If you find yourself leading younger folks, as a parent or otherwise, into any sort of life that goes ”off course”, it's so important to regularly talk through what's happening around them.
When Nathan and I went from two incomes to self-employed, a plan to have 2 children that became 5, a decision to give birth at home with a certified professional midwife, a business plan that prioritized the success of other farmers and accessibility of fresh food to those who may not otherwise receive it, we were acting on years of experience, research, knowledge and reasoning.
Nathan would often say, ”We are doing this because it's the right thing to do and there will always be more work to do because we never ”arrive”. I'd tell stories, ”I won't leave my childhood self behind and justice is served best from a place of contemplation and love.” This resonated with folks out there who had similar life experiences and knowledge, but this life we were living was all our kids had ever known. As they get older they are being lead by their own personalities and opinions, and at the same time the world is sending different messages than the ones we once heard.
As they learn to balance life here with an increasingly louder call to go out and do good, the most valuable thing we can do is consistently remind them of the price paid for the privilege they now enjoy. The value of the work they do and the people we serve and are served by. The heavy responsibility in that privilege and the opportunity to either sleep in peace, or not. Then, we hold them loosely as they learn what all of this means for them, their hopes and their future.
In our home, we gather twice a week with the intention to express blessings, sorrow, and to pray together over them. We've learned by actively listening to them not to ever take for granted their understanding of justice, mercy and humility. We all can forget so quickly.
This is a portrait of Michelle Howell, a hardworking farmwife, mother of five, author, and advocate. On the left side of the bust you can read text from the poem “Anyway” that was on a wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India. “If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.” “The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.”
Leslie Nichols, Artist