A recent Facebook controversy on my own page brought to light some interesting thoughts this month. In an attempt to be amusing regarding turning Easter pets into healthy meals, I was informed that my lifestyle of raising my own food was not okay.
I have come up against this “not okay” statement in my life many times. It’s “not okay” for you to go against the grain in High School. It’s “not okay” to be a woman firefighter. It’s “not okay” to give birth at home. It’s “not okay” to homeschool. Now it’s "not okay” for me to raise and harvest my own food, and it’s certainly “not okay” for me to teach my children to do it. Where do we, as a society get this idea of what is okay and what isn’t? Why do mainstream folks feel so threatened by decisions made by those of us who swim against the current? Why are we who are swimming against the current okay with living this way? Where do our different thought patterns come from; okay versus not okay? I have no answers, just lots of questions.
What I have observed is that one “alternative” decision tends to lead to another, and then another until you are the fringe of the fringe. It’s quite nice here. We are homeschooling urban homesteaders, and I know we’re not the only ones. Many folks, like us, have gardens, bees, chickens, perhaps horses, pigs, rabbits, and more. I have been pleasantly surprised at the number of homeschoolers I have met who either join me or support me in this type of lifestyle; if not for it’s self-sufficient nature, certainly for it’s educational one. Just as we don’t fully rely on outside sources beyond our control to educate our children, nor do we completely rely on outside sources, similarly beyond our control, to feed us.
I wonder what else we don’t rely on outside sources for? Medicine? I know a lot of us prefer homemade chicken soup, elderberry syrup, and raw honey to the flu shot. Music? Oh to count the homeschoolers who make their own music with instruments, their voices, and their hearts. Gifts? What better homeschool lesson than making a gift for the next birthday or holiday, complete with hand written card, perhaps on homemade paper? That might be stretching it a bit. Clothing? Sewing is an art form many homeschoolers and homesteaders alike are familiar with. Wood working? Fishing? I bet you are far more capable than even you know. Many of us in this community have made the decisions others have told us are “not okay.” We are here, making our own way creatively through this life. We are resourceful, we are inventive, and we think outside the box. We have taken up a mantle others never even consider. It’s hard work, but we believe our choice is okay, and so we pour heart, body, and soul into it. What I do not want anyone to overlook is the example we set for our children. They see us every day making, defending, reevaluating, persevering, and being okay with a decision many think is not okay. Children, as the great imitators they are, will copy being okay with an alternative decision. They will trust themselves and know they are capable and worthy. So when it’s their turn to be told their decision is “not okay,” they’ll turn around and resoundingly exclaim; “Yes it is!”
By Kitty Michelotti