Does Alexa do windows?

By Nancy Black

It’s really not their fault. They are a product of their upbringing. But it was a harsh reality shocker in my life this past week when I found out my youngest child did not know how to use a vacuum cleaner.

Granted, said teenager grew up in my elderly mother’s home, which came with a housekeeper. But to learn they had absolutely no basic knowledge of a vacuum, and how it works, blew my mind. We are far from wealthy, so it’s not like my children have had maids and butlers attending to their every needs. They just, amazingly, had never had to pull out a vacuum and actually use it ever in their life. Until now. 

Most teenagers wouldn’t vacuum just for the heck of it, and mine was no exception. It was only after the 55 lb. “puppy” they found recently tore through the house and knocked over one of my oldest plants. The antique planter and stand went crashing to the floor, spilling wet dirt, leaves and glass shards everywhere. After we picked up the big pieces, I said in my best Mean Mommy voice, “You’re going to have to vacuum.”

After a few moments, I heard the confession, “I’m not sure I know how to vacuum.” 

There are some things in life we just assume everyone knows how to do. Vacuuming is one of them. But why would my child know how to vacuum? Or clean a toilet? Or sweep and mop a floor? A friend of mine recently posted a video she had made for her college-aged daughter. The daughter had come home for the weekend and left her favorite sweater behind. It had a note and a button pinned on it asking her mom to please sew on the button and FedEx the sweater back to her because it was her favorite and she needed it asap.

My friend made an instructional video for her daughter of herself sewing on the button of the sweater. She explained each step of the way: from defining what the eye of a needle is, to moistening the thread with your lips, to looping around and making your final knot. The video was so funny to watch because what she was doing was so basic. 

Who doesn’t know how to sew on a button? Or use a vacuum cleaner? Or even screw in a light bulb? If children have never had to do those things, then how are they expected to know how? Somehow, someway, we have got to get back to the basics and start teaching our children how to function in life without outside android help.

High tech gadgets are great. And I love technological advancements that make our lives easier. But, trust me, neither a Siri or a Roomba could have cleaned up that dog’s mess without the help of an actual person and a good old-fashioned, plug in the cord, tilt the handle back and push forward action of a real vacuum cleaner. 

Photo courtesy of Parts Select