2012 – A year with emphasis on the earth, its creatures, people (past and present), culture and connections.

What better way to start the new year, than with a new way of doing things…

Well technically it is not a new way of doing things. It is rather a new focus for us as a family on how we do things,  what we value, and how we achieve the goals we have set for ourselves and for each other.

2011 was a year that seen us muddle through, occupy ourselves online and immerse ourselves in technology. It was a year of endings and changes. We endured heartbreak and tears as well as new commitments and brighter days.

Were as 2012 is a year where we are aiming for our learning to have a major emphasis on the earth, its creatures, people (past and present), culture and connections. It is a year were as a family we hope to shift our focus back to our grassroots, back to life around. 2012 will be a year that we will will turn to the old ways of doing things to achieve a greater connectedness with family, friends and community.

Some of the ways in which we hope to achieve this greater quality of life for us as a family include …

  • Writing letters rather than sending emails — Yes we know that emails provide for faster communication between people, but we feel that the quality of interactions is degraded. We want to bring back the excitement of getting a letter through the mail. The anticipation of wondering when the next letter will arrive and the sheer joy of curling up on the couch, or sitting under a tree and reading what our friends and family have to say. We want the children to learn patience and value the time and effort it took the person to actually write the letter to them and post it as much as the time and effort it takes them to write back. We want them to experience meaningful communication rather than the often trivial nature of communication that comes hand in hand with emails. I love letter writing so much that I want them to enjoy this pleasurable activity also…. So if you are reading this and want to start or rekindle a friendship with us, let us know!
  • Growing our own vegetables rather than buying them — We want the children to understand the life cycle of planting, growing, harvesting and eating produce. The time it takes and the resources used to grow the food. We want them to understand that food is valuable, that it is something to be treated with respect, rather than something that you can just buy from a shop and discard if unused without consequence. We want the children to try new foods, understand how different vegetables and fruits grow and when they are in season. We also want them to understand how their food choices, not just shop bought v’s home grown, impact on their own health and that of the animals, plants and world around them.
  • Having a ‘NO Electricity Day’ — We have agreed that once a month we will have a no electricity day. This will ensure that we indirectly focus on our electricity usage and how it affects our lives. I am sure that we are all likely to find it quite hard at first when the first no electricity day for the year comes around. So no computers, TV, lights, oven etc can be used. I am sure that we will be okay, we will just have to shift our focus onto discussions, letter writing, play, boardgames and other similar activities.
  • Handmade instead of Bought — It is our aim to hand make every gift for very occasion in 2012. Now I know that this is going to mean we need to be ready, organised and working ahead, to ensure that we do not miss anyone’s birthday or special occasion (Nan if you are reading this your gift will be a little late for your birthday on the 4th of January, but it will be handmade!). The children will be organising a calendar today, outlining every occasion where we need a gift. They will also have to be a few months in advance with ideas for each occasion, so that we can have them made and ready to be sent (most gifts have to go in the mail) to arrive on time.
  • Engaging, Connecting to Community instead of solitude — We intend to embrace our local community and all it has to offer. Find ways to make connections with our neighbours, share experiences and hopefully grow friendships and bring a skill base together. I have ideas on how this could be achieved, but I am still trying to work out how to get a few other people on side to ensure this dream becomes a reality…

Watch this Space!