Like any parent, my first obligation in life is raising my child(ren) in the best way I can. My son is, actually, one of the main reasons I am starting to head in the direction of a self-sufficient, natural, and healthy lifestyle.
My husband and I have talked at great length about the qualities that we hope to nurture in our son.
Gentleness: I believe this quality is so important to nurture, especially in boys who constantly seem to be having “tough” shoved down their throats by society at every possible turn. When I decided to start to grow some container plans with my son I was surprised at how gentle he was with them. Little boys are (often) very rough and tumble, but it’s so important to give them these moments of gentleness.
Patience: This is a quality that I think is greatly lacking in our modern world: with the ability to buy fast/frozen food, and a large variety of ready-made products we’ve lost our ability to just… wait. Whenever you’re doing anything for yourself you have to have a good amount of patience and understanding of the process. Homesteading and self-sufficiency in general mean having to wait for things… and hopefully this will give us a little bit of extra patience with other things as well.
Independance: My husband and I decided well before we had our son that we wanted him to be as “free-range” as possible. We wanted him to have the opportunity to play outside in the forest or in a field without being worried about getting hit by a car. The opportunity to explore outside without worrying about anything is one of the most wonderful things about childhood. We can’t wait to move out to our house so that he can play in a sandbox or in the garden and have plenty of room to run around.
Healthy lifestyle: I think this one speaks for itself in terms of gardening and cultivating your own food. There’s also the aspect of owning property and getting outside- going for hikes and runs, learning to ski (something my son is already better than me at at the age of 2) and snowshoe and just get outside.
Appreciation for nature: I’ve discussed this one already!
Easy going: We are very lucky that this is a quality that our boy seems to already possess (and he came by it honestly) because it’s a quality that we both value and see in ourselves so much. Being easy going is about more than just rolling with the punches. It’s also an attitude of being able to make anything work and of making the best of a bad situation. This will be so important as we learn the skills necessary to build a self-sufficient and sustainable life.
I know that my son is going to be his own person, and that ultimately we can’t decide on the qualities that he will possess. I do, however, hope that living a self-sufficient life will help him to appreciate and develop at least a few of these qualities.