Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Service and Machines

One of my many joys in life is walking my son to his bus every morning. And while I'm there with him, we get a chance to talk about all sorts of wonderful things.

Today we were talking about math, which, in my mind, is a wonderful thing. We began by talking about the word "abide", which came up in one of our prayers this morning. You remember, in one of the morning prayers, "abide within the sanctuary of Thy protection"? Anyways, we talked about what the word meant, and I related it to his going through some math flash cards last night. He hadn't wanted to do it, claiming they were too difficult. I insisted and there were only 4 or 5 that he didn't know. He abided with my decision to do them, and he discovered that they were a lot easier than he had thought.

This led to a conversation with one of the other parents about how important it is to memorize the basic math tables, and she pointed out other useful skills, like reading a map. I mentioned a friend of ours who cannot read a map, and how he relies on his GPS. "What if it stops working", I asked.

"He'll be lost", replied Shoghi. "And all because he can't read a map. He really should learn."

Well, the conversation went on from there, with the other lady asking me if I had a GPS. "Nope", I replied. "I use a map."

We talked about the reasons for this, and while we both agreed that it is a useful technology, a map is really much easier in many ways. A typical GPS costs around $100, as far as we know, and requires electricity, a satellite connection, and all sorts of other stuff, as opposed to a simple $5 map.

From there we began talking about other "useful" gadgets, like a dishwasher. Presuming that you don't have a large family, neither of us really saw the need for one. A good one costs about $400, takes a lot of resources from the earth, requires maintenance, special soap, and so on and so forth. But what really intrigued her was the idea that it also takes away an opportunity for service to the family.

If we really want to raise a generation that values service to humanity, probably the easiest way to begin is in the home. And in our home, one of the things we do is encourage the simple washing of the dishes.

"O my dear children..." said 'Abdu'l-Baha. "A degree of joy was attained that is beyond words or writing that, praise be to God, the power of the Kingdom of God hath trained such children who, from their early childhood, eagerly wish to acquire Bahá'í education that they may, from the period of their childhood, engage in service to the world of humanity."

No comments:

Post a Comment