the urban, college and university crowd, you could starve to death if someone turned off the power grid.

I've seen evidence of that.  When neighbours found out we were taking walks along a path and picking berries, they expressed concern that we might poison ourselves.  When power was lost a few years back for the period of a couple of days, huge insurance claims were placed for food lost from deep-freezers.  That was odd because the cause of the power outage was an ice-storm.  It was wintertime.  Ice...winter...and people didn't figure out how to keep their food from thawing.  It's happened again this winter, too.

In the time that this has all come about, religious observance shrank to be a Sunday-only occurrence for a great many people, if it happened at all.  Devotions to practices like the rosary shrank too.  Why pray at home when the expert will guide us on Sunday?

We have lost integrity.  Many places have lost the right to raise food...even vegetables.

The latest (November, 2013) issue of Catholic Insight magazine has an article on raising rabbits.  For food.  I can imagine the letters they'll get.  I would love to have chickens, but they're not permitted where I a city.  We could probably get away with rabbits though.  Hmmm.

People need to understand the necessity of being able to care for their own needs.  I am no exception to this. Grow vegetables.  Demand the right to have a hen (they don't crow like roosters do...and they're much smaller and less dangerous that the ubiquitous dogs) or two for eggs.  Learn how to work a drill, a saw and a screwdriver.

Do math.  Sing, even badly.  Dance.  Cook.

Pray.  I don't think you CAN pray badly.  Do it often.  We lay-people cannot give homilies or confect sacraments, but we can pray without supervision.  And we should.

Happy Epiphany.  May the light which the wise men followed be one which we, too, can follow.

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