I recall playing outside as a youngster until dark, when mom would call me home—usually for the third time. My mother, like her mother before her, could recall the same memory from her youth.
Today’s children will have no such recollection, as childhood has transitioned from outdoors to indoors, and virtual reality has replaced the real world.
Whereas I spent hours each day playing outdoors, a recent study revealed that the typical American child spends only four to seven minutes per day playing outside. By contrast, digital screens hypnotize our children for more than seven hours each day.
Many modern homesteaders made a choice to opt-out and provide for themselves, but what impact does that choice have on their children? This week, we’ll begin a series of discussing the real life ups and downs of homeschooling children.
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We often hear people say that they want to move out of the city because they want to raise their children in the country. Homesteading has taught us many lessons and strengthened our moral resolve more than I ever thought it could.
We were completely disconnected to things as basic as where our food came from or the changing of the seasons. It may seem strange to someone used to the fast pace of city life, but the quiet peace “out here” and the repetition of each day as we care for ourselves, our land and our animals creates a full life. It has taught us that there is no need for shopping, the latest video games, vacations, or fancy dinners out. Instead, we never want to leave the farm!
While the quality of life is excellent out here in the country, sometimes it’s mighty quiet on the homestead. So, what does a homesteader contemplate while checking off the chores? Surprisingly, I find myself thinking about economic and social unrest trends more than I would like.
Yes, even as my fingers sift through the soil I wonder if the trend in terrorism and social unrest will escalate and if harsh economic times are ahead. In these moments, I feel comforted by the choice we made to opt out of the rat race. Very comforted.
Still, I can’t seem to kick the habit of keeping up with world events, including increasing violence and quality of life economic indicators.
From time to time I look at the real inflation trends. Not the government numbers that suggest 2-3%, but the ShadowStats numbers that calculate inflation the way it was before the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) changed its methods, making the Consumer Price Index appear low.
I want to be self-reliant, but I have no land. There’s no way to do urban homesteading
I get it…you hear the voice of self-sufficiency calling you, but for whatever reason, you’re not able or willing to secure acreage.
What can you do?
You do whatever you can, wherever you are to become more self-sufficient.
It’s true that most modern homesteaders would like to have their piece of land in rural paradise, the fact is that most people will stay in the cities or densely packed suburbs. While it’s not possible to be truly self-sufficient in that environment, total self-sufficiency is a myth, anyway. We all need to depend on others to some extent. After all, you’re not going to perform your own heart surgery or produce the parts necessary to create solar panels.
I think the biggest problem most people have with embracing self-reliance is one of mindset. They think, “I’m stuck in the city with no land, so there’s nothing I can do.”
Question: What do you visualize when you hear the phrase homesteading, self-sufficient or self-reliance? I’m willing to bet that many of you visualize a natural setting. Perhaps a loving family working hard together. Something between Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons, for those of you old enough to know those television shows. We often picture a family living off the land, tending to crops and animals while being…well…self-sufficient.
Some of you may even picture the rustic family from DirecTV’s “The Settlers” commercial. After all, even their agency seems to view homesteaders that way.
When we think of homesteading and living self-sufficiently, many positive notions come to mind. Being close to nature, family members working the garden together, the feeling of independence and freedom. Birds serenading as we sip our morning coffee. A family snuggling next to a wood stove as the snow falls.
But, as the DirecTV ad suggests, many people frown on the notion of homesteading. They relegate homesteaders alongside cavemen and imagine a life of poverty, excruciating work, isolation and sacrifice. Even suffering.
With summer here, tis the season–to be itchy. Warmer months means enjoying the great outdoors, but a bout with poison oak or poison ivy can put an end to the fun real quick.