The Monolithic Beast – trials and triumphs of technology and a lack of Waldorf perfection


I’ve done too much over the last few days and today I have that sensation that will be familiar to most women who have experienced pregnancy – the I think I’ve been hit by a truck sensation, otherwise mildly known as exhaustion.

And perhaps this is why in the midst of all my Waldorf homeschooling planning I went out and bought an enormous monolithic beast/flat screen television.

What was I thinking?

We have not had a plugged in television for the best part of several years now but we have had a small flat screen tv and dvd player kept in a wooden cabinet. For the last decade we have had an on again off again relationship with technology.

I use technology all the time, I use my computer every day. Mostly I read, I research, generally speaking I use technology as an extension of my ongoing explorations into topics of interest, I am always researching something. So in that sense I think I use technology positively and when I feel that I’m losing the balance I usually do something extreme like just go cold turkey for a couple of weeks and don’t use it at all.

But having a television as a major focal point in the house is something I have never, ever wanted. That being said there have been periods of time in my mothering years when I have lost sight of my ideals and just let things go and used the television as a babysitter. I had four children in six years with no extended family support and it was a fairly overwhelming experience. Many things slipped, many things I believed in and that were important to me. But I am gentle with myself about these things, life as mother in the contemporary world is not easy. I have just started reading The Incarnating Child by Joan Salter and in the first chapter she writes

Never has motherhood meant such a demand on the total being of a young woman as it does today. Formerly, even earlier this century, there was always a nurse-maid or extended family to help and support. Today, young mothers experience an intense loneliness not known before. Added to this there are sleepless nights, the never-ending washing, housework, shopping, often a crying colicky baby and so on….

I can identify with these words quite clearly, this has been my experience and it will continue to be and the fact that I have chosen to have a large family in spite of it does not take away from the experience of motherhood sometimes feeling like a trial. I am grateful for my role, I would not want to change it but it has been a struggle.

And when we struggle our ideals slip and we let ourselves down.

So back to the television. I didn’t grow up with one, the first television came into our family home when I was ten years old and that is something I am eternally grateful for because I read voraciously and I explored outside, I didn’t spend my formative years glued to a box. And I can see how this benefitted me.

But our life was different, we lived on a farm, there was room to run and scream and imagine. In suburbia these opportunities have to be mostly constructed and it is a struggle for me learning to be that kind of parent because it’s not a norm I grew up experiencing. The planned activities/helicopter parenting norm is utterly strange to me.

That being said, I love creativity so there are many childhood activities that I can do without much fuss spontaneously and joyously, I love art, craft, painting and constructing. I let my children play in the dirt as though we live on fifty acres.

We have spiritual ideals that are often at odds with mainstream society yet I understand youth psychology fairly well, I don’t want to emphasise too many things as forbidden because it just creates an idealisation and the likelihood of the children gravitating towards them later on and I feel like this about technology too.

So if we are going to have occasional access to screens then it might as well be fun!

I spent most of yesterday homeschool planning hence my squashed by a truck feelings today. The more I read, the more inspired I feel as long as I don’t let my areas of failure get to me. With age comes the awareness that these areas of supposed failure are always a matter of perspective.

Besides look at the splendid creations that can spring from the purchase of a monolithic beast!

photo 1-15

So as evening approaches the ‘truck’ is rumbling away a little bit and I almost have the energy to arise and make a cup of tea.
On one side of me is the monolithic beast and on the other is The Incarnating Child. These paradoxes and contradictions are the story of my life.

Published by

One thought on “The Monolithic Beast – trials and triumphs of technology and a lack of Waldorf perfection

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s