Our family has moved a lot. 8 times in 10 years, actually. From NY and Boston to Florida and Tennessee, we’ve gained valuable experiences to help us identify what is important to us. As our three children (ages 4, 6, 8) are getting older, we are feeling the urge to put a pause on the amount of time they spend steeping in modern society and start teaching them a more timeless skillset.
While we value the beneficial aspects of technology, we also can’t stand how the most basic of tasks seem to be cluttered with tech, and we certainly do not agree that a child’s social interactions should be exchanged with their thumbs on a device. And that’s despite us owning a software company!
These articles aren’t really about us, but this one has been a matter of discussion for years in our household.
Raising children in a simple, traditional manner is a parenting approach that emphasizes the importance of family values, community, and practical life skills. It is a departure from the modern parenting style that prioritizes technology, materialism, and constant stimulation. This approach values simplicity and encourages children to appreciate the beauty of the natural world, develop strong in-person social skills, and learn practical skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. While this parenting style has its benefits, it also has its challenges, and parents need to carefully consider their options before adopting this approach.
There are many potential benefits to raising children in a simple, traditional manner that resonate with us deeply.
Raising children in a simple, traditional manner can create a nurturing and supportive environment that promotes strong family bonds, self-sufficiency, and a connection to nature and community, which is arguably better than kids showing off their iPhone 14 on TikTok to strangers at 1:00am in hopes that everyone in school will see how many “hearts” they garnered by morning.
It is worth noting, however, that not everyone may find traditional living to be the best fit for their family, and there may be some challenges associated with this lifestyle as well.
One of the main challenges of living a simple life is adjusting to a slower pace with less stuff. Emphasis on exclusive products or overtly loud individuality is viewed as silly and unnecessary, and that takes some time to get used to. Genuinely, you are judged for your character, and that may be a challenge for some, albeit worth it in the long run.
In modern society, everything moves quickly, and people are used to instant gratification. From fast food to Snapchat messaging, the speed at which things happen has become a defining characteristic of our culture. In contrast, living a simple life involves taking things more slowly and deliberately. Tasks that might take only a few minutes in a modern lifestyle, such as “turning on the fireplace” or cooking meals, can take much longer in a simple life.
That brings me to one of the largest challenges of a simple life: the lack of convenience that comes with it. Modern society is built around the idea of convenience, with stores and services available 24/7, accessible transportation, and advanced technology that makes life easier. In a simple life, however, convenience is often sacrificed in favor of self-reliance and sustainability. This means growing your own food, repairing your own possessions, and making do with what you have rather than buying new things.
Living a simple life can also be isolating, particularly for those who live in rural areas. While many people enjoy the peace and quiet of living in the countryside, others find it difficult to be far from the conveniences and social opportunities of urban life. In addition, simple living often involves a focus on self-sufficiency, which can make it difficult to build and maintain strong social connections.
There’s also the reality that simple living is more physically demanding. From chopping wood to planting crops, and tending to chickens or goats, many of the tasks associated with a simple lifestyle require a great deal of physical labor. While this can be rewarding for some, it can also be challenging for those who are not used to this level of exertion. But that purpose is part of the point!
The part that worries me, and part of what led to writing this article, is that seeing business opportunities requires being around problems. Isolating my kids from the problems may be detrimental when it comes to developing an entrepreneurial mind, which is our preferred path.
Overall, while living a simple life can be rewarding, it is not without its challenges. The slower pace, lack of convenience, isolation, and physical demands of simple living can make it difficult for some people to adapt. However, for those who are committed to the lifestyle, the benefits of living simply can outweigh the challenges.
Balance & Purpose
We desire purpose, and the purpose of directly providing for ourselves and our family feels more gratifying and healthier than working at a corporate job selling your life to trade money for plastic toys of scantily-dressed bobblehead dolls that call themselves “Bratz” just so the neighborhood kids will think it’s “kewl.” That’s the antithesis of meaningful purpose.
Balancing tradition and modernity can be challenging as it involves finding a middle ground between the old and the new, the overtly practical and the abstract expressive. Transcending generations, it is important to prioritize critical thinking and adaptability. Critical thinking is a vital skill for navigating the complex and rapidly changing world we live in, and it involves analyzing and evaluating information, questioning assumptions, and considering different perspectives. At that point, each individual can decide what degree of deviation from past norms they consider beneficial.
While tradition can provide a sense of stability, security, and cultural identity, it can also be limiting and stifling if taken too far. On the other hand, modernity brings innovation, creativity, and new opportunities, but too much of it can lead to a lack of grounding and disconnection from cultural heritage.
Entrepreneurship is important to both of us; we both run our own businesses and encourage our children to always be thinking about their own businesses, whether its a pancake house, software business, a place like Melbourne Kids Village or otherwise. In order to see the problems that need to be solved, we need to spend some time where many problems exist: society! It will be best for our children to be raised with one foot in society, and one foot outside of society so they can navigate life’s challenges regardless of the environment.
Finding a balance requires parents to consider their values and goals and weigh the benefits and drawbacks of both approaches. You really must be deliberate about the experience you are creating for your kids and the particular skill sets you want them to learn – for life! It is important to encourage children to think critically about both tradition and modernity, to ask questions, and to challenge assumptions. This will help them develop a strong sense of self and the ability to navigate the complexities of the world around them.
Ultimately, the key to balancing tradition and modernity is to find a flexible, dynamic approach that values both. This means being open to new ideas and experiences while also valuing the wisdom of the past. By doing so, parents can help their children develop into well-rounded, thoughtful individuals who can navigate the challenges of the modern world while staying connected to their cultural roots.