Two Steps To a More Natural Family Life
We live in a rather unnatural world, and every day we are exposed to persistent marketing that tries to convince us of more artificial items we’ve think we can’t live without. And yet we know natural is better, and wanting the best for our children, we want to raise them as naturally as possible.
In their book Freakonomics, authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner say the data suggest that who you are as a parent matters more to your child’s outcome than your parenting style. So, if you want your children to follow a more natural lifestyle, the most important thing to do is to set the example. Your children are likely to follow it.
One step many families have taken is to get rid of the television. This will make the rest of the journey much easier, though it may also be the hardest thing you’ll ever do. Of all the high tech appliances that are no doubt present in your home, why pick on the television? Well, where else are your children going to be so fiercely and directly targeted by the marketers and purveyors of all things plastic and disposable? Things you aren’t planning to get them. Are you going to miss the stress of the grocery store trip, where you child begs your for all manner of sugary cereals as if her life depended upon it? And not because she likes it but because her favorite cartoon character endorses it. Sound familiar? Some parents think that the educational shows have some merit. That may be up for debate. However, most, if not all, of the successful TV shows are available on DVD, often at your local public library. Your child can enjoy all the same shows they enjoyed with TV, minus the commercials. This tactic may make it easier for you to control the amount of time spent in front of a screen also.
The next step I would encourage is to get your entire family good quality bicycles. If you have toddlers or babies, part of what you’ll need is a tagalong cart like a burley. You can also look into carts that will allow you to haul groceries with your bicycle. Older children should have their own bikes with safety helmets. You can arrange this through a local bike shop, or if cost is an issue, you can hook up with a local bicycle cooperative. Once everyone in your family is bicycle ready, start taking rides as a family. At first your trips will be purely recreational, but you can work up to riding your bikes to take care of easy errands, like the trip to the corner store for that one ingredient you need for dinner and forgot to pick up on your normal grocery store trip. You can ride your bike to mail a package, visit a friend, or any number of trips you’d normally drive your car.
At this point, I’m not saying you should get rid of your car. That is a huge step that may impossible in some areas. But each trip you take with your bike rather than your car is that much less pollution you’re putting into the air, not to mention the fresh air and exercise you get.
Once you take those first steps, you are well on your way towards a more natural lifestyle.