self-sustainability for everyone #8

passing on our values / /

Something I’m learning is very important to the self-sustained lifestyle is to pass on our values to the next generation. There is so much knowledge and skill that for the most part has been lost within the past two generations, and now as adults we are trying to relearn things that most people learned as children a hundred years ago.

My grandmother was born in 1913 and raised in a home, like all of us. Unlike all of us, she knew how to get by without indoor plumbing and without her family having to run to the grocery store every week. As a child, her family didn’t even own a car. Her father was a butcher and when she grew up she married my grandfather, who was also a butcher. However, her father was the sort of man who raised his own meat, while my grandfather butchered meat off a truck in a grocery store. My grandfather didn’t want his children to learn butchery because he wanted them to get a “good job” and make “good lives.” In one generation so much had changed! Not that there was anything wrong with wanting a better life for his kids, but society’s idea of what defines a “good life” had shifted.

When Joe and I talk I know for the most part he feels like a lot of the stuff we do, or that we have desires to do, that he should already have learned as a child. He is frustrated that the country boys of the 1800’s learned woodworking and animal husbandry and farming as children from their fathers. Young girls were taught very young how to cook and plan meals based on what was grown and fed in their yards, they knew how to sew, mend, knit, embroider, clean, and make a lovely home with very little. Now we live in an industrial, materialistic, hoarding, money hungry, rat race that has left most people feeling empty and unfulfilled.

Joe and I talk a lot about the things we will teach Piper as soon as she is able to put her hand to the task. She is already helping me make the bed by passing me the pillows. Soon I will teach her to bake and cook by measuring ingredients and chopping vegetables. Eventually she will have indoor and outdoor chores. She will be taught to milk the goat, and help plant seeds and then transplant the sprouts. She will one day be allowed to go out hunting with her father when she has developed the patience to be still and quiet. We will teach all our children these things.

But teaching skills isn’t enough. We have to teach them why it is important. If when they get older they see it is easier to push pencils than to till fields, they may abandon the things they are taught as children if they do not have the foundation of values to show them why it is a better life to be self reliant.

the values we teach / /

Everyone pursuing a self-sufficient lifestyle will have different reasons for doing so. I assume health is probably the big one, but the rest of the reasons may vary from person to person. Whatever your values are, explain them in detail and often.

Joe and I believe it is God’s call on our life. We believe that God created the world and left humanity with the responsibility to care for the land, plants, animals and environment. We will teach our children that it is God’s call on their life to continue to carry out that responsibility.

We also believe that parents have the greatest influence on their children. Good parents will have a positive influence and bad parents a negative influence, but either way, it is a strong influence. The more time a parent spends with their child the more lasting the influence. So we plan to school our children at home and keep enforcing the positive influence of our own values. We plan to teach them about the world, but we also plan to monitor the influence that society would have in causing our children to be influenced contrary to our values. Once they reach the age to be able to reason for themselves and make their own life decisions we will let them go. If they choose to reject our influence at that point, it will be their decision, but by then at least they will hopefully have skills and values to fall back on. Or maybe they will choose to carry on the legacy we have fostered for them.

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5 thoughts on “self-sustainability for everyone #8

  1. A perfect summation of why my husband and I also feel led to become more self-reliant and knowledgeable about how to do things people learned as basics for hundreds of years. I am frustrated that I cannot even keep a houseplant alive, though I partially attribute it to living in a condo that gets virtually zero daylight. Let’s hope these ideas gains more ground and more people in our generation realize the importance proactively, rather than reactively.

  2. Jeramy and I are seeking a self-sufficient lifestyle too and we share some of your same goals. We want a large food garden and egg-laying hens. We plan to homeschool. We’d like to eventually go off-grid. It is a long-term project, but at every step along the way we plan to teach Simon about the values of caring for the planet and ourselves, and to learn some of the old-fashioned skills that, for many children, have been replaced with the latest apps on their parent’s ipads.

    • that is so true!! and though Angry Birds my be a lot of mindless fun…it IS mindless and isn’t helping much with anyones life skills.

      off-grid is the goal for us as well. abandoning technology altogether is going to be such a hard thing to do though! but we’re not even close to being there yet so we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

      • We don’t intend to totally abandon all technology…but to be as minimalist about it as we are capable. Obviously, I use the computer and blog, etc. But we don’t let Simon use it yet. We have a tv, but it isn’t hooked up to cable so all we watch is netflix. I am kinda anti-smartphone, although since my phone is practically an antique, I know that when it eventually dies I’ll probably be forced to get a fancier one. (Jeramy rejects my suggestion that we just have a house phone.)

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