The Lost Art of Tying Shoes

strap-on-and-go velcro

Visiting with one of my professor friends last week when she asked if my six-year-old could tie his shoes yet.

“No,” I said. “And it’s because of that blasted velcro.”

She heartily agreed. Her child, the same age as my son, can’t tie his shoes either. They haven’t had to learn. All their shoes are strap-on-and-go velcro or pull-on-without-socks Crocs.

We reminisced like a couple of centenarians.

“We didn’t have the luxury of velcro.

“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know how to tie my shoes.”

“These kids nowadays have it so easy.”

We laughed at ourselves and decided the boys will learn before adulthood to tie their shoes. Probably before year’s end. Pulling the bunny ear through the hole seemed to come so naturally to us. It won’t mystify our children forever.

Four days later, I entered the Apple store with my husband and our helpless child who can’t tie his shoes.

It was time for a system update. Our PC was gasping its final cyber breaths. You PC people are cringing as you read this. Don’t blame me. It was the intuitive, irresistible brilliance of the iPhone that lured me back to Mac.

Our state was having a tax-free weekend so the store was packed. When our turn came, I proceeded to ask elementary questions of the young, hip salesperson like, “Well, how do I make my email come up when I click the button that looks like the postage stamp?” and “Can’t you download all that stuff for me?”

angry bird

Then I remembered my child. He was no longer standing with us. Momma Bear panic kicked in. My head turned frantically in search of him. Where was my cub?

Within two seconds I had a visual. My cub had hooked himself up at an iPhone display where he was doing major damage on Angry Birds.

Happy as a clam. Oblivious to things like time and space and parents. Adeptly navigating the technology alone.

So he can’t tie his shoes. He’ll learn. Today there are bigger fish to fry.

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18 NIV

Ever feel like the technology’s taking over? So did I. Back in 1983. Hang on to your time machine. We’re going old school. Very old school. Presenting the rock opera (my son loved watching this by the way) Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.

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16 Responses to The Lost Art of Tying Shoes

  1. Technology was taking over in 1983 and it is today. I like a little old school myself! My 3 yo insisted on “tie shoes” and caused a huge scene in the store over it. She has them now. I’m tying them daily or just insisting she wear flip flops or her cowgirl boots. Enjoy the day!

  2. Ugh…I had a similarly streamed conversation regarding technology with some momma friends at the pool last week. We were discussing how we don’t think it is appropriate for pre-teens/kids in elementary school to have cell phones or facebook accounts…I’m sure my sons will not agree with me when they are 10 though! Hopefully, they’ll be able to talk to people in person and tie shoes though…he he he he he he

    • I’m in denial my son will ever want a cell phone or FB account… Going with that as long as I can! lol. He’s already taken over our iPod Shuffle and announced he would very much like his own computer and blog. So far we’ve been able to distract him with other activities. You know, like Legos, magic markers, playing outside. Stuff like that. I fear it won’t be long before we come to the bridge to the information superhighway and are forced to cross it with him!

  3. Great post, Aimee! And so very true… Tessa just learned to tie shoes this year (she’s 7 almost 8). And technology, well, I took the very first “Computer Science” class ever taught at my high school for one semester back in the early 80’s (we learned to program in Basic)… today, my 12 year old knows more about techie stuff than I do! I don’t comment often, but I really enjoy reading your blog! :-)

    • Oh, Candace! It’s so good to hear from you and know you enjoy reading. I’m honored. We miss you guys!
      I think we only had a few computers in my entire high school. I didn’t really work on one until college and even then it wasn’t anything like it is now. But our kids take to it like ducks to water. Three cheers for the technology savvy generations to come!

  4. rebecca gill

    I had the hardest time finding velcro in back to school shoes this year since my kids are both in 10.5, the size between toddler and preschool apperently. I did consider buying shoes with laces and trying to teach them but then imagined the nightmare that would be to add to our already hectic morning routine….shoe laces can wait another year!

    • Beck, I can completely relate (see Monday’s post about morning routine :)). You really have to pick your battles, and as you said, shoe laces can wait another year. Climb every mountain, search high and low until you find size 10.5 velcro shoes. Godspeed, sister. Your sanity is worth is.

  5. Will knows how to tie his shoes, but only because I hated velcro shoes, and always swore my kids would never have them. I broke my own rule, and bought him Sketchers. Once those didn’t fit, he had to relearn to tie!
    He is way more technology savvy than I will ever be! His new classroom has 8 Nooks, which was a huge selling point for him! ;)

    • Wow. An elementary school child who knows how to tie his shoes! Erika, you may want to call Ripley’s for this one.
      Love the technology in the classroom too. Thanks for making that point. I do not however love it so much in zoos, aquariums and museums. But that is another post to come…

  6. carrie holben

    My son didn’t learn feel the need to learn to tie shoes until he was ten yet he had his own youtube channel at age eight. Priorities are changing I guess.

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