Both of us were brought up in city. Yet when we start having kids and bring them to farms and country side, we fall in love with the rural lifestyle. Make no mistake, we like the convenience and job opportunity in the city. However, when we give more thought on the difference between city life and country life, we have decided that the country is a much better place to raise a family and to enjoy what God created.
We came across a book “Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It” by John Seymour a few years ago. This book was an eye-opener to us, because all of a sudden we know how much we are missing when we live in the city. Most of the city folks nowadays know little about traditional skills, such as making butter, training horses and building houses. One might think that he can always pay somebody else to repair a leaking pipe or purchase those prepackaged frozen dinner from supermarket; why bother wasting time on these time-consuming techniques? We now live in a “modernized” society where everything seems so convenient and fast. Yet, they come with a price.
The crisis of global warming shows we human are consuming energy at an appalling rate. The increasing use of cell phones, computers and home electronics all contribute to this problem. With the aid of fax, emails and cell phones, our lifestyles are supposed to be easier and more relaxing. However, many people are actually experiencing more pressure and stress after adopting these hi-tech gadgets. People spend endless nights on the Internet, disconnected from their families and the real world. On the other hand, people are more accustomed to fast food, frozen food and factory manufactured package. These products lack the taste and nutrition of home-grown wholesome food.
We cannot turn the clock back and we don’t intend to do so. But at least we can try to live a simple and hardworking life, which will allow us to truly enjoy God’s creation, eat the food from our own gardens, depend less from factory products and energy-consuming technology and more importantly, a life that is rewarding and full of joy.
City will most certainly be a difficult place to fulfill our task. In fact, any attempt to take on a simple lifestyle in a crowded and consumption-oriented urban setting is next to impossible. Therefore, country living is the solution. Make no mistakes, however, that country living is not for everyone. It will be a hard life and everything is a challenge to a city person (including usJ). Learning to live on less and make most things out of our hands is not something that happens overnight. Strict discipline and correct mindset are the keys to success.
It is true that satisfaction comes from working with our hands, not by pressing keyboards or some buttons. After spending some weeks’ work on building my daughter’s bunk bed from scratch, I find a true sense of fulfillment knowing that the bed is a symbol of love and hard work from a father to his child. Although one can argue that a factory manufactured bed looks more elegant and takes much less time to assemble, I will still choose to build the bed myself with all the hassle of sawing, screwing and sanding.
Living in the country is also good for young children. Rather spending days and nights in front of TVs, Gameboys and computers, they can explore nature as often as they want to. They can learn to get along with and take care of the animals kept on the family farm. They are taught to consume less and use their imagination and skills to generate income. They are expected to work together with their parents in the garden and thus come to an understanding that family means teamwork. Taking in firewood, weeding the garden, riding ponies on the pasture, enjoying fresh tomatoes…… are you ready to move?