Old School Values And Modern Technology–Finding A Good Balance!

Old School Values and Modern Technology–Finding A Good Balance!

apple-ipad-10I think many in my generation, (middle age by calendar years, but forever young at heart…) often find themselves at the cross roads of doing things with an “old school” mindset and becoming more adept with modern technology!  I’m constantly amazed at how my two granddaughters seem to have innately mastered the one-finger glide needed to view pictures and cartoons on an iPad, and yet, I also marvel at the determination and stamina of previous generations and how they often relied solely on the strength of their own ingenuity to help them live, and even prosper, without the modern conveniences and technology we enjoy today.  I suppose a valid concern of every generation is that the next one to follow will find a good balance between the use of modern technology to ease the workload of their lifestyles and old school values and know-how to help them maintain a sense of self-reliance!

Appreciating Both Old School Values And Modern Technology

My father relates a story in his autobiography about how at a relatively young age, he began to help his father at their dry farm by driving the tractor to plow the fields.  He writes that at first when the tractor would have a breakdown, he’d stand on the top of the tractor and wave his hat for his dad to come and make the necessary repairs.  However, after my dad was given time to watch and learn how the repairs were made, his father then let him know that he wasn’t to wave his hat anymore and instead, he was to try and make the repairs himself, except where it was impossible to do so!

“Through this work with my father, I learned to use tools, repair all kinds of things and work hard at the farm.  The lessons learned there have been a great strength to me all my life.”

My mom used to say that it was wonderful, and even kinda sexy, (say what?) to have a husband who was handy and could fix about anything around the house!

Vintage tractor

I imagine that the large brimmed hat pictured above would have been easy for my grandfather to spot as my dad waved it in the air!

Besides stating that he was grateful for the things learned during those early years of hard work at his family’s farm, my dad also commented on the fact that this knowledge served to help him be very appreciative for the advances that modern technology brought to farming.

“Through the years, from the time that I was 15 until now at age 77, (1991) the machinery in farming has changed drastically.  Earlier on, it was slow and the breakdowns in the equipment were all too frequent.  It took a long time to get the work done.  Now machines are fast, they are easier to service and are designed for operating in comfort.”   

quoted from LeRoy Jorgensen’s autobiography

New John Deere tractor

My father often talked about the air-conditioned luxury of his new John Deere tractor cab.  As I recall it even had a cassette tape player in it too!  Life was good!

Maintaining Old School Values As We Use Modern Technology 

My parents didn’t live to witness the full emergence of computers and cell phones!  I think they’d be both fascinated and overwhelmed with all the changes of modern technology today!   I have a hard time keeping up with it myself and find that it can be a blessing and a curse at times as I try to stay somewhat current and updated on everything.  I hope as a society however, that we never let technology stalemate human interaction all together.  How many times lately have you seen families out to dinner together where each family member is either talking, texting, or playing games on their cell phones, and invariably only look up when the food is served!  On the flip side, I have to chuckle when I read about certain families who are seemingly happily settled in modern-day suburbia, but are going to great lengths to raise farm animals and forgo any of the gadgets and conveniences of modern technology to “get back to the basics” of old school values and work skills!  When I mentioned this to my oldest daughter, she anxiously exclaimed that since it was usually up to the parents to help their children with their chores and other responsibilities, she’d be content to just be able to teach her children how to pick up after themselves and put things where they belonged, to have them help around the house and yard, and work hard in school, as well as mind their manners and talk with respect!

I think finding the right balance between raising our children with a good set of values that will help them become contributing members of society, while helping them use modern technology wisely, will always be an age-old dilemma.  It definitely seems like it will take a concerted effort on all our parts to make the mindful decision to continue to rely on each other and share our knowledge and know-how in more personal ways as we integrate all the advances in technology.  I would feel sad for any generation that didn’t get to know the joy of gathering on porches or leaning over fences to exchange greetings and share stories…or one that might not realize the sheer satisfaction that comes from building or repairing something with their own hands!  There’s also a wonderful sense of security that comes from knowing that if you were to wave your hat, so to speak, you could count on any number of neighbors, friends or loved ones to come running!

Here are a few examples that I love of how “old school” and “modern technology” mingle together to make for a great outcome!

Modern record player for old school vinyl!

My son-in-law invested in a high-tech, “modern” record player so he could play his “old school” vinyl records.  It’s fun to see how excited Cole gets when he goes to an old vinyl record store, (and it does my “old school” heart good) and flips through the eclectic assortment of music to find the perfect selection to add to his extensive collection!

I think the ultimate compliment for any parent, is to have their children say they want their kids to have a childhood like they did growing up!


Like her mom when she was young, my granddaughter, Makena, enjoys playing outside and riding her bike.  Her cute, “decked-out” bike, along with her bike helmet, make for the best blend of “old school” outdoor activity and modern equipment and safety!  

Bike riding!

Marli follows her big sister’s example–complete with bike helmet! 

Vintage journal

My husband is a financial planner and relies on various computer programs to help lighten the burden of all the forms that must be completed for his line of work.  But I love that he’s still so “old school” when it comes to keeping a journal!

My oldest daughter, Malia, has a great group of high school friends that she keeps in touch with via various social networks throughout the year, but I’m impressed that they also make the effort to get together once in a while, at a condo or hotel, to “catch-up” over a long weekend spent together!          

What I’m learning now is…

As a nurse, I’m as grateful as anyone for all the advances in modern technology and research.  However, you can’t underestimate the healing power of kind words and a soothing touch combined with the modern medicines and machines.  What I’m learning now is that like most things in life, we’ll always need to reassess what defines a good balance between using modern technology and the more personal nuances needed for lasting relationships!  

What types of things do you do to try to reach out to those you love and associate with in an “old school” kind of way?



Luck Takes A Lot Of Hard Work!


Being Lucky Takes A Lot Of Hard Work

Luck takes hard workA few years ago, my daughters and I took a “girls” trip to Chicago.  By chance, we were lucky enough to be there during the city’s weekend celebration of St. Patrick’s Day!  The Chicago River was dyed green and the surrounding city streets were lined with a number of vendors selling their food and unique holiday wares.  A fun variety of festive activities went on throughout the St. Patrick’s Day weekend.  After that experience, I realized that as much as I like to celebrate holidays, wearing green and serving green tinted pancakes for breakfast hadn’t really done the holiday justice!  It also got me thinking…just how much does luck really factor into our lives?Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day

When it comes to luck, I know my parents were more of the mindset that you worked hard to define your own destiny, as aptly stated in this quote by Thomas Jefferson:

“I’m a great believer in luck, and the harder I work, the more I have!”

More often than not, I tend to uphold the way of thinking mentioned below.  Perhaps counter intuitive when it comes to experiencing “good” luck!


All in all, I suppose the challenge for each of us in trying find luck in life, is to learn better from those loved ones who have preceded us, and tried their darndest to teach us from their mistakes!  My husband was always telling our children that they didn’t need to always reinvent the wheel, so to speak, each time they were faced with a challenge.  Instead, they might actually be able to benefit by learning from a few of our struggles, and in turn save themselves some added grief!  With that said however, there just seems to be some hard life experiences that no matter what, each generation is destined to repeat!

During the initial setbacks of World War II, Winston Churchill, the prime minister of England at the time, and a strong ally of the United States, made this statement during the peak of events with Germany during the war:

 “Each misfortune you encounter today, will carry in it the seeds of tomorrow’s good luck.” 

What I’m learning now is…

In reviewing the experiences of my parent’s lives, I know that they did their best to acknowledge the wisdom shared by their parents and other ancestors, as well as learn from their own mistakes, so as to make our family’s life better as a result.  What I’m learning now is that if we are lucky enough to have parents who’ve helped us set a solid foundation for seeking after a way of life we love, then the real challenge I think, is for us to try and have enough courage and committment to live it to the fullest!

What are some of the “lucky” achievements you’ve worked hard for in your life?



Giving Is A Good Way To Start The Year!


Since I am new to this blogging, website community, I realize there are many hurdles I have to try and jump over…or at the very least give it my best effort to stumble through them!  I have an awesome family;  they support me in so many ways that I am utterly amazed at their graciousness in doing so!  But then, there are those few key people who know you as a friend or acquaintance, and they glimpse a bit of your vision and without a second thought give you “props” for taking a risk and following your heart!  To those few bold supporters at this time, Phyllis, Cindy, Kellee, Hayley, Alison, Leslie, and Kathryn, who is one of my daughter, Malia’s cute friends, I say “Thank You!”  One of my favorite journals or calendars mentioned in my “Christmas Giveaway” is coming your way!  Have the BEST year!

What I’m learning now is…

Social media is not for the faint of heart, to be sure!  But even if I am the age my parents were when I thought they were old…learning and doing new things can help renew faith in myself and make relationships become stronger!  So in the words of my son-in-law Cole, when he celebrates accomplishing a difficult feat–Booyah!

Take a minute and look back on the past year…tell me some of your great personal achievements in 2012?  What do you want to tackle in 2013? 

Here’s to learning and growing together this year!!