Friday, December 26, 2008

Appreciating our Shoes...

I recently watched a documentary on a tribe of of hunters that live in Africa. As the camera crew followed them on a could often catch a glimpse of their bare feet as tracks of animals were observed. I was amazed as I saw them run full speed on those bare feet through some really rough terrain. Nothing seemed to slow them down! Their feet had to have been like leather to take that kind of abuse every day. Back in the village after the hunt I noticed that rest of the tribes feet were bare too! Even the smallest child started off life walking on gravel.

Contrast that with the U.S.! Apart from just walking around a pool...or a quick jog to get our mail...we rarely go without shoes. The most destitute of homeless people has a pair of shoes. Even the immobile newborn baby in a crib begins it's life sporting the new Air Jordans! Not only do we all have and wear shoes...we have multiple pairs of shoes...and shoes for different activities! We've got our shoes for walking...our beach shoes...dancing shoes...leisure shoes...etc..etc... Heaven forbid we would ever go without shoes and have our feet callous! Well...if they do callous we have special salt rubs and files to take care of that! The result of this that our a nation...have become baby soft, manicured, and wimpy!

This relationship that we have with shoes is facilitated by how cheaply (generally) shoes can be purchased in the states as well as how readily available they are. They have become a disposable commodity to us. If your soles start to wear just toss the shoes in the garbage and buy some more. The cobbler business is pretty darned slow these days.

So where do all of these shoes come from?

China makes somewhere around 80% of the worlds shoes and around 90% of the US's shoe supply. Many of the shoes that are "made in Italy" or other places are in fact made in China. They get around letting you know about it by hiding the "Made in China" tag deep inside a pocket...or printing "Made in China" in black ink on black leather...or other ways.

With such a dependence on foreign made shoes...the prudent should stop to consider "What would happen if China stopped supplying us with shoes"? "Is such a circumstance possible?" It is not wild speculation to consider that perhaps one day...relations between America and China could become strained and that imports from China would cease. It is also not without merit to think that strikes...wars...economic disasters...pestilence...etc...etc...could also stop those imports. All of these things would more than likely make the existing shoe supply vanish...or increase exorbitantly in price.

It brings to mind this prophecy and exhortation from Elder Orson Pratt...

"And the time will come, when we shall find ourselves restricted, and when it will be very important indeed for us to patronize home productions, and cease sending our millions abroad for importations, for the gate will be shut down, and circumstances will be such that we cannot bring things from abroad; and hence, the necessity of the exhortation that we have received from time to time, to engage with all our hearts in the various branches of industry necessary to make us self-sustaining and to carry them out with all the tact and wisdom which God has given to us, that we may become free and independent in all these matters, free before the heavens, and free from all nations of the earth and their productions, so as being dependent upon them is concerned." (Elder Orson Pratt: Deseret Evening News, vol. 8, #265, October 1875.)

And this one (bold added for emphasis)...

"So far as temporal matters are concerned, we have got to go to work and provide for ourselves. The day will come when you will see the necessity for making your own shoes and clothing, raising your own food, and uniting together to carry out the purposes of the Lord. We will be preserved in the mountains of Israel in the day of God's judgment.I therefore say to you, my brethren and sisters, prepare for that I which is to come.Have you made that preparation? Have you become a self-sustaining people? We were warned to be so by a man whom we sustained as the representative of our Heavenly Father here upon this earth. Today we are suffering from difficulties between capital and labor. Are you aware that our leader of nearly forty years ago told us something that if we would have heeded would have guided us safely past some of the ills of the presenttime." (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff pg. 166)

So...the prophets have told us that the day will come that "importations" will be "shut down" and that we will "see the necessity of making our own shoes"! So. How good are you at making shoes? Do you have some good shoe making tools? A tiny fraction of our population could say that they had ever even tried to make shoes...or have shoe making tools.

While I do think that shoe making will be a valuable skill to have...I think that for most the advice is best said by President Gordon B. Hinkley...

"We can set aside some water, basic food, medicine, and clothing to keep us
warm."(President Gordon B. Hinckley, “If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear,”
Liahona, Nov 2005, 60–62)

It is a lot easier to "set aside" extra pairs of shoes...which are a part of "clothing" than to try to make them later! It is wise especially if you have growing children to have the size shoes on hand that your children will be growing into. You might consider purchasing shoes that are well made so they will last...and are comfortable for walking distances. It would also be wise to have on hand some supplies to repair your shoes as an alternative to trying to make a new pair from scratch. A piece of leather on hand now in storage to cover a hole in a shoe is a lot better than sticking a piece of cardboard over the hole so your foot doesn't touch the ground!

Those that do want to make steps towards having "thy garments" be "the work of thine own hands" (D&C 42:40) may want to try to make these simple tire sandals.

Or check out this book that a shoe making friend of mine recommended (no he's not an elf).

Provide for your feet now...and they will thank you later.

1 comment:

  1. I checked and we each have extra sneakers in our 72 hr " Grab and Run " bags, and we are setting aside extra pairs in each of our cars !

    Good advice !!!