Courtesy Howard Walfish/Flickr
There’s a Christian parable regarding wise men building their houses on rock and the foolish upon sand. Another one involves seeds producing abundantly when planted in fertile soil versus sand or thorns. Likewise, there’s a child’s story starring three little pigs. Each built a house, but when the big bad wolf came, only the last little pig’s house made of bricks was left standing. While the origin of these stories vary, their essence is the same: foundation. So many aspects of our lives depend on the foundation in which they are built.
As homesteaders we value the importance of foundation with all we do. We only plant in the most fertile soils. We feed our livestock hardy grains and fresh greens. With everything we build, grow and raise, our eyes are constantly focused on the future, and therefore, focused on ensuring a solid start.
But the most important foundation we will ever build is that in our children. Too soon, we will be sending them out into the world armed only with what we have instilled in them. When that day comes, we will find ourselves wondering if we did enough, listened enough, encouraged enough, cultivated enough. Did we teach them to become victims of circumstance or embracers of opportunity?
Last week, I watched my oldest son—my "practice child” if you will—walk across the stage and receive his high school diploma! For months, our lives have revolved around college applications, senior prom and campus tours. It all seemed very surreal until that moment when his entire class walked onto the field all dressed in their caps and gowns. I waited impatiently as the speakers gave their congratulations. I tapped my foot as the valedictorian and salutatorian gave their advice to their fellow classmates. Then I stood, proudly, screaming at the top of my lungs as my little boy shook his principal’s hand and received his diploma. And I laughed as that child of mine stopped mid stride to take a selfie with his class in the background.
Courtesy Kristy Rammel
I remember the day I found out I was pregnant with him. I remember his bumper car-like driving in his walker, his first steps, and his little blue bunny he couldn’t sleep without. I remember the countless times I was so filled with pride and hundreds of ways he found to annoy me. I remember them all like they were yesterday because they were, in my mind at least.
Like most mothers, I also remember every mistake I ever made. I beat myself up at every raised voice, every "in a minute” that never came, and every time I fell under life’s burdens. I shudder at the thought that he may remember them all, as well. Did I apologize when I should have? Did I make up for time not given freely? Did he see me get up after every stumble? Did I build his foundation on the shifting sand or on unyielding rock?
It is because of our children that my husband and I started this homesteading adventure. We knew in doing so we would be forgoing many of the extravagancies other families have. We knew the hours would be long and the work would be back-breaking, but they, our little ones, were worth it. We knew we wanted them to always have a home to come back to, filled with stories they could tell their own kids. We knew we would face many challenges, but we would overcome them together as a family. We knew there is no greater foundation than the one built together through faith, dirt and sweat.
In a few short months, my little boy will leave the homestead and start a new chapter in his life. While I am excited for him and all the possibilities waiting out there for him, I am sad to see him leave. But, when he returns full of stories and new adventures, he will be greeted by the chickens he raised. He will be shaded by the fruit trees he planted. He will walk the paths he helped create. He will eat from the gardens he helped plant. And he will know he is home.
To Spencer, with all my love! I am so proud you!
Read more from Kristy and her family on HobbyFarms.com:
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