One of the major points of difference between developed countries and developing countries is the availability of capital vs. that of labor. For simplification, let's compare privileged citizens of 2 countries – U.S.A and India. While American homes have dishwashing machines, Indian households have domestic help to wash dishes; while most Americans use vacuum cleaners and swiffers to clean their homes, Indians hire sweepers for sanitation; and while laundromats are widely available facilities in the United States, India has plenty of "dhobi" services.
Capital is cheaper than labor in developed countries, and vice versa in developing countries, and the economics there is what drives people to choose one survival technique over the other. But in this process of teaching our children to rely on one means or the other, are we converting them into entitled people who are unable to perform basic chores if and when need be? Perhaps. The current lockdown due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus, is a test of this theory. Having to cook and clean all by ourselves, millions of privileged Indians are now realizing the importance of learning survival techniques. Here's elucidating a few -
1. Useful during sticky situations -
Being able to stay sanitized and nourished is a basic prerequisite to survival. Even if we don't need to do household chores every day, we never know when we may get into sticky situations. Despite all our scientific progress, natural disasters and global pandemics have the ability to paralyze society and drive people into their homes. Moreover, a situation as benign as a transport strike or mild flu may prevent your house help from coming to your house. It's important to be able to tidy up, clean after yourself, and prepare a nutritious meal under any circumstance. Using this time to teach our kids survival techniques like that of cooking, washing dishes, clothes, making their beds, grocery shopping, building their own daily routine, will prepare them for similarly sticky situations in the future.
2. Makes one independent -
People should be equipped with the skills and techniques required to make themselves independent. If this training is provided right from childhood, transitioning into independent living will be much simpler. Kids often leave their parent's sheltered homes for college, work, etc. and are suddenly in charge of themselves. If they already know how to perform household chores, a major burden of adapting to independent life is taken off their shoulders.
3. Debunks Stereotypes -
We often fall prey to age old stereotypes, where the father is supposed to be the bread earner, the mom is considered the home maker, and the kids are meant to study and play. These stereotypes are toxic and promote gender inequality and sexism. There are many working mothers who work at par with men and still bear the entire burden of household chores. If children see their fathers getting involved in household activities, and offer to help to decrease the burden on parents, the world will be a more equitable and disciplined place to live in.
4. Combats entitled behavior -
A major life lesson we must give to our children is that no job is small or beneath them. Class differences are quite ingrained in our society. The domestic help at home usually belongs to the lower socio economic strata of society and is often not treated with respect. Keeping children completely removed from household chores may make them entitled or arrogant.
5. Equips one for global movement -
Due to the capital-labor offset, one may be able to afford domestic help in one country but not in another. With the volume of movement going on in the world for education, career, travel, etc. we never know when an immigration opportunity may present itself. It would be very unfortunate if the lack of these fundamental survival techniques became an impediment in our plans. Learning and practicing basic survival techniques prepares us to be global citizens.
Being equipped to survive anywhere without assistance is imperative for everyone irrespective of their class, sex, and age. If we don't teach our kids how to look after themselves, we will be doing them a gross disservice by not providing them with the tools to live a healthy life, so what are we waiting for? Let's use this downtime to raise a fiercely independent new generation.