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?



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