Lessons from the Mother Earth News Fair

Reader Contribution by Shawn Hosford
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When you have a passion for something, it seems that you continue to notice all connections that tie your passion to the many realities around you. I’m passionate about conscious, intentional, clear, long range parenting. As a mother, business woman, wife, author of a parenting book, and someone who cares deeply about being a good steward of the earth, I was enthralled by the lectures at the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Wash. I listened to lecturer after lecturer cover topics from renewable energy, small-scale farming, green building, organic gardening, simple living, and citizen solidarity building. While I listened, I pondered ways to weave these powerful themes into our children’s lives.

Highlights from the FAIR

I’d like to share some of the highlights:

Bryan Welch spoke about the beauty and abundance that surround us, he asked a stunning question about lifespan: “If you could live forever or extend your lifespan to a much longer range, would you choose to do it?” He asked us to think about what impact longer lifespans would have on overpopulation and the Earth’s resources. He told us that he’d targeted an end-date for his life. This is not to say that he’s going to end his life by a certain date but that his date would mark a full and productive life. Wouldn’t it be lovely to teach our children that it’s not the quantity of achievements and acquisitions that count but the quality? When we settle into thinking of life as temporary, our time on Earth becomes the most valuable commodity we have.

Lisa Kivirist, who lives with her husband on a mostly self-sustaining farm and bed and breakfast, spoke about organic eating on a budget, reaffirming that financial and environmental sustainability can be complementary Lisa and her husband, John, have lived their lives intentionally and extremely frugally. She had many great tips to share on buying dried bulk grains, legumes, and coffee. Her talk helped me become clearer about aligning my values with every aspect of my life, especially concerning how I consume.  I was wishing our daughter had been with me to share in the experience.

Ed Begley Jr. was equally delightful. He shared a lesson from his father. When he was remarking to his father about the ills of the world in the 1970s, his dad replied, “OK, I understand. So now what are you going to do to improve things?” What a simple and powerful reminder for our children. When something is amiss in your life or the world, you can affect change by taking action. Lifelong learning is truly multi-generational.

Finally, one of my favorite learnings came from Joel Salatin. Joel’s passion for our living planet permeated everything he spoke about. He highlighted: how much is sold under false pretense, talked about how to avoid buying into profit over people – corporate greed over good sense, and the need to be consistently mindful of our actions by staying abreast on changing laws and voting with vigilance. He paired individual integrity with acting for the common good. Fitting his ideas with my parenting experience reminded me how a pragmatic, disciplined, and longitudinal approach to parenting worked well for my family.

How sweet it was to sit for two days listening, learning, and relating it all back to impassioned and intentional parenting. How vital it is for us to model and teach our children about conscious living today. They, after all, will inherit our earth, and be tomorrow stewards.

If this post finds you in the Pennsylvania or Kansas areas be sure to check out the upcoming MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIRS in September and October of this year.

Shawn Hosford is a parenting mentor and healthy families advocate based in Washington state whose other interests include lively conversations, organic and sustainable food, continuous learning, being outside and living life to its fullest. Learn more at The Invisible Parenting Handbook website and Facebook pageThe handbook is available to buy here.