Want to wind up your kids? Try some old tech

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Mi­randa Mur­phy is a mother of three and a jour­nal­ist at The Aus­tralian. Fol­low her on Twit­ter @mur­phymi­randa

A FEW days ago we hired a four-wheel drive to go bush camp­ing in the Kim­ber­ley with our three kids.

This ve­hi­cle is so hard­core it could climb a tree and it’s kit­ted out with nifty fea­tures in­clud­ing a foldy-outy tent at­tached to the roof and a kitchen stashed in the boot. There’s a honk­ing great big snorkel on the side and racks that look big enough to carry a spare car on top.

When we picked it up the kids were thrilled; they crawled all over the in­te­rior and glee­fully sat be­hind the wheel, Ley­land Broth­ers -style. They im­me­di­ately nick­named the car Dusty Beeps.

But then: dis­may. “Dusty’s win­dows don’t open!” “The doors won’t un­lock!”

What? We peered into the car to see our 21st-cen­tury off­spring star­ing at the door pan­els and we re­alised ... they didn’t know how to wind down a win­dow or use a pull-up push-down lock. us again. We’re hardly do­ing it tough — Dusty has an iPhone jack, for heaven’s sake — but we’ve seen com­mu­ni­ties up here in North­ern Aus­tralia that re­ally are.

Thank­fully our chil­dren’s school agreed with us that the kids could learn so much more from this trip than they might from four weeks in their class­room.

The prin­ci­pal prob­a­bly didn’t reckon on some of the lessons be­ing as old-school as how to wind down a win­dow, or open a ring-pull drink can, or send a post­card.

On the other hand, they now know how to time a swing from a rope into a wa­ter­hole to per­fec­tion, tell a crocodile from a “lo­godile” and re­move a grasshop­per from their hair with­out scream­ing.

And as for the car, to­mor­row we’ll show them how to use the knob on the ra­dio. Don’t say we don’t show them a good time.

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