Thursday, July 18, 2013

Change Begins At Home...Inspiring Others To Becoming More Self-Sufficient

Welcome to the July 2013 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Inspiring Change in Others.

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. This month, our members are talking about how they inspire others to make positive changes in their lifestyles. If you have tips to share, feel free to comment on all of the posts! And maybe you'll walk away with a few tips you can use in your own life.

Lil Man & Dad planting pumpkins
In my family's journey to self-sustainment, we believe that our most important change begins at home.

Our land is our "training ground' for our boys. In fact, they have helped us grow our fruits and veggies from seed. They have helped us in every process from planting, watering, and even chemical-free pest control.

This gardening project has truly been a blessing for our family, not only will we have a source of food free of commercial pesticides, but our children have "grown" in miraculous ways.

Leettle loves our garden fresh peas, In fact...they are his preferred snack!
 What Our Garden Teaches Our Children :

 * Self-reliance - by growing our own food, we help our children realize that we can provide for ourselves and discuss how to preserve some of this food (by not only freezing, but canning, or drying)...which is extremely important during times of financial crisis or natural disasters. We live in tornado country, so having a stocked pantry is pretty important.

* Responsibility - each year, we allow our children to choose a couple of crops to care for, and in the process they learn the value of hard-work.

* Self-worth - this is the "by-product" of responsibility. My boys were filled with joy when they were able to see the result of their labor. They were able to do things that momma and da da could do!

* Importance of organic food - my children are old enough to know that non-organic produce are sprayed with harmful substances that can make them sick. Additionally, we want to avoid genetically altered seeds, so we have chosen to purchase heirloom and organic seeds from reputable sellers. From the plants that we grow, we harvest the seeds to use for next years crop, so not only do our children know that we will get food from these seeds, but they will make more seeds to plant as well.

* Respect - even in caring for vegetables that were not their favorites, by caring for the plants, my boys were more likely to try them. My oldest would not touch leafy greens with a ten foot pole, so I wash shocked when he wolfed down (after a little coaxing) his salad made with lettuce from our garden.

More often than not, as parents, we tend to underestimate our children. Even at a young age, they can be taught the values that will last them a lifetime. They are curious about everything and soak up information like sponges.

My husband and I remind ourselves frequently to include our boys in every activity from meal preparation to homemade cleaning supplies (my oldest loves experimenting with different essential oils for his hand soap), under close eye of course.

My children love to help make our meals
You do not have to have a garden to teach your children the value of self-reliance (although I highly recommend starting one).

Here are some other ways that you can teach your family about where our food comes from our how the products we use are made :

- Take your family to a nearby orchard to pick you own fruits and plan a meal around them. If you have a juicer, make fresh juice!

- Visit a farm to see how plants are harvested or milk is extracted.

- Tour a mill, purchase some flour, and bake your own bread.

- Go to a farmers market and ask the vendors how they make their products (many have samples too!) or the process involved in growing their food. Purchase their products and ask your child to recall how that item was made.

- Check out books from your library about the places listed above.

- Make your own cleaning supplies and discuss the reasons for making them chemical-free. Check out my DIY section for recipes.

Do you participate in any of these activities with your family? 

In what ways do you inspire change in others?

Visit Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival!
Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:

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  1. Hmm... there's a u-pick berry farm within an hour of here. Maybe I can convince the husband to hop on board and do that with me and the spawn. :-)

  2. Love this post. I am forwarding it to my husband. We have been talking more and more about becoming self sufficient from the stores and everyday life. But we just need to buckle down and put together a better plan then just our dreams. We know what we want to do and how to do most of it but it all starts with buying our land first. Thanks for the great tips.

  3. I wonder how our 4yr old would do with this. She has scensory issues and is a very picky eater but maybe if she sees it growing and knows she helped it turn in to what the end result is, she may have more respect for it? thanks for sharing!

  4. ThePistachioProjectJuly 18, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Funny…or maybe sad, but I didn't even think about kids as being the "others" in this topic. Of course, they are though and I love that you wrote about it. We can inspire our children to live naturally every single day, they are the ones that we can and should influence.

  5. We let our daughter be pretty independent and have so since she was a baby baby. As a result, she is already very self-sufficient.

  6. I love that you grow your own food. I bet your kids love that too. Your tips are excellent. I definitely want to take my daughter to a farm to go berry picking.

  7. Chrystal @ Happy MotheringJuly 18, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    So true! We really should start with our children and bring this next generation up knowing the skills that will be forgotten if someone doesn't pass these lessons on! My children also understand that non-organic produce is not the healthiest choice. We have a small garden this year and we're raising chickens. I can't wait until they start laying eggs!

  8. It has helped my 4 year old...who is a VERY picky eater! It did take a little coaxing, but my husband and I did not have to resort to bribery (I know, that is bad) to get him to try his lettuce :-)

  9. We actually do not have that much land to work with. Much of our plants are in pots, some sort of container, or in hanging bags. I am hoping to do a post on container and vertical gardening soon :-)

  10. Great post! I hadn't thought about using a vegetable garden as a teaching tool for kiddos, and all of the different thing it teaches! Definitely food for thought when my kiddo(s) get older!

  11. I love sharing all of this knowledge and the skills i've learned with my Little Bug too. It's great to have the ability to give him such a good foundation and foster his desire to live as green and natural as possible. awesome suggestions for ways to inspire others!

  12. Our children are the main people we need to inspire and you are right including them in all activities is a great way to get them to learn and grow closer to your. I think your tips will not only teach and inspire but also improve your relationship with your children

  13. Alas! I am a terrible gardener. I do teach my children about the importance of good, clean food, take them to our CSA etc., but at this point they are better gardeners than I, from what they have learned through the gardening program, integrated in the curriculum at our Waldorf school. I now come ask them for advice with my wilting garden plants!

  14. We have a vegetable garden in the summer It is a lot of work but theres nothing better tasting then vegetables fresh from the garden

  15. I love these ideas! Healthy eating begins at home as does an understanding of how the world works. Plus, kids learn better through experience. My son is a little young to understand, but I do hope to take him to apple farm and berry picking in the summer. Also we do go to the farmer's market.


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