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Archive for the ‘Crisis’ Category

Sometimes, when I come across a relevant passage of text in a historical home economics document, I feel completely breathless… *smacks self in the forehead*… why didn’t people listen then? More importantly, why don’t they listen now?

I have posted in this blog, for your amusement, or otherwise, a passage from 1902 (that’s right… 1902… and what are we now?… 2013!) from the Lake Placid Conference Proceedings Volume 4, pages 30 and 31 from an article entitled “Some Controlling Ideals of the Family Life of the Future” written by Dr Thomas D. Woods, Professor of Physical Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. He wrote thus,

There should be more study of life and the world of living things; of man’s place in nature; more study of human life, of its nature, origin and development. There should be thru this study a larger racial and human consciousness on the part of young men and women, even of boys and girls. There is here the possibility of a reverence for life and its responsibilities which may steady and inspire in a wholesome way even the youth. There is a girls’ school in a conservative part of this country [America] where, I am told, instruction has been given for some time concerning life and health, responsibility for the home and parenthood and some of the obligations to the future. I am told that this instruction has seemed to be one of the most potent influences in the life of the school for fine scholarship and for earnest, wholesome and joyous girlhood. The standards of such phases of education as I have alluded to will of course affect, and in a vital way, the ideals of the home. This conscious responsibility for the future will help those who are living now as much as those of coming generations. Man can only attain his highest self-realization in the pursuit of ideals which are practical for the present and at the same time protective of indefinite but positive interests far ahead. When we strive for ends too near ourselves we lose perspective and balance, the saner judgment; in short, we lose ourselves and the largest opportunity of work for others. There is an inspiration and immediate uplift in working day by day for the interests of the generation ahead, without neglecting present duties, which can only be realized thru experience. This ideal, at first new and conscious, later, thru proper education and training, in many ways subconscious and automatic (but always controlling and farsighted) may be the mainspring, the governing principle of the individual and of the family. If it is to be effective it must be intelligent and scientific but, as [Benjamin] Kidd states so clearly, men and women will not sacrifice the temporary and more or less selfish interests of today for the indefinite values of the future simply thru intellectual understanding and appreciation or with a rational sanction alone. The religious consciousness must participate in all of this; the conscience must be touched, the heart thrilled and the imagination fired with a compelling devotion to this larger altruism, this cosmic service. There must be in the individual the effective consciousness of vital relation to a world progress; to the work of the ages. There is constant danger in these days even for the generous minded and philanthropic of being submerged in the technic and mechanics of life. This ideal which looks forward to the future, often vague but always inspiring, may furnish the sustaining and stimulating atmosphere in which may be accomplished all the smallest and homeliest details of each day and these may become not only endurable but worthy because of their relation to great things. Such ideas may seem to many theoretic and hazy but there are today individuals and families who are successful and happy in the consciousness of the fulness of life thru this relation to all life. Men and women may be imbued with the thought that salvation should include not so much or primarily the idea of present or future well-being for ourselves but rather the saving and protecting the best interests of the lives of others, those living now and those to come after. This scheme of salvation will not neglect the spiritual if the temporal and moral are given their proper place in relation to the permanent and infinite.

Yes, I concede that it is a bit of a Christian sermon, patriarchal and Darwinian (blah blah blah), but, regardless of religious orientation, gender or evolutionary perspectives, it still makes sense – don’t you think? I can recommend reading the whole article. He covers selfishness, breakdown of marriage, neglect of children due to working parents, overfeeding, fads and fashions, waste and consumerism. Home Economics = visionary!

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Words written and photographs taken by Jay Deagon @HomeEcConnect

For those of you who do not know me personally, I live in South-East Queensland, Australia. For the past few days we have had extensive flooding down majority of the east coast of Australia. Thankfully, me and my family are all safe and no damage has been done (except for our washing line which was bent by a very large tree branch). I am truly grateful; however, many other families and communities have not been so lucky. At this point, I would like to extend a big thank you to all of the emergency workers, electricity workers and our police departments for their efforts in rescues and clean up.

DSC_0167I believe that this natural disaster, and all natural disasters around the world in the past few years, are a timely reminder about the importance of Home Economics knowledge and education. For example:

  • What do you do with the contents of the refrigerator or freezer if the power goes out?
  • What is safe to eat?
  • How do you conserve water or decontaminate water so that it is safe to drink?
  • Preparation of an “Emergency Kit”
  • What are the alternatives when there is no bread or milk?
  • Canning, insurance policies, sewing, mending
  • Keeping the family safe, entertained, healthy and happy in an emergency situation
  • What do you cook with the last few remaining contents of the pantry when all the roads are cut and panic buying has left the shop shelves empty?
  • 101 uses for cloves, cinnamon and baking soda
  • Starting a home/school vegetable garden now – you can’t grow food in 4 days!

Individual, family and community preparation and contingency planning… We provide this kind of information and inspiration in Home Economics classes. Don’t we? Self-sufficiency in situations like natural disasters is extremely important. Knowing what to do with the resources you have readily available. Do not underestimate the value of Home Economics education in a time of crisis.

DSC_0082You may find your Home Economics lessons very useful on a rainy day!

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