Unlike our forebears we live with an enormous amount of very accessible resources. This accessibility has come about through generations of struggle & sacrifice and a great deal of ‘wanting to make it better for our children’.
But how far is far enough? We can now hear a song, reach into our pockets for the technology (that used to take the space of a building) and own that said same song in less than two minutes for fewer than two dollars. Now I’m not saying this isn’t a valuable resource to have access to, however it is one of an extraordinary number of ways in which our wants can be immediately gratified.
But what of our needs, can they be gratified as quickly? Water, food, clothing and shelter are in abundance around us. How we choose to eat, clothe and house ourselves really comes down to the level to which we are prepared to delay our gratification. Making money takes time and the types of sacrifices we make to secure our desired lifestyle depend upon (among many other factors) whether we actually know what is involved in achieving that goal, and how prepared we are to work and wait for it.
For me, both gardens and houses provide my family with a rich training ground in this area. Not only is the practical knowledge of planning, measuring, cutting, digging, planting, watering and harvesting being imparted but in the process my children are being taught the skills to successfully determine the difference between the needs and wants of life.
Gardens take time and effort to grow before their bounty can be consumed and in a world that offers much immediate gratification, these events offer real life experience in a gentle and supportive environment, to take a longer range approach to life and also to weigh up the realities of both delayed and immediate action.
There’s also a lot to be said for learning about the importance of gratitude in our daily lives through the lens of the longer term. If we take the time each day to be grateful for the everyday people, places and things in our lives we are much more able to bear the perceived sacrifices we make along the way to our less immediate goals.