“A little dirt never hurt anybody.” We heard that often while growing up. We were raised outdoors, although we always had a roof over our heads. We were encouraged by our parents to “play outside.” We had no television, phones were permanently attached to the wall with a long cord and cell phones and internet were not even a concept. We kept shotguns for hunting (and according to my father, to be used if a man came courtin’ one of his daughters), tons of fishing poles and accessories, garden tools, you name it. My mother would always say, “A little dirt never hurt anybody.” Looking back on my simple childhood, I have to admit that my mom was right. As a matter of fact, not only does dirt not hurt anyone, it actually helps! A child playing in the dirt (and youngsters have a tendency to even want to eat/taste it), an adult digging their hands in the dirt to plant their gardens, has numerous benefits – both physically to build up the developing immune system, and psychologically to get one’s soul connected tightly with nature. Why is it that children have no aversion to getting as dirty as possible, running headlong into a mud puddle, jumping into a pile of fallen leaves, playing in the rain, making mud pies, climbing trees, collecting earthworms and catching fireflies in glass jars in the summer time? That’s the natural order of things. It’s good for them! Parents and grandparents… please let your children get dirty! A little dirt never hurt anyone.
As an adult, I reflect on my life both past and present, and am thankful for the natural order of things. We grew up in a time where mandatory childhood vaccines were non-existent. When chicken pox hit the town, moms would purposely send their children to another’s home for a “pox party” so everyone would get it and be done with it. We developed a very, very strong immune system the natural way. Autism, ADD, ADHD, Ridellan, et.al. were unheard of. In the classrooms across America, hyperactive boys and daydreaming girls were just labeled as “all boy” or “typical girl…” and parents and teachers alike would band together collectively to steer the child into a learning process/environment that suited them, even allowing the student(s) to switch to a different teacher if they were not succeeding under a particular environment. Their goal was to allow the children to learn the best way they knew how, and for the most part, parents and teachers were unified in that directive. It makes my heart ache to see the educational environment where the children of today find themselves: treated like cattle with the same learning environment, same pace, same curriculum, same subjects of indoctrination, behind an oppressively drugged and vaccinated prison of peers. No wonder homeschooling has been the best and growing choice for parents across this nation. I say more power to those parents! You are making a sacrifice for your children that will make an incalculable difference for generations to come. Keep it up!
Living simply with a deep connection to nature, a knowledge of where your food comes from, life, death, growth and/or lack thereof of the natural environment cannot be replaced by being hunched over a video game controller or a mobile phone. Grow your own food, learn to preserve it, take some time to slow down and just observe. Nature teaches you all sorts of things if you’ll but listen.
With springtime in full swing and summer fast approaching, I have been outdoors tilling, planting, taking care of our livestock, our two dogs and a cat, all the while still working part time for a company, “punching a time clock” so-to-speak. Although I am fortunate to be able to work from home, my husband has to commute every day to and from a windowless office for his full-time job and still help with all the homestead chores. Trying to balance homesteading life and a job is a tough assignment to be sure. We are so grateful for any helping hand we can procure when we need it. Being out in nature has its drawbacks, too: bug bites, ticks, snakes, wildlife that drools at the sight of your chickens, critters that trample and eat your garden veggies, etc. You’ll come away with sunburns, bumps, bruises, a plethora of bites all over your body, sore muscles and an aching back. But that’s the natural order of things! To me, those little inconveniences pale by comparison to the rich and diversified benefits. Growing your own food, learning to be self-sustaining, learning to forage and make your own herbal medicines, hunting for wild edibles, fishing, or just sitting by the creek/lake/river and contemplating everything around you, is payment enough!
We long to be able to quit our “9-5” jobs and just homestead full-time, but at present that’s not feasible. But believe me, when/if the time comes where we can no longer work (whatever the reason might be) we are ready to throw ourselves into this simple and natue-based life with all our might and ability.
After all…that’s just the natural order of things.