A post over at Down To Earth made me think about the way we live our lives here at Creekside Cottage. Our lives can be busy in the day to day living, but over all we live a simple life.
From the time our children are young the learn to work along side my husband and I in whatever we are working at. Dishes? Yes, the help and eventually get to where if necessary they could do it all themselves. Laundry? Yep, they learn this too. They start by helping to fold, and eventually they learn to run the washer and how much detergent to use, and since we make our own laundry detergent, they even learn to do that. In fact, Rachel who is 11, just made a huge batch of laundry detergent this morning. She is capable of doing it just as well as I can.
The kids also learn to work hard doing outside work. They are their Dad's right hands when he is chopping trees down, or pulling nails from old pallets. Even Kyle (age 5) helps in what he is able to do, which is actually a lot. Our kids thrive when they are given real work to do and they know that they contribute to the family's well being and way of life. Besides the memories it makes! They all have fun stories of things that happened when they were working with Dad.
I am always surprised when people tell me that they don't think it is fair for kids to have to do these kinds of things. They want to make childhood some kind of 'golden time' in their lives where they don't have to do anything. I don't find that this is helpful to children except to make them selfish and self centered.
Our kids have learned all kinds of skills. They know how to cook, bake, do laundry, care for animals, do dishes, start seeds, garden, make jam, can produce, knit, sew, ride a horse, do puppy care, collect eggs, chop down a tree, and cut it up for firewood, they know wild plants that are edible, and which ones aren't. They have learned all of this by working alongside Tim and I. What we didn't know, we learned and passed it along to them. What they have developed interests in they have taught to us! We know that they will pass it along to their children as well.
I think that our children will have a harder time making ends meet in the future. I am sure you have all seen the rising costs of food. The dollar is on the verge of being devalued, and fuel costs are rising. I want my kids to have life skills that will allow them to feed their families and to preserve the foods they grow. I want them to have the confidence that comes from having experience doing these things.
Simple living has become a way of life for us. It has allowed us to have me be at home all the years of our marriage. It has allowed us the freedom to home educate our children, so that our days naturally flow from math, history, and science to collecting eggs, picking flowers and vegetables, to making bread, having people over. It is rare now that we don't have someone here for a meal during the week. Uncle Denny comes on Mondays and Thursdays, my parents on Tuesdays, a lot of church friends on Sundays.
We believe we are helping our children and now our young adults, to be hospitable and to live a simple life with their own families one day. The purpose of making these choices in our lives is to be the primary influencers of our children, to be the ones to disciple them and to show them how to reach out to others through their family life.
Last night, we had a friend of Nate and Kay's here for dinner. She spent the evening here too. While my parents, Tim and I picked up Lindsay from work and went to get dessert out, the rest of the family were here and played games all evening. I think our guest had a really good time. I am finding that for many of these young people who the Lord brings into our lives, our family life is not the norm - they don't do these kinds of things with their families. No family dinner, games in the evenings, families that do things together.
We are thankful for the life God has given us. We are privileged to share our lives with those the Lord brings our way.
We love to do things together as a family and with our friends. This doesn't mean we do everything together, all the time. Our kids do things with friends and with their grandparents without Tim and I.
The oldest girls work part time jobs at a local Christian theater. They help moms with lots of little ones, give riding lessons.
Soon it will be time to get our seedlings into the ground, to plant more seeds and watch them grow into food. It will be a busy time here at our little cottage.
But it will be a time of fruitfulness, a time of growth and a time of harvest, not only of fruits and vegetables, but in our lives as well.
I am thankful for the life we live. We think it is a great life, and we love to share it with others.