Applied Permaparenting

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.

How come no one wants to play with me?

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.

4 thoughts on “Applied Permaparenting

  1. Pat

    Wow, wonderful lessons being learned by all. You were wise to analyse and accept that you have to let go being anal and in control in order to share the experiences. The hard part as a perfectionist is that not everything will be ultimately done your way and yet…it will still be ok. Probably better than ok. These various experiences are not only teaching the actual subject matter whether it be beekeeping, gardening, cooking but they are vehicles for learning so many things about oneself. She is a lucky little girl to have two wonderful parents who care enough to change things up a little for the benefit of all.
    PS Beaker can be one scary rooster!!!

    Reply
    1. Matthew Post author

      Her observations of my knife sharpening business startup showed through this week when we picked a bouquet of flowers from around the yard for Momma. After that, she wanted to ‘sell’ flowers. We made a sign and put it at the end of the driveway, and then she asked the question all business owners ask at some time: “Why isn’t anyone stopping?” I love it. Frankly, she has some very clever ideas. I’m being careful not to inhibit her imagination with the standard answers.
      My favorite part, though, is that her first instinct was to give the flowers away. Reluctantly, I explained that there is generally an exchange for such products and services.

      Reply
      1. JY

        I think you might like this book:
        How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature
        By Scott D Sampson.

        Also, can I bring my family over to explore your homestead ?

        Reply
        1. Matthew Post author

          JY!

          Thanks for the book recommendation. I just put a request in for it at the library.

          May I bounce this one back at you? Homegrown by Ben Hewitt. I really enjoyed that book.

          You are absolutely invited over to the homestead! It would be great to have you and yours, especially during the harvest! Email me to coordinate: capnmatt41@gmail.com

          Reply

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