Convenience vs Good Stewardship: Dishes

I was standing at the sink, doing dishes and not enjoying it, when I started to think about how addicted to convenience we (as a society) have become.

Convenience is defined on freedictionary.com as:

1. The quality of being suitable to one’s comfort, purposes, or needs
2. Personal comfort or advantage
3. Something that increases comfort or saves work

I guess it’s not a new thing to desire comfort and to want to save on work. I bet you could argue that society’s been evolving all along with one of its goals being to increase comfort by making work easier. But sometimes I think that it is getting ridiculous! For example:

1. We need paper plates and plastic cups so we don’t have to deal with dishes;
2. We can’t live without dishwashers and microwaves to speed things up;
3. We buy in bulk and need massive freezers to store our reserves;
4. We have keyless entry systems, remote car starters, portable dvd players, hand-held game consoles;
5. We must have mobile phones so we can contact the spouse/a friend/the police in an emergency, but not just any phone;
6. We need iPhones and the like, with a massive amount of apps (preferrably free), so we can access the internet, read a book or play a game, at any moment, from anywhere;
7. We need satellite TV and a PVR so we never miss our favourite shows and we can skip the boring stuff;
8. I could go on, but I think I will choose to end it there…

Our current flat has a dishwasher. We’ve been living here since 16 July — so it’s been 4.5 months — and I think we’ve only used it 6 or 7 times so far. Why, you might ask, especially if neither of us enjoy doing dishes? The short answer is that I don’t want to run the dishwasher, wasting energy and water, when I am perfectly capable of hand-washing dishes. But is that the best use of my time?

I want to be a good steward of my time. I want to be a good steward of the world’s resources, whether they are renewable or not. I want to be a good steward of our finances. I want to make every moment of every day count.

I know that because of the age and abilities of the dishwasher here and the number of dishes we have at our disposal, using it will waste energy, time and money. Which means we’re washing by hand.

So maybe, instead of trying to get the dishes done before the kids are in bed so we don’t have to worry about them after the kids are in bed, we just need to suck it up. Some days (most, I think), it will be more important to have some time with the family than to get the dishes done before 8 o’clock. Others, one of us might need to spend some time at the sink, enjoying the sounds of happy kids playing with their daddy/mommy so later we can have a date night — one that isn’t taken up by doing dishes! Instead of thinking of it as a terrible chore, I choose to think of doing the dishes by hand as an expression of love and another chance to make an ethical decision rather than giving in and choosing convenience.

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3 responses

  1. Mom Z

    I can hardly wait for you to come home and wash my dishes :0)

    12/12/2010 at 21:10

  2. Jinny

    Those are some good thoughts Angie. I’ll admit that I run my really old energy wasting dishwasher once every day or two because I don’t like doing dishes and feel like I don’t have the time or sanity to do them. I talk a lot about being environmentally friendly but suck in this area. I admire you and how you are really practicing good stewardship. I gotta ask though, do you do your dishes after each meal, or everything at the end of the day? 🙂
    Cheers!

    13/12/2010 at 00:16

  3. Mom,I can hardly wait, too!

    Jinny, I don’t know that I am really practising good stewardship, but I am trying! As for your question, it depends on the day. At least a couple times a week I do the dishes after lunch at some point (if we’ve been baking or something and so there are a lot) and then again in the evening. More often, though, the bulk of dishes get done in the evening in one big pile, with just quick washes of the needed dirty ones earlier. We don’t have a lot of extra dishes in this house (we rent furnished places here), which is one of the reasons running our dishwasher would be a really bad idea (we would need the dishes before the washer was full).

    14/12/2010 at 09:28

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