When deciding on changing to a more self-sufficient lifestyle it’s important to include your children in on the reasons why and it’s benefits. Some children may just be fortunate enough to grow up in this lifestyle but most will probably be making this journey with their parents.
We’ve have been lucky in that our children have embraced this lifestyle and are actively pursuing ways to improve our self sustainability. Also they haven’t had any social problems at school since global warming and being environmentally responsible with trash is a topic touched on in my children’s public school. They are almost as impatient as us to be completely off the grid. Planning our gardens this year is to be less for learning and more for what is necessary for us to fulfill our vegetable and herb needs. Though we know that during our first full gardening year we will over and under plant some crops we are excited to know that we are planning on producing most of our grown food ourselves.
Our children also have a way of making sure we don’t lose site of the big picture. Sometimes we get so mired in on project that we forget that it is just part of a bigger plan and perfection is not needed for it to work. Also their pride and excitement about doing something about the way our world has been being treated is infectious to those they come in contact with, such as teachers, other children, coaches, an so on. Including our children in our plans and why we chose it also open the dialogue between us. Since parents are not always informed on the environmental studies of children nor are the teachers as well versed as we would like we are able to discuss it with them and minimize some fears and expand on some topics. After one such class my oldest daughter was afraid to eat fruit for fear of pesticides. Since we go for organic and I thoroughly was any vegetable or fruit that comes into our home I was able to soothe her fears.
What brought this home to me about including children in the journey is that there is not many books out there that can help explain and/or make this way of life seem if not “normal” just not “odd”. I am volunteering at my children’s school book-fair and only noticed 2, though one was the same book just easier for younger children, at the fair. I saw multiple books on “High School Musical”, “Narnia”, and even “Indiana Jones” but to only see those two that touched on this topic was a little disheartening. The book Down-to-Earth Guide To Global Warmingby Laurie David & Cambria Gordon and their “Get Down to Earth: What You Can Do To Stop Global Warming” was a nice thing to see tucked in with all the other hundreds of books.
We have to not only start with ourselves to change the lifestyle of consumption that is part of main stream American culture but also with the children. They need to see that there are options to this lifestyle. I was lucky in that my grandparents were “hill” people from the mountains of North Carolina and they introduced me to being self reliant without me knowing it. Most of the things that I have had to re-discover about getting off the grid are old truths that my MeMaw and PopPop taught me throughout my childhood. I just got caught up in the sparkly world of consumption. Now that I have children I can no longer think that I’ll get back to those truths when it’s convenient or “the right time”. I have and will continue to make this “the right time” for me and my family. For everyday I waited I regret not starting sooner, but for everyday I take another step, whether forward or back, I have a pride in myself and joy in my heart.
Wishing everyone else on this journey or thinking about starting it the same pride and joy.