Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gardening and the Joy of Manual Labor: a Thought-Provoking Article by Matthew B. Crawford

One of the many pleasures of gardening is the joy that comes from manual labor and literally getting your hands dirty. When non-gardeners look at my garden and ask, "Isn't that a lot of work?" this particular pleasure is something that is not easily communicated nor understood. This is something that is not widely valued by our modern culture and therefore missing from many lives among both adults and children.

From The New York Times, "The Case for Working with Your Hands" by Matthew B. Crawford, adapted from his upcoming book, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work:

"A gifted young person who chooses to become a mechanic rather than to accumulate academic credentials is viewed as eccentric, if not self-destructive. There is a pervasive anxiety among parents that there is only one track to success for their children. It runs through a series of gates controlled by prestigious institutions. Further, there is wide use of drugs to medicate boys, especially, against their natural tendency toward action, the better to “keep things on track.” I taught briefly in a public high school and would have loved to have set up a Ritalin fogger in my classroom. It is a rare person, male or female, who is naturally inclined to sit still for 17 years in school, and then indefinitely at work."

Related Post: Last Child in the Woods - Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

1 comment:

healingmagichands said...

I get that comment all the time too. I don't know how to respond. Yes, it is a lot of work, but look at the incredible beauty I get to enjoy, and KNOW that it exists because I did it. (well, WE did it, Jim helps a LOT)

I also really enjoyed that quote from the article. A young person who chooses to become a mechanic, or a builder -- why is this self-destructive? I know someone who worked for 25 years as a waitress, the last 15 in a high-end restaurant. She made better money than my college educated to MS level father. Why is that self-destructive???? The classed society is alive and well.

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