Monday, January 26, 2009

Thoughts On Parenting the Hard Way

We've put a considerable amount of thought into the ways that people live longer, and certain themes keep popping up. The main ones that really stick in my mind are diet, proximity to family and community (lifestyle), and exercise. Basically, a lot of common sense.

When we first moved to Vermont, I had this notion of getting back to basics and though I don't feel like I'm ready to live off the land (not yet), we did want to at least try to work more with our hands and make a go of avoiding too much automation. I know it may seem pretentious, but I basically wanted to do things the hard way, especially when it came to parenting, but also in the every day logistics of our lives. That meant no driver-mowers, shoveling snow instead of using a blower, cooking food from scratch, splitting wood by hand, etc. You get the picture.

My initial inspiration for this was because I am a real believer in the benefit of hard work. Not only does it make you appreciate the fruits of your labors, but I believe there is value in NOT seeking out the easy way all the time. Through challenge come good things, especially for a person like me who has always looked for the easy way and generally buckled under duress.

Now it turns out that something that I initially embraced for philosophical reasons might actually be good for our health, as well. One of the common qualities of cultures who live long is that they keep moving. In fact, my friend's aunt who is alive and well at 99 says the key is to keep moving.

Well, there's nothing that keeps you moving more than parenthood, and couple that with rural life where there is always something that needs attending to, and you're in motion pretty much from the moment you wake up. It can be exhausting, it can test even the hardiest of souls, but what a great experience to know firsthand that you can do things you never imagined you could do. It's really not that simple.

Either way, just some ranting. It struck me that being active isn't about going to the gym or running marathons, though they are both good sources of exercise, but about being engaged in life and embracing the challenges that come to you. Not only do you prosper physically, but emotionally and psychology as well.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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