homesteading philosphy....?.....problem solving? or?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I have been reading and participating on this forum for a few years. It's been interesting to read all the interesting posts from the broad base of contributors! To all of you, I am indebted in some way or another. Thank you!
I have been thinking lately, though...isn't it the homesteading nature to more or less "seize the bull by the horns" (i.e., try to solve problems in your own way) and keep moving forward?
As just ONE *example* (in other words, this thread is NOT about homeschooling, per se), if you think that your local school board doesn't support quality education, do you 1) lobby to affect change? 2) Work to elect a new school board? 3) Put your kids in homeschool and say "to heck with other people's kids; I'm going to take charge since they won't," or 4) Complain about it so you can hear if others agree and you can feel good about identifying a problem?
Lately, I have been hearing what seems to me to be a little more grousing and a lot less solution proposing. It might just be my philosophy, but I have always been attracted to homesteaders b/c they come up with SOLUTIONS and not just chatting about problems (hey, it's the American way...we built our nation by solving problems!) I'm not talking about radical stuff at all (no militia need apply here)...but I truly wonder how many of you are really reaching out to your neighbors, or your churchfolk, or your family...are you trying to find ways to fix things?
I sure hope so. Complaining is good sometimes (we all feel better for a while) but if we don't try to fix things, we'll just keep complaining and complaining....kind of like that old gate rusting off its hinges....it squeaks and you snarl; it squeaks and you snarl; it squeaks and you snarl...maybe time to fix the gate....
I'm not trying to be self-righteous, b/c I'm a real complainer, myself...but what do you think about the tone of some of the posts lately? Are we settling in too early this year??
-- sheepish (email@example.com), November 26, 2001
Well, there is a difference between identifying a common problem and just plain complaining. And, as long as it gives you a sense of what the real debth of the problem is and that it is plaguing others living a similar lifestyle (the lack of neighborlyness in most folks, for example), we can not only identify a common crisis, we can learn new and possibly better ways to cope with the problem. The problem is, with some of the things modern society is presenting homesteaders, is there are no direct answers to many of the problems- thus the complaining atmosphere. You can fix a knocking rod or a broken goat but you just cant make an idiot neighbor "neighborly."
-- Kevin in NC (Vantravlrs@aol.com), November 26, 2001.
I don't know. To me homesteading means more or less being independent of others, which means your solutions may only apply to you and your situation. People post because someone geographically far away may be very like-minded and might find your solution attractive or use it to springboard another one. I don't mean to say that you isolate yourself completely from humanity, but you're not a shining figure on the social circuit either.
For example, homeschooling was not an option just a few years ago. It is now, and not just for the religious-oriented. What works for me may not work for you, and vice-versa. That is why, I think, you don't see a lot of homesteading types running for public office of any sort.
In some cases we are legally prevented from solving problems (see my posting under "Suppressed Technologies" for an example.
As far as neighbors, there's not a lot you can do about them, other than move or hope they do. One friend of mine would shake his head and say, "If you can see your neighbors, they're too darn close", and in some cases that's true. In other cases, neighbors are like family, or even better, especially when it comes to checking in on the elderly when their own kids won't.
I think you have to pick your battles. For homeschooling, I think that eventually we will see more school/homeschool partnerships, just so that the schools get their money and the teachers keep working. But homeschoolers aren't going to go for something that is all one (the school's) way. My own thought is that with the internet, they could do away with school per se, and just keep the campuses for special interest schools, art, music, drama--where 1) the kids are there because they want to be and so therefore are not discipline problems 2)these particular subjects are not really great for a self-taught curriculum because you can't have a concert band with one person, or put on Phantom of the Opera with one person.
Just my $.02.
-- GT (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 27, 2001.
Homesteading to me is doing things the simple way and/or doing them yourself as much as possible instead of hiring it done. It also includes finding others who have the same philosophy and forming a bond of support. Think of the early settlers. Most of them didn't go into the frontier alone. They went with wagon trains full of like minded people. They had barn raisings, quilting bees, hoe-downs, etc. I guess in a way it is more the Native American way of life. Tribe. Living close to Mother Earth. Worshiping the Great Spirit.
I will gripe less today. Thank you for making me think!
-- Rose (email@example.com), November 27, 2001.
sheepish, I think you have described a concerned productive citizen of our country that is involved in their community/state/nation rather than like most, just content to follow there own little isolated life.
-- Joe (CactusJoe001@AOL.com), November 27, 2001.
If you mean change as in, "try to change people over to the homesteading way of life", been there, done that. For me, it was futile.
-- Keith (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 27, 2001.
To me it means not wearing blinders, the ability to view the wide operspective outside the box. I cannot deem it as pursuit of simpicity as I utilize technology in the form of internet and other convienences and the achievement of maximized organic crop output. A big part of it is assimilating knowledge and skills so that I am more capable to chart my own course as much as possible. I read a quote once that went " a pessimist will curse the winds, an optimist wil proclaim the winds are sure to change, a realist will evaluate the winds and trim the sails to use the winds". I guess to me the philosophy of modern homesteading is realistically choosing not to be a part of the sheeple society, instead choosing your own path as much as possible.
-- Jay Blair in N. AL (email@example.com), November 27, 2001.
I'd much prefer to think instead of spend. Beats working for a living! Charlie Long's book HOW TO SURVIVE WITHOUT A SALARY taught me how to do it.
-- Sandy Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 27, 2001.
Just to further clarify...I was not necessarily advocating that homesteading involves reaching out to the rest of society and fixing it. I was, however, wanting to consider that homesteaders (or those of like mind) tend to fix problems as they can. In other words, whether they homeschool or whether they organize their local communities to get better public schools, solutions are explored. I don't know how much the homesteading philosophy involves complaining about social issues (sometimes over and over again.) Is the expectation that somehow complaining about things will force *someone* or *something* else to make changes for them? That's what I don't get. It seems to run contrary to what I would consider to be a homesteading mentality.
-- sheepish (WA) (email@example.com), November 27, 2001.
I am beginning to think that griping is becoming "The American Way", one of those bad habits that is inherent to have free time on our hands.
I was raised that if you can't say something constructive about a problem, don't say anything at all. The key word being "constructive", problems get solved by ordinary folks brainstorming a solution for it, not sitting around having a "pity party" about it.
I do believe ( or hope anyway :) ), that most of the griping here is just "venting", a way of relieving some stress and anxiety to folks who understand where we are coming from.
-- Annie Miller in SE OH (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 27, 2001.
sheepish, as to your example, I have run into that situation here and what I found was there was alot of people complaining but no one doing any thing about it. if a person is serious about helping fix a problem they can first use the complaining route, that way you find out if anyone else feels the ways you do and also if anything is being done to solve it, second, if there is no one doing anything,then you can step forward (you will find that you will probably be the only one to lead) as to my like situation here, there was actually all 4 actions you listed happening. The solution came down to talking to the school board and listing our suggestions and listening to theirs and also what could be done or not done because of State regulations, I also was the only one to suggest that we ask the kids what they felt needed to be done,( funny how grown-ups think they know everything about whats good for others)
As to "Homesteading philosophy" I am very LOCAL COMMUNITY minded, I believe in barn raising,front porch chats,neighbor helping neighbor,shopping local,etc. ( I actually send Thanksgiving, Christmas,special occasion cards to all the local stores and their owners and staff that I do business with, I have helped the funeral home owner with carrying in bodies, I have weeded the local post office flower beds,etc) Homesteading is not about me,mine and I, but it's about building a community.
I have found that alot of new homesteading types get too involve with themselves after awhile and then become the "hell with you, I'll take care of my own" type, and could care less about the outside world unless it happens in their backyard then they bitch to anyone within shouting distance about it.
-- TomK(mich) (email@example.com), November 27, 2001.
Thanks for your thoughtful posts. I appreciate your talking the time to respond. I think the venting part is probably true... I certainly have done my share of venting, here and elsewhere! I'm glad to read that there's some active problem solving and reaching out, though. Whew! It *is* easy to insulate oneself and drop out. It's also really *satisfying* to connect with others (whether like-minded or not), actually. It's easier to connect with those who feel the way that you/we do, but it's **REALLY** satisfying to find the common ground that we all share. At least to me anyway....
You know I've even learned a lot from some guppies... 8-)
-- sheepish (WA) (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 28, 2001.
I thought your post was interesting. I think maybe some people who perhaps were living right on top of each other like sardines in an apartment house before coming out might well relish being "alone" so to speak, for a while. Also, some people might just like keeping to themselves, just as others might be gregarious. We all should respect others' differences while being cordial at all times.
Another thing, it is very easy to be anonymous in a city or suburb, where people tend to keep to themselves (I think honestly more due to work schedules than anything else). Even if people notice things, they usually don't comment about it. When groups of people get together to do charity things, it is not uncommon for most of the people to NOT know each other, and it doesn't matter.
For many people, their local community is where they work--as in they actually spend very little time in the place they live in--so they participate there. It is not uncommon to find people who know their way around a big city but not their hometown. They may like the other place better but can't afford to live there. They still have their friends there, and so on.
It is a real shock to people who have never lived in a small town before to have someone come out and say, "oh, you got a new whatever", or "you got in kind of late last night", or "didn't see you at wherever", in other words, everyone in town seems to know your business, and if you are a private person at heart, it can be very disconcerting. I think eventually most get used to it, but it takes time, though some never will.
It can also be hard to break into the established groups in a small town, even when you want to help--you run into the "I've been running whatever for x years now and I'm not open to suggestions" crowd. Obviously, sometimes the problem is the way you make your suggestions known, but at some point (life is short) you may take your skills and help elsewhere. It does not make you less community-minded necessarily, unless you define your community only by the area in which you are living currently. There is the greater nation or world community as well.
Sorry for such a long post.
-- GT (email@example.com), November 28, 2001.