Applied Permaparenting – or – How to stop driving your kids away from projects.
First thing, let them participate.
Hold on. Better yet. First thing, communicate openly with them, listen, and then, let them participate.
I drove my 4-year-old daughter away from beekeeping after our first hive inspection. She said, “I’m bored” and walked away.
Between inspections we spoke about it, and in doing so, I learned that I need to let her in on it, even if it means doing some things her way.
So, for the second hive inspection, we both geared up together and I asked her to collect and carry all the tools out. We planned ahead the portions of the inspection that she would do, such as, opening the hive, and we also spoke about the portions that I would do, like handling the frames.
The inspection went well. I helped her get the cover off, the hive top feeder, and the inner cover. Then I directed, and let her set up the frame rests and tools. We shared our observations of the frames, and when she got bored, I decided that we’ve seen enough, so she helped me put a new super on the hive, and close it all up.
Here’s the big question…what’s my why?
Why am I getting up at 5am to get an hour in the garden before the family gets rolling?
Why am I compelled to document the things I’m working on, and post them on the world wide web?
The genesis is in my desire to be an awesome father and husband. By growing and raising the best food on earth: we eat better, we save money, we grow together as a family, we value food and the conversation that should be had while enjoying the harvest.
What good is all that if I’m so anal about the details that I drive everyone else away.
Don’t step there!
Put that down!
Those of you in the game know exactly where I’m coming from. It’s hard.
Somewhere there’s the balance of patience, yet not having everything trampled, dropped, thrown or otherwise destroyed.
I’m learning. Learning to find the parts that everyone is interested in and letting go of some control of them. I think harvesting will be a big one that my daughter will find joy in.
Two events have reinforced that this approach (homesteading) carries value.
First, after our hive inspection, when my daughter was on her way back to the house, she was confronted by our bantam rooster. He gave her quite a fright. She ran to me crying, I got down with her, eye to eye, and asked her to do a self-assessment. What hurts? Nothing. Just scared the bejesus out of her. Together we walked past that rooster. We still have a ways to go before she’ll stand up to that rooster, but that path is a great opportunity for a little girl to learn about courage.
Secondly, death came up at her school. Her teacher shared with my wife and I that death can be a tough topic in the classroom. My daughter took the opportunity to share her story about death with her whole class. The death of our dearest little silkie, Soufflé. Death sucks no matter how you shake it, but learning about it on chickens is a nice precursor to coping with it on people.
Reflections on the homestead.
Do more, be wonderful.