Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Barefoot family - everything else

This post explains what my "new, old-fashioned" family uses for transportation, communication, and entertainment.

UPDATE 10/13/2013: Removed references to Idealia, which is actually the hotel and conference center in Stone Mountain, GA, and site of the annual conference referred to here; revised the recreational structure.

UPDATE 10/25/2014: Changed "Handy Jam" to "Pink Party"

There's no question that modern transportation is diverse and convenient.  However, in an environment that is more self-contained, there is less need for it in the Barefoot environment.  As was the case for the years before the Industrial Revolution, there are just two ways to get around: on foot or by mule-drawn carriage.  People who were good at driving cars, such as Bunky, can adapt themselves easily to the carriages.  Although the mules don't get very far by modern standards - only 10 miles per hour, with frequent rest stops required for long voyages - as long as the family doesn't go that far beyond their property it should be fine.

Imagine no televisions, no cell phones, and no Internet or social networks.  That's exactly what it's like on this land.  However, this primitive arrangement works in one very big way: the residents have to talk to each other and to God.  Family life is enhanced without the barrier of a TV screen or a chat room.  By reading books, especially novels, people make up their own imaginary worlds and engage with the authors.  Also, hand-cranked devices allow for limited use of recorded music and video.  Prayer and Bible study allow for a deeper spiritual connection and a reminder as to why the Barefoots are here.  (However, battery-powered and/or hand-cranked radios and TVs are sometimes used if a family member wants quiet time with electronic items for limited time periods.)

Entertainment and recreation
No video games?  No local cineplexes?  No way to watch big-time sports events, concerts, or even "reality" TV shows?  No problem!  The challenging, but fun, part about family life is the rediscovery of old pleasures and the creation of new ones without the interference of mass media.

Every one of the Barefoot family members knows how to sing, dance, play an instrument, or write for pleasure.  These talents are showcased at various times, including at the annual "Pink Party" and other special events.  Also important to the family is storytelling, and there are several times a week when they just "shoot the breeze" after the chores are done.  Trivia contests are held every Thursday night.

Popular recreation opportunities for children include hide and seek, peek-a-boo, and playing with dolls.  Meanwhile, adults play a wide variety of games like gin rummy, bridge, blackjack, bunco (for which a similar game session is pictured), and board games and outdoor ones like cornhole and croquet.  And that's not to mention the balloon fights, pillow fights, wrestling matches, or other things that could break out at any time.

On summer days, the younger children and teenagers do belly flops, climb trees, and romp - barefoot, of course - through the wildflower meadows as soon as their farm chores are done.  They also use that time to collect butterflies, bugs, and other small animals.  (While the bugs stay in a jar for study, the butterflies are catch-and-release.)

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