I have dreams.
Lots of dreams.
One of them is to live on a homestead, be self-sufficient, keep the TV in a closet and only bring it out when I want to watch something good, live in community, homeschool my children, trade services and not run to Target for any and everything. I want to be happy with what I have and not live in the Cycle of More.
When I am around homesteaders, okay, I only know one…when I am around Sheila, I’m both inspired and intimidated. She knows so much and can do so much. It seems like an insurmountable task to even get started. She’s tried to help me and encourage me. She’s given me plants and when she asks how they’re doing, I can’t even tell her in detail. When was the last time I even went outside to look?!
Maxton, Sheila and me on our strawberry-picking expedition
Okay, so maybe homesteading is not “me.” But it doesn’t mean that I have to give up on my dreams of disconnecting from the consumer-driven culture that we live in, right? For several weeks now, I’ve been thinking about how to incorporate some of the values and attitudes and ideas promoted in the homesteading and farming culture into my real life–into my reality.
The fact is, I will never sew all of my kids’ clothes! Never. To learn how to sew on a button would be monumental. When it comes to working with my hands (except typing, of course) my attention span and patience is zero. Maybe, with lots of diligence, I can raise it to a 4. But my kids will probably be old enough to buy, er, I mean…sew their own clothes by then!
I am coming to grips with this reality:
- I am not a farmer. Investing my time outside, planting and pruning and tending to animals does not appeal to me in the least. I am willing to give it a try, but right now, it doesn’t seem like a good time.
- I don’t live in community. Everyone around me thinks I’m a lunatic for even thinking this lifestyle is remotely desirable. I do not belong to or even know of a community of support or like-minded people who live nearby. You don’t homestead alone. (I’ve learned that the internet is great for spreading and getting ideas, but when it’s time to do the actual work, you’re a lone ranger.)
- I live in my head and on paper. I create with images and words, not with a plow and …. see, I can’t even think of another garden tool…
- I can’t give my children what I don’t have. This is probably the hardest thing for me to accept. Because I can accept that I am not *this way* but I am not satisfied that my kids have to grow up to be *this way.* I want to open up the world to my children. I want them to think differently from the norm. At the same time, I can’t expect them to go out and learn skills and do things on their own….while I sit inside typing on my laptop. They are my motivation to tackle the above-listed obstacles.
Contrary to what you will read in some homesteading literature, you don’t have to go live on a farm in order to develop a serious work ethic, respect ecology and life cycles, know where food comes from, and not be stuck to the TV, video games or the Internet the majority of the day.
So my dream, tempered with reality, is to be intentional about opening the world up to my kids to what is good and whole and real without having to completely close off the culture that engulfs us. What. a. task. I don’t even know where to start. But I’m taking you along for the ride.
Are there any dreams you have for your children that seem beyond your reach?