In this fast-paced, every-changing world, certain traditions and activities are at risk for becoming obsolete. Nowadays, people want what they want when they want it. Instant gratification is a primary goal in life in a modern world. There are three old-fashioned pastimes, however, that you might want to consider restoring in your daily life. There are so many wonderful benefits to each of these customs. For instance, they encourage interactions between young people and their elders.
Many people today shirk any idea that might be considered old-fashioned. An example would be someone who chooses to use a newer product, even if a similar one from long ago works better. People want new. They want trendy. If it’s considered outdated, they disregard it. Such people might not be so keen to take the ideas in this post to heart. In fact, there might be some who will the word “old-fashioned” in the title and will stop reading right there. If you’ve come this far, I encourage you to keep going until the end. And, if the three pastimes about to be mentioned are not a regular part of your lifestyle, I also encourage you to try them. I think you’ll be glad you did.
Going to the library and reading hard-copy books are considered old-fashioned activities
Even people who like to read typically do so using a Kindle device or a cell phone or Audible (which isn’t really “reading,” it’s “listening”). When is the last time you visited your local library? How about the last time you read a book of fiction for pleasure, using a hard-copy book that you held in your hands? There’s a serious literacy crisis in the United States. Restoring the old-fashioned practice of going to the library and reading hard-copy books can definitely be part of the solution.
Many libraries have story hours for children. They have book clubs for adults. Many libraries nowadays also host extra-curricular activities for kids, such as summer reading clubs or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) activities. Your local library might host activities for homeschoolers, as well. It’s not uncommon for libraries to have a “children’s corner,” where younger kids can engage in freestyle play, such as building blocks or using a pretend kitchen. Try checking out several books per month, both for yourself and to read to your kids, if you have children in your household. You might also be able to check out movies at your library. Reading for pleasure is one of the most valuable ways you can spend your time.
It’s also critically important for young children to read from actual books. Brain function and eye movement is different when a person reads from a book, rather than on a computer or other electronic device. Research shows that people who read from books are able to retain what they read at higher rates than e-readers can. Readers also tend to establish a special connection to a story when they’re holding a book in their hands that they might not have when scrolling on an electronic page. Perhaps you can set a goal of visiting your local library at least once per month and increasing the amount of time you spend reading for pleasure.
Writing letters is another old-fashioned activity that’s worth renewing
When I was young, having a pen-pal was a popular activity. Some people developed a pen-pal friendship with kids in other countries. Others wrote letters to friends after they’d moved away. The art of letter-writing is quickly falling by the wayside in a world where correspondence usually takes place through text messaging. Letter writing can include a craft, as well, because you can make your own stationery, even if that simply means decorating borders on a writing tablet using colored pencils or markers.
Through the years, my children would often exchange letters with my mother. Oh, what a delightful letter-writer she was! She would tell them stories from her childhood, including interesting historical facts from those times. And, she was always so thrilled when the envelope filled with letters from my kids would arrive. In fact, she once told me that she would spend days reading and re-reading each letter because they made her so happy.
Letters can be a real treasure
My mother passed away in January of this year. I cannot tell you how much my children and I now treasure the big box of letters we have collected from her over the years. To see her hand-writing warms my heart. Also, my children now have stories written in their grandma’s own hand that they can one day share with their own children. Getting personal letters in the mail is fun! You can write to a friend, soldiers serving on active duty overseas, a neighbor who lives alone or a relative. Writing letters in cursive looks especially nice. Do you know many schools no longer teach cursive handwriting? Restoring the old-fashioned practice of writing letters is an opportunity to teach your children cursive, if they’re not learning it at school.
Bake bread or make something from scratch
Another old-fashioned activity that is worth renewing is making food from scratch. One need only glance at the long lines in their local fast-food drive-thrus to know that making homemade meals from scratch is becoming a rarity. Baking bread the old-fashioned way is particularly satisfying. When you work with the dough, the feeling is similar to getting your hands into soil in a garden. The wafting aroma of baking bread evokes feelings of coziness, welcome and comfort in a home. And, I assure you, no one is going to complain when you slice into a warm loaf of homemade bread, slather it in butter (You can make that from scratch, too!) and offer seconds!
Nothing goes better with a fresh load of homemade bread than a nice, big pot of stew or soup. There are so many delicious foods you can make from scratch, including spaghetti sauce, pizza, pasta, salsa, and more. Bring your children alongside you in the kitchen — you can make it a family-cook-together night! You can give the youngest children simple tasks so they feel helpful. Think of a time when you weren’t feeling well, and someone gave you some homemade chicken noodle soup. Food made from scratch is healthier, and it’s special.
Activities that make you slow down
Each of the old-fashioned activities mentioned here today takes time. At the library, you spend time browsing the shelves to find the books you want. When writing a letter, you have to take time to think about what you want to say. It also takes time to mail letters back and forth. Baking bread takes time, as well, and you must be patient while you let the dough rise. Making food from scratch typically involves peeling or chopping and dicing vegetables, etc.
One of the benefits of restoring these activities is that they cause us to have to slow down. We have to focus on the task at hand. It’s important interact with others and to stay connected by means that include more than hitting a “send” button. Let us know if you try any of these ideas or what types of old-fashioned activities you think people should start doing again!