Crazy daze

Amphibious Landing Craft shape?

Maybe. I’m just crazy enough to go for it.

See, I’m already crazy enough to have another child. Yes, the world is a dangerous place; it won’t get safer if people have smaller families out of fear. Yes, children are expensive; they also contribute much to the family, if they are properly trained, motivated, and appreciated. Yes, it’s more work to take care of another child; it’s also more love, and everyone could use a stronger dose of the messy, painful, beautiful, mysterious thing called love.

I’m also crazy enough to live where it floods often (though it hasn’t since we moved in), where wild animals roam, and where the roads sometimes consider pavement optional. Ah, country life…You should see the stars…or listen to the frogs, horses, cows, and owls at night…or smell the woods after the rain. And the neighbor’s barbecue smells pretty good, too. :)

I’m also crazy enough to catch, kill, and pluck my own ducks. They taste pretty good, especially in soup, but I recommend skinning over plucking. All those feathers get kind of tedious. We keep ducks for the eggs; I’m crazy enough to eat those things birds lay on the ground. We use them for cooking and give them away as gifts (the eggs, not the birds). And since the two youngest, newest males to the flock were harassing our females and eating too much, we found a better use for them. I even got to teach my sons some anatomy in the process. Yup; that was a good day.

More crazy? Sure. How about…mowing the yard before the last snow of the year? Did that last week. That was wild; giant, white flakes for 15 minutes on April 14th. I thought I had seen it all.

How about doing my own serious plumbing while my family was at home? Yeah, I have to admit, I’m crazy enough to do that, too. Looking back, I should have called my plumber friend first to get the tips I learned from watching him fix my mistakes in half the time it took me to make them. But I did most of it right. And now I know how to fix my mistakes much faster. My wife has so much courage…and patience. I guess she’s crazy, too.

I’m also a school teacher, which some think is crazy already, but it really tests you in the springtime. Everyone gets a taste of nice weather, and no one wants to be inside anymore, and then standardized testing fries your brain…your sense of humor comes in handy, and it helps to remember that school is almost over.

Oh, and we home-educate our children. Yup, crazy in most places, I guess, but it’s actually much less stressful here in Oklahoma than almost anywhere else. Even so, most people can’t imagine finding the time, giving up the career or the income, or putting up with their child’s attitude for hours at a time. These are legitimate challenges, certainly, but not impossible to overcome. You just have to be crazy enough to step out of your comfort zone, and get creative. And be willing to accept the incredulity of others without being defensive. It gets easier with time.

We don’t own any video games. Our kids don’t watch programs on our one television with no cable, and don’t have cell phones. Our kids don’t do any highly-regulated youth activities. Our kids eat vegetables every meal…and they like some of them. They don’t get to keep all the candy they get, and they write ‘thank you’ notes to their relatives when they receive gifts. We believe children are a blessing, and we insist that they be that way to others. I know, totally nuts, right? Guess what? We aren’t the only ones.

Go back to your Grandparents, and ask them about how they were raised, and you’ll find the normal family was much like what we try to be – simple, unhurried, unplugged, and home together most of the time. Granted, the culture was less frantic, but the families at home were the reason why. Families are the primary influence on society, including the Church. We always have been. Which means we can cause change by how we live at home…or by how we don’t. Crazy? Oh, yeah. Crazy awesome!

Think about it: the book you read to your child prevents a TV show from telling her she needs to look like a starved refugee to get attention. The work you and your children do in the yard keeps them from following the neighborhood punk into a life of crime. The places you take your children fill them with dreams for their own families instead of isolation and a search for entertainment. Think about it. What an opportunity!

And this isn’t just about your kids becoming honorable citizens or people of character. This is about you slowing down, having deep thoughts of your own, passing on what you have learned, and learning some more as you listen to your children. As you replace stress with family time, exchange activities for unstructured creative time, and trade busy road-time for work at home, your health will improve, your mind will clear, your marriage will become interesting in wonderful ways, and you’ll suddenly find you have time to look ahead and look back. The time was always there; you just have to say no to some good things to make room for the best things.

Yes, it’s a sacrifice. Yes, it requires intentional focus and energetic execution, especially at first. Yes, you are going against your own nature and the popular culture. That’s why others will call you crazy, but that’s the fun, isn’t it? You have to do something really different to earn that coveted label. And then, you get to enjoy the crazy results.

See you there. Or you can watch us be crazy and wish you could have the results without the sacrifice, but we know that doesn’t work. Come join us; you can always go back to busy and normal when you want. If you want. I’m crazy enough to think you won’t.

This entry was posted in A-frame in a flood plain: homesteading in unusual circumstances, Living. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *