Of course, now that we have our own chicken (and more to come soon), I've been thinking about all the possibilities: finding an organic chicken feed, mixing my own organic grains, or even starting some vermiculture for the rich compost and to have some worms to feed to the chickens.
Whew... sounds like a lot of work. And time. Since healthy chickens are mostly just a means to healthy children at this point in my life, I will have to figure out what kind of return on investment all that work would yield. Is it better for the kids to have an extra hour of playground time out in the sunshine or a healthier egg for breakfast? Or will they have just as much fun helping me measure grain and feed the worms in the sunshine of our own backyard, and simultaneously learning about the hard work that goes into quality food?
I've been rereading The American Frugal Housewife the last few days, one of the main tenants of which is the folly of idleness. Many of the author's tips for keeping children productively busy, like knitting their own garters and braiding straw for their own hats, are not exactly applicable today, but the concept is still valid. We hear so often that for little kids, their play is their work. I agree, but for little ones, isn't work often play too? I know my kids would rather help me roll out dough or help daddy build a chicken run than play with toys. Einstein will gladly abandon his blocks in the living room to come running and ask to help me set the table for dinner.
Maybe it would be wisest for me to capitalize on the kids' age and their eagerness to "help" with grownup jobs. If I keep reinforcing the idea that working around the house is what we do to entertain ourselves and have a good time, will the habit stick in the coming years? I'm not talking about child-sweatshop hours here or anything, but we all want our kids to grow up with a healthy work-ethic, right?
Since I abandoned the world of the typical productive adult to be a stay-at-home mom, I've realized that I'm not going to have standard "hours off" to do normal leisure activities, so if I'm going to be happy, I'd better just enjoy the work I do. Instead of counting down the hours until the kids are in bed and I can "do fun grown up stuff by myself," I am much more content if I find joy in each task. I don't know if it's possible for the kids to gain this attitude by osmosis as they grow up, or if it's just something we all have to learn for ourselves. But I'd love to do all I can to encourage them to enjoy working as well as playing.
Of course, this long-winded rambling has not solidified in my mind whether I'm going to go all out for super-healthy chickens. But, hey, the title of the blog is Analytical Mom, with a clear emphasis on unnecessary over-thinking, so you were warned in advance, at least.
What are some things you have done in your own family to help encourage your children to work hard? I am really only getting started with the kiddos, and I'd love a little advice and wisdom from anyone willing to give it.
This photo has very little to do with the above post. It is the dogs
watching the chicken, eager to chase and attack.
Posted at Fresh, Clean, and Pure Friday at la bella vita