After recently reading a post on “oldfashionmama”‘s blog, I started to think about how my childhood days are not that much different from the way she’s raising her family. I was born in 1943, so my childhood was in the 40’s and 50’s. I grew up on a mid-Missouri farm, the oldest of three children. By today’s standards, my family was poor, but we didn’t know we were poor because everyone around us was like us. Cell phones and television hadn’t been invented, so we didn’t compare ourselves to other ways of living. From my earliest days of memory, I was my dad’s shadow–“helping” him repair machinery, working with the livestock, sacking gunnysacks of seed, later driving farm equipment in the fields. I learned a great work ethic from all those activities.
Every Sunday morning, we went to church together at a small country church where my dad was, at different times, a deacon, elder, board member, song leader. I learned the love of God and the love for God in that little church with local friends and neighbors. Children learned to be respectful and quiet during services. We also learned how much the adults cared about us and each other.
I started school in a two-room school. By the time I reached 4th grade all the small districts reorganized and built the “new” grade school for all of us. Social life revolved around church and school. There were 18 members of my high school graduating class. Of those 18, 12 of us went on to colleges and universities.
My point of this story is, I grew up in a simpler, happier time. We worked harder because all the “modern” conveniences hadn’t reached us yet. Neighbors were farther apart in distance but closer together in relationship. We grew most of our own food and shared with others. Older cousins passed their clothes down to the three of us. Mother sewed and made (and later made over) most of our clothes. We worked and played in fresh air and sunshine. Clothes were dried in the same way with my sister and I often hanging them on the line as soon as we were tall enough to reach it.
We learned to solve problems with our creativity, ingenuity, and work. The way we lived was better for the environment (although we didn’t know that then). Society can’t go back to all those ways but what society can do is adopt those ways as much as possible. Love your children and teach them work ethic and responsibility at your side. Don’t be so wound up in following the latest fashions and trends. Slow down and appreciate what is in nature around you with your family. Do activities outside with your family in the fresh air and sunshine. Instill in your children a sense of pride and love, not based on what they have but on who they are. Learn and show your children how to be kinder to Earth.
We can either sit around and worry about the future of the world or we can love and enjoy what we have and, together, do things that help the Earth. Be kind to each other. Embrace our differences. Be kind to the Earth and atmosphere!