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Asking Questions


Why we’re losing a legacy of lost arts

3.14.2023 • 1 Comment

I have a theory about why very few of us know how to sew, bake, change our oil, and balance a checkbook or garden in 2023. Or is it just me? 🙃

Hundreds of years ago, each previous generation taught the next skills that were necessary for living. You learned how to sew because you saw your mom sewing since the time you could speak and eventually picked up a needle and thread. 

In Jefferson Bethke’s book, Take Back Your Family, he says, “The magic before industrialization was not simply that everyone was together and everyone was home; it was that life was integrated. Dads worked in front of their kids. Taught their kids the craft that they’d honed and cultivated over the years. They passed it on.”

He goes on to say, “So dads left and started working in factories, and it had immense ramifications. A family was no longer a unit or a team. It was a group of individuals all pursuing their own interests or goals and then collecting resources, coming home, and sharing those resources.”

Now, Bethke makes this point as it refers to the family dynamic, why families have grown apart, and how to take them back, but I think it also illustrates why there are so many long-lost arts that future generations may never know. 

As the dads went off to the factories, everyone else did their own things. 

Home economics classes became popular and it’s as if part of what was always learned in the home from parents was now outsourced to schools. And then poof! The home ec classes are gone and we’re left wondering if, two generations from now, anyone will even know what a Joann’s Fabric store is. 😜

In today’s blog post, I want to raise this question: 

What things do we want to pass on to our kids that are becoming long-lost arts? 

What things do we find important that could very well become extinct if we don’t intentionally pursue them? The great thing is, we first get to remove the pressure of what we think we should be doing. Like, should I be learning how to can? Everyone seems to be learning how to can right now!

We can get ourselves into some high-pressure (no pun intended!) situations over things that don’t need to be high-pressure situations if we spiral here. There’s always a part of us nostalgic for a way of life that seems to be fading, but nostalgia isn’t the best indicator of what’s really important to us. 

Instead, here are some questions to think through about what things you want to teach your kids. I hope it’s a fun jumping-off point for sweet memories. Maybe pick one or two to work on this summer and enjoy passing on the legacy of something that’s important to you. 

What is important to our beliefs? 

Do you want to teach your kid how to memorize a verse?
Do you want to teach them Sword drills (how to find books in the Bible) or
Do you want to teach them prayer? These posts can get you started. 

What is important to our values? 

What do you value that may not be a spiritual issue but is still important to you?
Do you want to teach your kid cursive or how to mail an actual thank you note? 

What is important to our culture? 

Does your heritage have any specific arts that you want to make sure don’t get lost to future generations? It could be speaking a language or certain phases, learning a skill, or studying the culture’s history. 

What is important to your individual child? 

Have they shown an interest in something? Maybe it’s crocheting or woodworking.

What is important based on our current time? 

Do you want food you can trust is organic or want clothes made ethically? 

The coolest part to me in all this is the time we get to invest in future generations. We all joke that the iPad is the babysitter but maybe it’s kinda true too. Getting hands-on, being present with our kids, and passing on life lessons that will serve them long after us sounds way better than extra Netflix time to me. Yes, it will absolutely be messier and more exhausting, but hopefully a whole lot sweeter. 

Share in the comments what skills you want to pass down to your kids or the skill you’re sad is disappearing. Here’s what some in our community said!

  • Canning
  • Spending time outside
  • Sewing
  • Cursive handwriting
  • Dinner at the table
  • Handwritten letters
  • Gardening

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Comments (2)

I’ve been praying about these things for a very long time. I taught sewing n my home for 3 years. Had girls from 6 to 63 years old. Moved to a different county and in 9 years I’ve had 8 students pop in and pop out. These are important things for us to know. Another reason we are losing them is because we are a throw away society and it’s grown more and nce the 90’s. Thank you for being a warning sound to your generation ❣️ God bless you as you minister to others. Oh, I’m 62 and love your blog

Lou Ann! You are too sweet! And you are sooo right! I didn’t even think to include that but it’s so true. We are quite disposable. If it’s broken, we toss instead of try to fix in many instances. Keep praying for us! 😉