It’s an historical task…has literally been around through the centuries, and is now, seemingly, on the verge of disappearing due to the availability of modern convenience. What you ask do I refer to…the lost art of dishwashing.I have now heard many times, that a person I am working with at TIFS has not ever washed a dish…the person may go on to say that mom or dad does them, but the most common answer I get is that “we have a dishwasher” and that seems to be answer enough.
But what are we losing by relying on the convenience of having a machine do the job for us?
When washing dishes, the purpose is to clean the dish, so simple really; but have you ever really thought of what we learn and experience when doing them?
Personal Safety skills:
- Being able to stack dishes in a sink/or drain basket in a way that prevents breakage, and can pose a hazard.
- Setting an appropriate water temperature that will get the grease off but will not burn your hands
- Learning how to wash sharp objects carefully
Problem Solving skills:
- How much soap to use
- What to do if food is stuck on
- What tool works best…dish cloth, sponge, scrubby pad?
- How to tell when dish is clean…observation and feeling it with your hands to see if any food is stuck on…paying attention to details
Time Management skills:
- Planning when to get dishes done
- Doing them until completion
Sequencing skills: (this is my favorite and I feel one of the most important)
- The ability to make a decision on what to start with and then what comes next based on a variety of reasons…such as deciding when to do knives, and do you put them in the water with other dishes, do you put them in a full sink of soapy water when you cannot see them?…and such as when to wash the greasy pan; before, during, or after the rest of the dishes?
(and yes, I have given this alot of thought)
The development of these skills through such a basic task provides an opportunity to build confidence and knowledge, which can be used to encourage the transfer of these skills to other areas and tasks in life.
And let’s face it, what’s better than being able to receive almost instant gratification for a job well done by seeing a pile of dirty dishes become clean and shiny?! This instant gratification then leads to pride in knowing you can serve family and friends with those dishes…and if you have ever been to someone’s house where you were hesitant to drink out of the cloudy, dull looking glass then you probably know what I mean.