Cambia: Yurts, wooden trikes & dumpster roses

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Dumpster Roses outside West Hickory
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Avni atop Paxus
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Giant net shared on our morning off

 

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Sappho on wooden trike
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Thumbs leads a yurt workshop
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Yurt nearer completion
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Dumpster Roses Scattering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cambia: Yurts, wooden trikes & dumpster roses

What Would Jesus do about Racism in Community?

Reflections on the Building a New World Symposium

By Thumbs Cambia

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Clockwise from top left: Participants in workshop, First Methodist Church, Reverend Gracie bowl of soil demonstration, Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove, Brother Anton and Carlos.

 

I rolled into the community long after sunset, and slipped my truck between the first gathering of parked cars I spotted, thrilled to be reunited with my numb lower back.  The cows gazed at me in the unimpeded glow cast from a moon sliver across the broad horizon of a southern savanna. I peered around the building closest to me and spotted a humble one room kitchen and communal space, which vaguely matched the description of the campsite kitchen I was told of.  I slipped in the door, and groped the wall till a satisfying switch clicked, lighting the room, and inspiring the letters written on the wall that proclaimed “[insert inspiring text] GOD [rhetorical question] [insert male pronoun][righteous command].”…oh yeah, I remembered, this was a Christian community.

 

The host community for Building a New World symposium was Koinonia Farm, a 75 year old community that is steeped in the civil rights movement of the Southern United States and global christian service.  Koinonia has lived their activism through lifestyle by functioning as a multi-racial farm where all workers receive equal pay for labor, sat at the same table for meals, and practiced their faith in communion.  Mid century 20th century this egalitarian agrarian lifestyle was a vexing contrast to the local chapter of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan, who used violence and boycotts to attack Koinonia Farm. In innovating their farming business and non-violent persistence they became a national hub for the civil rights movement, eventually establishing Habitat for Humanity and spreading their lifestyle of equal opportunity internationally.

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Briars in the Cotton Patch (2005) is a documentary which traces the story of Koinonia Farm from the founders inspiration, Clarence Jordan, through the Ku Klux Klan resistance and into the creation of Habitat for Humanity.

 

I dipped into the flow of the workshops, thankful that the nature of talking head workshops means the audience can be either physically or mentally absent without actually influencing the presenter.  My experience of the first workshop was the familiar dis-ease of hearing how inspiring the civil rights work of the mid century was, with the whitetop mountain range of an audience agreeing and smiling proudly, while I felt the gapping distance between myself and political activism.  I wanted to throw myself under a bus, to prevent humans from being deported of course, but still, throw myself under a bus.

 

After a traditional southern lunch of green beans and peach cobbler washed down with iced tea we gathered in the humble chapel, where a brief, unscheduled dialogue became an inextricable briar in the fluffy rhetoric of the symposium.  In an open forum folks shared their work in community, and riding on the wave of hope the stories were stirring, two older white men spoke of their valiant actions of moving into brown neighborhoods and bringing culture to places that had no leaders.  Their work was so brilliant, that other houses were being renovated as well and the community was improving. Take cover white knights piercing truth is about to pop your altruistic illusion.

 

“I don’t mean to be that black guy, but I’ve got to call out Gentrification” announced a black young person from the crowd.  They articulated the plight of brown and black communities being infiltrated by Whites, and that even well intentioned white neighborhood immigrants were disempowering the community by taking over leadership.  Pastor Jonathan Wilson-Hargrove spoke quickly, even gently interrupting the black man, to redirect the discussion towards positive affirmations of everyone’s work. However, this briar hadn’t been removed, and later they would take their grievance to the center stage where it could not be ignored (they preferred gender neutral pronouns).

 

After getting back in stride Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and Rev. Erika introduced the pillars of nonviolent direct action which guide the Poor People’s Campaign, A National Call for Moral Revival.  This event has established civilian leaders in 33 states to hold 40 days of civil disobedience by holding daily protests in front of state government buildings and organizing activism events throughout their community starting on Mothers’ Day 2018.  They are holding many logistical details in secrecy to protect their activism plans from the powers that be, but you can find out more by joining the movement at PoorPeoplesCampaign.org.

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In Washington, D.C. and more than two dozen states across the country supporters of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival will kick off 40 days of “moral action” to highlight “the human impact of policies which promote systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and environmental devastation.” in May of 2018.

 

Reverend William Barber’s stage entrance matched his larger than life personality by lighting up a movie theater size projector screen.  With a beaming face looking down on us, and his momentous voice erupting through concert worthy sound system I felt the waves of energy a southern preacher can send pulsing through the audience.  Tuning out the words I realized his delivery felt like standing on the beach and watching awesome waves approach the shore, building with each sentence and climaxing with a thunderous proclamation, but only finally gently touching your toes when he finished the verse with a gentle utterance of God.  The true power of his delivery came to light, when the projector went out, he finished the sermon from the speaker phone of a cell phone held up to a mic, and still the audience rumbled with sporadic “Amen” and closed with a standing ovation.

 

Reverend Barber’s speech was an unforgiving criticism of modern political and corporate corruption.  He recited verses in the Bible about religious institutions conspiring with political powers to twist God’s words into weapons to validate their agenda at the cost of the well being of the poor and immigrants.  His sermon spiced up the namesake evil fearing southern preacher rhetoric by unearthing the origins of the 2nd amendment as being a political negotiating tool to appease Southern United States through sanctifying slave patrols to uncomfortably familiar government budgets which clearly prioritize the military at the cost of impoverished women and children.  His presentation of current news stories had the stinging blows of comedy news with the laugh track replaced by “Amen”, and the thunderous voice of conservative radio, all held in the studio set of the world’s largest religious party, made me feel how a sermon could inspire a congregation to take the streets.

 

When Reverend Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove took the stage the following morning his tall, lanky figure seemed proportional to the heaven bound architecture, and his sermon stepped directly into the tension of whiteness.  He spoke of it as a religion all of us are born into that distorts our perception of reality. The time has come for white folk to step off the stage, and into the roles of support. White folk can open themselves to be led by others through closing their mouths, opening their ears, and permitting their spirits to be changed.  And in living his word he passed the mic to the silky-smooth linguist, and dark skinned Reverend Gracie.

 

Walking into the church that morning a couple humble bowls of dirt straddled the altar.  Reverend Gracie spoke of finding the source of the difference from which our perceived differences have grown, and if we trace it all the way back we will reach the soil.  By putting out hands back into that soil, the soil of Georgia that is fertile with the blood of discrimination and the fertility to bring forth new possibilities, we can each step to the altar and bury what is holding us back.  In solemn rows, we each shuffled along and sowed our fluorescent post-it-notes into dirt that looked progressively more like the contaminated earth of the Anthropocene.

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Sarah Thompson jumped from the choir to the stage to perform a speech which had the staccato cadence of a singing cardinal,  yet told stories that tore at your passive acceptance of global exploitation. She was the executive director of Christian Peacemaker Teams which she outlined as an organization who approaches peacemaking with the same strategic, well trained, and organized techniques that militaries wage war.  The audience was jarred awake when she quoted Shailja Patel “What the NRA is to the American population, the US government is to the global population. A cult of mass murder, lost to morality, rejecting humanity, refusing culpability.”  She followed this by leading us down harrowing story she lived which illustrated how a “green” company subcontracted to international development thugs, but multinational non-violent activism and campensino permaculture turned the tides of exploitation.

 

Brother Anton set the tone for his minutes behind the altar by speaking of his “sheroes” and handing the mic off to an El Salvadorian refugee.  Brother Anton stood beside the young man, translating every sentence to feed us, bite by bite the story of the young man holding his little sister tight by his side for their Northbound escape of blood thirsty criminals.  I saw the young man, I heard his story, and yet the grit and foreignness of that life was too many degrees beyond my own for me to grasp it. Brother Anton knew this, and followed up that story with videos of a sister city relationship he has midwifed between a remote Mountain town in Mexico, La Libertad, and the city in Georgia many of its resident travel to work in, La Grange.  He brought this beautiful story arch home by weaving in a story of personal tragedy so raw it brought the heady ideals of immigration policy down to the muted emotions of my heart with a stream of tears connecting mind and body.

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Carlos escaped gang violence in El Salvador with his sister, traveling all the way to the states across land and eventually finding sanctuary with Brother Anton.

 

The afternoon Plenary started with three brief introductions of various organizations, and here the briar would agitate the white progressive façade again.  The black person stood behind the mic with their head lowered in a humble way but their arms span spread wide like a bird of prey-judice sweeping over the crowd.  They said in this self-righteous space, where villainizing other, dangerous, close minded Americans had become one of our shared identities, there were still microaggressions making them and other black participants uncomfortable.  If there was still tension in these private interactions, then wasn’t the foundation of our progress crumbling. The black person would not take the onus of articulating the charges by retelling specific interactions but asked everyone to look within themselves and own up to the mistakes they were making.  The audience was quiet, the symposium schedule rolled on, but blood from the briar prick was still staining the white cotton.

 

You probably haven’t met Kathleen Kelly, but she defines an archetype that stirs inspiration in the most jaded cynics.  This petite woman of Irish descent glows with warmth and tells stories of spending time in prison with the same awe for the wisdom gleaned from the experience as I’m used to elders beaming about their grandchildren.  She spoke of throwing birthday parties in Iraq with widows that couldn’t escape the city while the bombs poured like rain outside. Stories of watching her fellow inmates cry after seeing the images of abu ghraib, not because they pitied themselves, but because they knew disgrace that miserable was the product of universal disrespect in the military effort.  She may have not given the audience an easy access point to start their walk towards activism, but she illustrated beauty in scenarios the news has painted as a soulless, monotone of misery.

 

***SHOW TIME***Within the first few selling points of my description of this symposium, I’d always mentioned there would be performance of the Cotton Patch Gospels musical.  I wasn’t sure what it meant, but now I was about to find out, or at least find a bit before the bad taste in my mouth made me leave at intermission. Initially the shortcomings of the performance were hometown sweet, with actors referencing their script book while on stage, costume discrepancies, and missing the high note, but once I noticed no black actor came on stage to represent the back roles, and that light skinned Jesus was going to be lynched I couldn’t laugh it off.  Now I better understand how good intentions can pave the road to hell.

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Have you ever heard of the Red Letter Christians, I hadn’t, but now I’m definitely going to glean their treasure trove of creative non-violent activism to build community that serves people, not an ideal people must serve.  The Philadelphia steel industry has been replaced by the opioid trade, yet in that fiscal poverty Shane Claiborne has harvested an abundance of community.  As a charismatic white male I was interested to see how he’d navigate gentrification, and if I had to summarize his technique, it would be “create the space and let the people fill it.”  For example, he has navigated bureaucracy to have their city block off limits to cars during the summer months so local children can choose their mayhem. Red Letter Christians requests people donate their guns, and then gives the blacksmithing hammers to childless mothers to forge the gun barrel into a garden hoe.  Red Letter Christians paints a street art letter on the wall of a vacant lot asking the city to donate this to become park land, and then 1500 local residents show up to sign the letter on the wall. Shane Claibornes actions speak so much louder than his words I walked away almost unable to see the white knight in the sea of brilliant local community.

 

Beating Guns to Plows Video

Inspired by the biblical image of ‘beating swords into plows’, Shane Claiborne and friends have begun to turn guns into garden tools. For more information on weapons conversions, check out the RAWtools website (www.rawtools.org).  

 

Riding on a wave of moist eyed hopefulness we were once again jostled to awareness of the tensions within our own community when two young women announced that a closing workshop was going to be an open forum to discuss the interractional microaggressions during this symposium.  When I walked into the venue space the architecture of the chapel screamed hierarchy so loudly with pews obediently kneeling at the feet of one alter I wondered if an equality conversation could be had here. While the conversation strode proudly then stumbled and fell, like a first time ice skater moving forward but flailing in every direction, the fragility of white folks self-confidence became clearer.  Some white folks were unwaveringly resistant to admitting that they had made someone else feel insulted or in their ignorance had perpetuated racism. Male identified white folks were requesting, even demanding, clarity on what offenses they had committed, but the answers were not forthcoming. Most people walked away from this feeling at least confused, but many even angry, distraught, and discriminated.

 

The unresolved tension felt in that open forum is my personal invitation to let this symposium continue to affect me.  I remember first hearing the public complaint of an unidentified aggression between participants, and immediately I began rummaging through my rolodex of interactions grasping to find where I’d gone wrong, so I could validate the misgiving as quickly as I thought of it.  After soothing myself, I was able to ask how I could improve that behavior the next time, and walked away from this self-conscious frenzy with wisdom to guide my next mistakes. I eventually engaged one of the individuals I thought I may have hurt, only to find out they were unphased by my perceived misgivings.  While I was relieved to be absolved, I also promptly stopped thinking of my previous actions impact, and became that much more blind. Resolving specific conflicts can be a false sense of progress when we live in a culture where the fog of discrimination can permeate our very thought process. Instead finding a deeper self-love to sustain one living in a constant awareness of their mistakes, may help us move to a solution that is not a game of politeness but an experience mutually flawed beings striving to co-exist peacefully.

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After a few days to let the buzz of the conference quiet within me, I realized that this conference was able to hold space for the pain of inequality around that world and within our own communities by balancing harsh truths with community singing.  Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove shared that “The point of song is to get us singing and the point of singing is to get us to community”. Communal singing wove together the space between workshops and reunited the community after a break out. Even when technology glitches would leave the speaker awkwardly silent on stage a few verses of song would be lifted into the air space, and soon the entire congregation was swaying and singing together.  Forget the hymn books, these were simple songs about life that any denomination could rally under, which is a fitting way to welcome all color, class, and career into the same life song.

What Would Jesus do about Racism in Community?

Eco-Village Research Request

This is a short survey from a university student in Quebec.  The Commune Life Blog staff think that one of the most important under-reported benefits of living in intentional communities (and especially income sharing communes) is the positive and nurturing mental health impacts of this lifestyle.  This survey only takes about 10 minutes to complete and you might get lucky and win a small cash prize.

Research Thesis
Help me by filling out an online survey
If you are currently living in a community or active in a group that is nature-oriented (e.g. eco-village, WWOOF, community garden), you are invited to participate in an anonymous online survey. Participants may enter a draw to win one of three $75 cash prizes. The survey takes approximately 25 minutes to complete.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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My name is Simon Stankovich-Hamel. I am an aspiring community psychologist finishing my undergraduate degree. I am working on a research thesis that explores how nature, community, and mental health relate to each other. I am looking for people who are currently living in a nature-oriented community, small or big, to fill out a questionnaire. This is an anonymous survey that asks about your level of agreement with certain statements, or how often you felt a certain way in the past weeks, such as:
“When I fail at something that’s important to me, I tend to feel alone in my failure”
or “I feel optimistic about the future” (Disagree strongly – disagree a little – neither agree nor disagree – agree a little – strongly agree).

I look forward to sharing with you my work when I am finished, but for now I cannot tell you more about it.

If you choose to participate, please click on the link below and read the consent form on the first page. Thank you for your time and consideration and I hope that my survey will spark valuable self-reflection.

Go to this webpage to participate.

Eco-Village Research Request

Living On a Commune or Living In a Commune?

By GPaul Blundell

It’s the first question and it’s the wrong one:

“A commune? Where is it?”

 

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Where is this commune?

 

Sure, it’s relevant. It tells a person various things about your life. But it also reflects a basic error on the part of the asker. The commune is not a place any more than a marriage is a place. Sure, most people live somewhere and most people in a tight cooperative relationship like a commune or a marriage prefer to live together but it misses an important point. If you want to understand my life and the role the commune plays in it you’ll want to know about the people, my relationships with them, and our shared life and purpose. You’ll want to know what brings us together and why we stay together not where exactly it is that we have come together in space.

 

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Add to the space as needed

 

I didn’t actually think very hard about this question until I moved to the city, though, and I think that that very fact is telling. The rural communes are in many cases land-based projects. A significant shared purpose for the members of many rural communes coming together is the cultivation of the land. They are coming together to make a commune that people can come and live on. The experience of being physically on the commune’s property is notable: the space has been transformed. Compersia, the urban commune I now live at, does not own property and probably won’t for years to come. Las Indias, an urban commune of the Spanish speaking world, has moved to an entirely new city sometimes on an entirely different continent every several years for their whole existence. For us at Compersia we think of ourselves as cultivating a home within a space but we know this space is not ours forever. We intend to grow and we know that we won’t always fit in the house we all live in now (and previously have not all fit in one house). But we know that we are one commune. We are people living in a commune.

And that’s when I noticed that small but meaningful semantic detail. At the rural communes it makes sense to talk about living on a commune. In the city it makes sense to talk about living in a commune.

Often times, at our open house dinners or other events at our very full and lively house I’ll mention that we’re recruiting.

“You’re recruiting? Aren’t you full though?”

To which I always answer,

“The city is full of houses.”

 

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Don’t be afraid to move

 

Living On a Commune or Living In a Commune?

Utopian Child Raising

[This is an article originally blogged by Keenan.]

Twin Oaks is a great place to raise children. At Twin Oaks almost every parent likes their kid(s) and likes being a parent.  Almost every parent is raising their children deliberately and consciously.  Although not all of us parents agree with each other, we all concur that there are many bad mainstream child-rearing theories and practices that we want to avoid/overcome.

Some of the Dakota's - Keenan, Kristen and Rowan (at an age that is not yet 18)
Some of the Dakota’s – Keenan, Kelpie and Rowan (at an age that is not yet 18)

Kristen and I just celebrated the milestone of our youngest having his 18th birthday.  We have been reflecting recently on our journey as parents, and we are very pleased with how the kids have turned out—pleased and relieved.  Why relieved? Our parenting practices were at odds with almost every mainstream child-rearing theory we read.  We weren’t so confident that we could know for sure that the kids would turn out great. According to those other theories, our bizarre parenting practices should have resulted in kids who are emotionally crippled sociopaths. But they aren’t—in fact, the kids are, by all accounts, altogether fine human beings.  I don’t want to gloat or embarrass the kids by describing how great they are—but take my word for it.

Kristen and I both had lots of experience with kids prior to having our own, so we were already quite skilled, or, at least, opinionated by the time we were holding a newborn. As the kids grew, we talked fairly constantly about how the kids were doing. We wanted to do things right; we would immediately work on any behavior problem that started to crop up, or, even better, recognize an interest early so we could kindle it. Through our experience as parents, our belief in the fundamental wrongness of how children are treated in the mainstream culture solidified.  If you want to try to give your child a utopian childhood the hardest part is letting go of lots of misguided mainstream beliefs about children. Honestly, doing things right is a lot of work, but if you want to know what we did and why, without further ado, here is the “Dakota theory” of how to give children a utopian childhood:

Rowan on his 18th birthday having lit the fire behind him with a bowdrill.
Rowan on his 18th birthday having lit the fire behind him with a bowdrill.

[Kristen and I have the last name “Dakota.”  This has nothing to do with any Native American people]

Current belief: Children are lesser beings who should not expect or receive the same polite and considerate treatment that adults give each other.

Dakota theory: Children have the same intrinsic value that all humans have and should be listened to and treated with respect. Specifically, parents should like their children.

Conclusion: Children behave well when they are treated as though they are deserving of respect.

Current belief: Children should obey authority figures.

Dakota theory: Children should be taught that they are responsible human beings and they should learn to negotiate for what they want.

Conclusion: Children who are taught to obey, learn to distrust their own judgment.  They also demonstrate less personal motivation. Children who are taught to negotiate show more task persistence and have a strong sense of self-esteem.  Unfortunately, raising a child who negotiates requires more time and effort from parents.

Current belief: Children need peers to develop normal social skills.

Dakota theory: Children develop better social skills without same-age peers.

Conclusion: Children learn social skills from the people they are around. Children in groups and in institutional settings are sometimes inconsiderate or cruel to each other.  Children who are around other children for much of the time, often develop dysfunctional behaviors from being with other, partially socialized, children.   Children who are around adults for most of their formative years develop better social skills than children who are in group childcare for most of their formative years.

Current belief: Children need to go to school to 1) develop social skills and 2) to absorb a body of knowledge.

Dakota theory: School exposes children to bad social behaviors. The body of knowledge in school is often outdated, inadequate, and inaccurate. Additionally, it doesn’t take much time to learn that body of knowledge at home.

Conclusion: Many children are exposed to unhealthy social behaviors from the bad behavior that inevitably results from large-scale institutionalization.  The body of knowledge that schools pass along is easily gained at home.  Typically, parents have other interests and values that schools don’t teach.

 

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Keenan, Kelpie, Rowan, Arlo

 

Current belief:  Children need to be punished, they need to be disciplined and they need consequences for their bad behavior.

Dakota theory:  Never punish or discipline children. Normal life provides enough consequences, no additional consequences are needed.

Conclusion:   Punishment has been proven to be ineffective at teaching children a new behavior.  Children feel punished merely from a parent’s disapproval—nothing more is necessary.  An effective “punishment” is making a child stop playing in order to explain why it’s not OK to hit or take another kid’s toy.  Frequently, merely calmly pointing out what the problem is to the child can make a child feel bad enough to stop the bad behavior and/or make restitution. Encouraging a distraught child to take a time-out is good advice for anyone having emotional trouble and isn’t really a punishment.

Current belief:  Misbehavior is due to a poorly disciplined child.

Dakota theory: Misbehavior is due to a poorly designed environment.

Conclusion: A toddler, set down in front of a coffee table with a lot of breakable glassware on the table will, inevitably, drop and break something.  This is not bad behavior.   Don’t punish the child; move the glassware. It is more likely that children will hang up their clothes on pegs than on hangers.  A yard with two swings and three kids creates ongoing strife. Often a child’s “bad” behavior is due to normal child-like behavior in an environment that is designed for normal adult behavior.  The easiest way to have a well-behaved child is to change the environment to suit the child’s behavior. For instance, if there is only healthy food in the house, then “food wars” become much less likely.

Current belief: Children demand an adult’s attention—and that’s bad

Dakota theory: Children demand an adult’s attention—and that’s OK.

or perhaps not
or perhaps not

Conclusion: “He’s just doing that to get attention!” is a statement some adults make to indict a child’s motives and to grant the adult permission to punish the child for bothering the adult. But, attention from an adult is essential sustenance for a child’s emotional well-being. Once a child receives an adequate amount of attention, they are full and will go off and play, only to return later for another helping of attention. If we say with scorn of a child who’s crying, “he’s just crying because he’s hungry, I’m going to spank him” it sounds cruel.  “He’s just doing it to get attention,” should sound equally heartless.

Current belief:  A child’s chronic behavior problems can best be dealt with through psychoactive medication.

Dakota theory:  A child’s chronic behavior problems can best be dealt with through counseling and behaviorist reinforcement/extinguishing techniques.

Conclusion:  Psychoactive drugs have immediate side-effects and long-term physiological consequences. Changing a child’s chronic behavior problem without drugs is vastly more time consuming, but results in a more emotionally healthy child.

Current belief: A child might become emotionally crippled from spending too much time with a parent (or parents).

Dakota theory:  strong family connections help create an emotionally healthy child.

Conclusion: Studies of poverty, mental illness and crime consistently show that parents who physically or emotionally abandon their children create the pathology that leads to dysfunctional adults.  On the other hand, outstanding and high-performing athletes typically have at least one engaged and supportive parent. There is not a bell curve here; it’s linear; the stronger the family connections, the more emotionally stable the children are as adults.

Current belief:  Children should be kept protected and secluded from real-world experiences. They should live in a separate world called “childhood” until they are completed with their schooling and are able to enter the adult world.

Dakota theory: Children are part of the world. It is healthier for children and the world for children to be included in almost all aspects of the adult world.

Conclusion:  Children in their early teens want to distinguish themselves from younger children; they want to act like grown-ups.  Mainstream culture allows few opportunities to show their maturity, so these young teens turn to bed behavior, smoking, drinking, doing drugs, swearing and having sex as ways to show their “maturity.” However, teens who have the ability to take on real responsibility, like, for instance having a part-time paying job demonstrate their adult-ness through taking on these healthier parts of being a grown up. Throughout their teen years, teenagers should have the opportunity to do part-time, intern, and volunteer work to explore their interests. This serves several useful functions; it keeps teens busy, it allows teens to develop maturity and responsibility, and it gives teens a wide range of real-life experiences which should help prevent the all-too-frequent situation where a young adult goes into debt to pursue a degree only to discover after graduation that they hate the work that they have spent years training for.

kids with ballons

 Give your child a utopian childhood in just 10 easy steps:

1)     Enjoy the company of your children. (That’s really the main one, since so many parents don’t really enjoy the company of their children, and the children know that, so they misbehave. No child-rearing theory can overcome parents who don’t like their kids.)

2)     Accept every request as legitimate. (default to yes, rather than default to no).

3)     Don’t punish.  Don’t discipline. But, rather, explain.

4)     No sarcasm. Don’t laugh at kids.

5)     Learn what your kids like.

6)     Laugh at kids’ jokes, listen to their stories.

7)     Try to understand their emotions.  Have empathy.

8)     No school; homeschool.

9)     Talk to the kids about the adult world.  Encourage discussion.  Explain values through storytelling using real examples. Let them know fairly often what you think is right and wrong.

10) Share whatever you are passionate about with your children. Expect them to be interested in your life.

Posted 28th April 2014 by Keenan

Utopian Child Raising

Mid Winter

by 

from the East Wind blog,

Winter is ambling along here in the heart of the Ozarks. The days are growing longer and spirits are rising. As an Erie, PA native it has been wonderful to see my first serious snowfall at East Wind in the three winters I’ve lived here. The weather this winter has been kind to a northerner: plenty of freezing cold with a sprinkling of sunny sixty degree plus days. The farm is busy with a number of projects, including butchering season and the building of our new shower house.

Fran, the Foopin manager, starting in on a pig quarter

Foopin, the dedicated food processing room, has been bustling with the butchering of several pigs, cows, and deer (along with all the year round dairy processing, of course). East Wind’s freezers are filling up with tenderloins, bacon, ribs, hams, beef, and a variety of tasty sausages. If you have no experience and want to learn about butchering, this is the place and time to do it!

Liesel and Mardock beginning on a deer they hunted as Indo and Roxy discuss mammal anatomy.

Just north of Foopin, garden manager Andrea took advantage of a nice warm day to harvest spinach. The garden is largely dormant at this time of year, but there are cold hardy greens- spinach and kale. The garlic, planted late fall, is slumbering under the snow and mulch waiting for spring growth. Riding on the success of last year’s experiment, onion starts in the hoophouse will be transplanted to the main garden in spring.

Andrea harvesting spinach.  The new shower house, under construction, is in the background.

Construction on the shower house began in late summer with Brandon leading up the demolition of the old site, hooking up water and electric, putting up all walls, windows, doors, insulation, and the roof. The summer crew worked incredibly efficiently to get the structure solid and weatherproof. Beckie is heading up the completion of the project. The siding is nearly finished and there is much to do in the interior. Below you can find a short timelapse (my first dabbling) that was taken during August with the summer crew (it looks best in 720p!).

New member Max and Richard nailing in a board.

Of course, there is plenty of time for recreation in the winter time as well. This past week, a group of about ten communards hiked out to visit the ‘Ice Pillar.’ The pillar is located up a tributary valley to Lick Creek and only forms under certain conditions.

A pillar was indeed formed!  A great way to spend part of an afternoon.

It has been a long time since my last written post. So long that a couple people were getting worried about me (shout out to MoonRaven growing the communal spirit in NYC)! Holiday traveling and dealing with the business left me with little spare time these past couple months. Soon I will have more time to jump back in the blog saddle and get back to at least once a month posts. I am SUPER interested in what YOU are curious about living at East Wind. Please feel free to ask questions and give feedback in the comments! I am constantly looking for blog inspiration. Until next time, here are the dairy cows in the orchard:

Three generations: grandmother Marmalade to the far right, mother Jackie Brown to the left, and daughter Mary Jane up front.

Post written, pictures taken, and video created by Sumner

Mid Winter