Why do we view work the way we do? Why do we strive for a bigger paycheck every year so that we can buy more stuff? Why do we rush through our day so that we can “spend time with our families,” only to act as a shuttle service to everyone’s separate activities? Why do we despise working with our hands to make actual things, preferring instead a life of meetings, reports, deadlines, and stress?
If you’ve ever wondered these things, you are probably somewhere on the homesteading spectrum. The spirit of homesteading is one of self-sufficiency. A homesteader doesn’t wonder why he can’t provide the things his family needs with his own two hands; instead, he rolls up his sleeves and gets to work. A homesteader doesn’t rely on bureaucrats to educate her children; she ensures that no matter where they go to school, they get the foundation of education they need.
While homesteading can be done in isolation, it is optimally done in community with other self-sufficient individuals or families. Self-sufficiency is not selfishness; it finds its most full expression in the sharing of work and the sharing of life with others. The essential elements of this highest expression of homesteading are family, work, food, and faith.
The homesteader looks at each of these elements and asks “How can I do this to the best of my ability? How can I experience, create, work, relate, and worship in a way that is a true expression of who I am, not a selection from the menu of “self-expression” peddled by merchants of modern consumer culture?”
This spirit leads me to cook for myself and others rather than purchase manufactured food. It leads me to read to my son instead of putting on a video. It leads me to learn how to make tangible things with my hands instead of spending all of my time in the intangible world of bits. It leads me to play chess with my daughter, to love my wife, to play music with my friends, to experience life through my own eyes, ears, and hands rather than through reality television and second-hand accounts.
Will you join me in returning to the roots of what it means to be human? Will you join me as I attempt to look life in the face and see what I can make of it? Will you join me as I attempt to do instead of to watch, as I create instead of consume, as I live instead of exist?
Welcome to The new homesteaders.