Humble Garden

ReSkilling for future food independence

Uncertain Edens

Posted by Nika On March - 14 - 2008

Tea 6

Those of you who have read this blog previously may have picked up on my Zen Buddhist worldview. I view garden tending time as quiet reflective walking meditation although I am not perfect at it by any means. I am an imperfect seeker who begins journeys but I do not necessarily follow the path to the very end because I am not end-motivated but rather journey-motivated. Gardening from this perspective makes for a more harmonious experience because I am not pining for the end of the plant life cycle but am admiring the whole process of growing.

But I also garden for what is a much darker nefarious reason; one that I fear makes me look like a nut instead of a level headed scientist who is on a zen path.

What could that possibly be?

Tea 5

Its something which I have great attachment to (in the zen sense), something which has me at the visceral level, the deepest seated of my fears.

I fear that I am not preparing my children for their future well enough to help them survive the tough times we are in for. It’s the boogey man that haunts my fitful dreams and skitters into dark corners when I wake in a start.

We Americans are taught that we get schooled to be competitive so that we can make money. Some of us learn that making money in itself is the goal. I wasn’t taught that. I was taught that I had to make money to survive (but not in love of money).

I have a sense that we are living in times where we can not teach our kids the same thing. They will not be able to compete in a world where the structures and institutions that we compete in now (companies, universities, etc) will be crumbling as the country crumbles under the weight of post-peak oil and economic collapse.

Which is the more humane and rational path?

– nudge your child down the educational path I took that ended in a PhD in science which is severely inhibited due to malignant neglect by the government .. this path most criminally requires the student to incur massive debt at a time when the student is least likely to be able to afford the burden.

– not nudge your child into higher education (and skip the MASSIVE DEBT that is built into the college experience now) but opting out of that immoral boondoggle and find some other solution that gets the child an education (for humanity’s sake) but still allows the child to develop skills that actually support her survival.

I am pretty sure I do not want my kids to suffer my fate and my school loan experiences – that’s just an inhumane thing to do to anyone.

I do not know really what to do at this point. Do I get the kids trained up in self-sufficiency skills (like the garden and my older child’s chicken husbandry) or plumbing? (Plumbers surely get better pay that your average scientist and have at least 1000% more job security).

Should they learn how to plant feed crops for our chickens and goats and other future subsistence animals or do we teach them some internet based skill that can bring in some money (cant fathom what that is for now).

I am leaning toward a “both” answer. I need my children to become educated but it doesn’t require traditional means (obviously, otherwise we would not be homeschooling) but I also need them to be prepared to live self-sufficiently. My ideal would be for them to become important contributors to solving some of the intermediate problems (anything from becoming a climate change scientist to becoming an activist that helps others become self-sufficient to other visionary activities). I also want them to be building on what we are starting with our own little post-modern homestead that still needs a lot of work to be self-sufficient.

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So many considerations.

The problem is that NO ONE is talking about how the educational paradigm we have right now with respect to undergraduate schooling has become an obscene credit-scheme and not about the kids learning anything that they can really use to put food on the table.

NO ONE is talking about how we as parents of young kids are not prepared for training our kids to survive, just how to compete in the status quo.

I wonder if I sound like a nut to you?! I hope not and I can assure you that we are not theist isolationists putting up barbed wire and loading up the guns.

I am just fretting and planting the seeds of our future and uncertain Garden of Eden in a post-oil world. Just wish I didn’t feel so alone.

4 Responses to “Uncertain Edens”

  1. Joanna says:

    Having read your post with inspiration, admiration and encouragement, I believe you are not alone.

    I think this quote from Emerson is quite apt:

    To laugh often and much;
    To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
    To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
    To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
    To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch;
    To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
    This is to have succeeded.

    Sunny thoughts – Joanna

  2. Nika says:

    Joanna: that is so lovely! Thank you for sharing that, it is healing.

  3. inkandpen says:

    Nika,
    I found your blog via myfolia. As a current graduate student and not-yet-mother (and gardener, and worrier) I feel a great deal of sympathy for your worries and fears.

  4. Nika says:

    Inkandpen: thanks for stopping by and I am glad to find kindred spirits :-) Graduate school is enough to worry about. When I was in grad school I slipped from the main world and 4 years were filled with lab and study .. those were enough worries! Good luck!

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About Me

We are a family of 5, including Nika, Ed, Q (14), KD (7), and Baby Oh (4). We garden 1024 square feet of raised beds plus assorted permacultural plantings. We also have 13 LaMancha dairy goats, 40 chickens, and one guard llama.

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