What do you and your husband do for a living?
We are both mortgage adjustors for Wells Fargo bank. (I guess I don't need to tell you we are busy haha)
Currently we have no debt and have about 30k in savings. (Not including our retirement accounts/life insurance) We both have degrees in business finance/accounting.
OK how far are you willing to get off the grid? As in leaving America, or staying and somehow isolating yourself from what is being taught and learned?
I think it's not a question of living below or above your means, its how you define your means. Don't ever let anyone, family or friends, define your means. This has to come from you and your husband. How you feel in your hearts and minds about what is and is not important in this life for your family. True friends and family will support your decision and respect it. It's your life.
It's also your perception of how you were raised and conditioned that is your dilemma. Your parents, like most of the older generation, don't want to change or are too old to change more than likely.
Providing more how? By enslaving you and your husband to a life of being separated most of the time from your child? By needing to provide 2 incomes just to keep up with everyone else? By paying ever increasing taxes for a government that has failed you time and time again? Is that freedom? is that the American Dream? Will your child benefit from this?
I have 2 children, and the thing important to me is how much I need to balance work and spending time with them, and they come first. I have completely changed my work and lifestyle to accommodate this, as many others here have. Putting my children above myself.
The important things are educating your child at an age when they can understand about how this cycle of consuming works, how we are constantly conditioned and how the government works. Your child and my children are facing a completely different future. But then you have the downside to all this. The other kids, the ones with the new Nike's, newest XBOX, nicer houses, better cars, richer families, etc. Your child will be exposed to them and other conditioning tactics in America from the time they can understand the word want. They will wonder why they don't have the same. They will wonder why they are not as popular as the kids with the toys and the expensive nonsense. They will wonder why they cant have a new car at 16. This is dangerous and can cause children to resent you for your choices.
It's important to have friends that support you and your ideas. In other words, if you surround yourself with people on the hamster wheel doing nothing but working all the time, consuming and wasting this planet away, expect the same from your child. No teaching at home can stop this, it's built into the American society and culture. It's roots are deep and cannot be changed easily.
Them implies more than 1, so what is your idea of giving them the best? Is it time spent with them educating them, playing with them more? Or spoiling them with the latest and greatest consumer crap they don't need. The attention span of an American child right now is so short they usually toss aside a new toy in 5-10 minutes and are ready for the next one. It gets worse as they get older, and a army of video game addicted kids, teens and young adults in training as we speak. This is also a worldwide problem. It's like a strobe light of consuming and constant mindless entertainment brainwashing our kids. Want newest, need more, want better, be richer over and over and over.
Do you notice recent events in the last few years like the credits for a movie you watch on TV flashing by so fast you cant even read them? Well, they want to get to the commercial quicker. They want to push more information on you. Bottom boxes, side boxes, boxes everywhere on TV conditioning you at a record pace. Be scared, Terrorism, stock down, person killed. Do you notice how more and more things in society are separating us as a people. If you don't live near or in a big city, it's not as bad. But when was the last time you actually wrote a letter to someone? Why when you can do an email. I have a love hate relationship with technology, but it is slowly tearing us apart as a society by cutting off our communication to one another in a face to face way. When was the last time you calmly and generally socialized and really relaxed? It's increasing the speed in which we do everything, and diverting our attention of what is important. It's bothersome to most not to have all these conveniences, but it is slowly disintegrating us as a society. Stop and smell the roses is not a popular phrase anymore.
A big problem with getting off the grid is doing it when your child or children are young enough to simply not know the difference. For example, if you were born on a remote island, raised in a tribe and worshipped a rock everyday, you would not be exposed to the world we know and not care. And no you don't need to move to a remote island and worship a rock, but you do need to find something between that and the dreadful lifestyle and cycle of the typical American family, which will only get worse in the coming years. Exposure is a key element in a lifestyle change regarding children. Once exposed at a certain level. it gets harder and harder to break away from it.
The main thing is what are you willing to sacrifice in your current lifestyle to accomplish your goals of not being a controlled tax sheep like most of America. Balancing that with a higher family commitment, and preparing your new child for a vastly different future.
I really hope half of what Chris teaches with the crash course is wrong, and I do that in my mind to keep me calm for the sake of my children, but that is just wishful thinking because I believe what Chris teaches here, as well as a lot of other members here, is the supremely sad truth of how we use this world, how people use us and what is coming.
None of these answers are easy. If you are the sheep that moves away from the flock, the sheep dog comes and nips at you to keep you in line. You are not popular anymore. You are not on the hamster wheel. It's something that takes incredible courage and intelligence, and it sounds like you have both because you are already thinking about it. That's the first step, thinking about it. You have just distanced yourself from the flock.
This will give you some things to think about. And please feel free to ask any questions. The people on Big Daddy Martenson's forums are for the most part informed, intelligent and more than willing to share experiences and advice.
I wish I could get away from this planet from time to time. I used to think the world so mysterious and large. My journeys are hours, at most. I can fly across the world in less than a day. It's nice to have the ability to talk to anyone in the world at anytime, but for some reason, I want longer journeys and more space. I used to think an island would be great... just to live in a hut maybe, off the beach, eating smoked fish. Those islands are inhabited, developed, or worse-- private. Where can I go? Is there another planet I could move to? I need to get away from all of this. This stuff is killing me; Not my body, but my soul. It hurts to see superficially happy families. It hurts to see my family in this trap. It hurts to know that everyone is an automaton... just like me.
Yes I know how you feel, and I felt that way in 1999. That's when I began to change my lifestyle and location before the stress killed me. It has greatly helped me in my life to see other cultures, and how the perception of what they see and information they are exposed to effects all of them. Also, it has shown me how hard we are conditioned in the United States. Corruption and greed are a world problem, as is conditioning. The answer to this is what levels are you willing to accept in the place you live in the world? Where I do most of my business, the ex-president just got accused of embezzling 30 million with his wife, so it's here and everywhere. America just does it on a much larger scale and a better job of covering it up.
BTW Smoked fish sounds wonderful! Maybe with a little wine. Now you got me hungry!
My spouse and I have successfully raised 3 kids outside the box. My advice is: find a community of like-minded people to share the experience with. Anything you do beyond the borders of the mainstream comes with a "contrary tax." It will be harder and less well-suported, which makes sense when you consider that - despite the American ideal of the "rugged individualist" - we are at core tribal creatures. A lot of energy is spent trying to keep the flock together, because our survival as primates depends on working communally.
My Journey into living against the grain and experience with "contrary taxation" began in my mid-twenties. My spouse and I built our own home before we had kids and that was difficult - no bank would finance amateur builders or a property over 5 acres, because it couldn't be "resold" on the mortgage market. So we did without and built our place as the money trickled in. We homesteaded (while holding down "regular" jobs) and found that strattling the "professional" world with our back-to-the-land efforts was tough. We tried to have home births - and that bordered on the illegal. When our kids became school-age we homeschooled our children, but since we lived in a remote part of the state we found they needed (and actually we did too) more community. So we moved. We found a strong humanist (non-fundalmentalist christian) homeschool community a couple hours away and relocated. The decision to homeschool led to us starting our own business to integrate home-life and work. As the business grew, we dropped out of our previous careers, so we could be together as a family. In the end, that turned out to be a smart financial decision, but it also required 60 hour weeks for both of us while we raised the kids until we sold the business a few years ago.
It's been quite a ride. And now, we're back to homesteading again just as our oldest is heading out the door to Forestry School. Our second will be going to college next Fall. I'm still homeschooling our youngest. After the kids are gone, we expect that our "twilight" years will also be a struggle since we're starting a commercial farm, but we have never regretted the core decsions we made as a family to live as authentic a life as possible. And really, although we worked hard, given the time and place we were born into, we also know that we have been extremely fortunate - more fortunate than the generations who will come after us.
Blessings to you, Lundsa, and your spouse and child as you begin your own journey on the path less traveled.
I think it actually builds character in kids to not have everything. Our son is now 22 years old and we cut off the network TV in 1994 and he still does not watch the networks. We made it clear to him that what he did receive in the form of gifts, would not be replaced because he was careless. He waited to get his drivers license until he was 19 because we told him that he would have to pay for his own car and insurance. It took him until his 19Th birthday to save $5,000 so I took him to the city to buy his truck. He is currently working his way through college without loans and he has no credit cards. Everyone tells him he "has" to have credit, we tell him if he wants to be like everyone else and in debt get credit or if you want to be responsible, only buy what you can pay for.
We used to live in the Dallas area and after 9/11 we moved to a small West Texas town (Pop. 3,000) when our son was 15 and he told us we ruined his life by moving him to Mayberry. It only took about a year for him to not only adjust, but realize how good it was for him here. When we lived in Dallas we lived in an upper middle class area and my son would let me know that "we don't live in the hood" when he was trying to justify wanting expensive shoes, clothes or even being seen in my old Suburban. I would simply tell him I am trying to build his character by not "giving" him everything. He didn't appreciate it then, but he does now.
Don't listen to the "world", do what you believe is best for your kids!
It all depends if you and your husband are willing to live off crid. $30,000 dollars is not for a land and all the things that you need. Do you or yourhusband have any experience with a garden or animals? Have you thought where you are going to get money? I like the city be able to go to the movies and get and ice cream one in a while with my family. I also like the theater but that a luxury that I cannot afford right now. I have a garden and my son have his tools and he must help me. I am trying to be self sufficient closer to my friend and family. Since he is 2 years old his job is to throw away the trash of both bathrooms and I give him money. If you give him a bill he will return it and ask you for real money. He likes his coins. When he wants candy he needs to give me coins for candy. I had a lot of questions when he was born about his future but I realized that if I am happy he will be too. Get ready for everybody to tell you what to do, went to feed him, how to dress him, what to teach him. Be strong the first two years are hard but if you do let everybody know that you are the mother they will get it sooner or later. My number one accomplishment is that I work less to spend more time with my son. This mean that I am no longer high middle class but I enjoy him so much.
My husband and I are first time parents to a 5 month old. Our goal is to live debt free, off the grid and have a different lifestyle from our upper middle class upbringing. Our parents do not accept any other lifestlye and so they remain critical of our choices. Since I am not able to ask them I would love some insight from others on this blog.
Do you think it is wise to raise children below your means even if you could provide more? ( self -sufficiant living)
If you do live off the grid do you bother teaching them about a "richer lifesyle"?
I want to give them the best!
This is what I believe... since you've asked. It's great to get some different perspectives...
Lavishing your child with "stuff" may not deter your child from the character s/he may have had otherwise. Most children develop their character regardless of their "nurture-type" environment. Your child is a person. S/he is that person now at five months and will be that person into adult life. The "nurture" you surround her with, i.e., her environment will help her to develop values, ethics, and morals that are important to yourlife. These values are not part of her DNA. Her character development stems from her genes, not her values. It's very important to make these distinctions. Many people believe they can "will" a persons character. All they (parents) do, when attempting this, is mask and stifle their child's character by imposing too many "values". Values are great as long as parent don't attempt to mask their child's character. What I mean by, "masking your child's character", is that many parents intrude into a child's "person-hood". Many parent's see children as less than a person so they are likely to treat and speak to children accordingly.
If you remember a few things, I think it will give you some life-long help.
Respect your child. Lead them to responsibility... don't force it upon him.
Speak to your child as you would an adult or boss.
Your child will imitate you and speak/act that way towards you in return.
Respect your child. Never talk down to him/her. Argue/converse/debate (whatever you want to call it) with your child. It encourages critical thinking skills. Also, don't assume that giving is a one-way street. Listen to your child. She knows more than you think she does. She will talk to and give you advice when you need a lecturing. Encourage her to express her feelings but control the tone so she can learn how to collect her thoughts. Don't forget... you are supposed to be the wiser. Don't control her, rather control the mood, tone, direction of the conversation so as to stay on topic. Always lead to the root issues of the problems. Make compromises.
If you have successfully done these things throughout his life, you will be your child's biggest hero. Your child will be your protector and you will be your child's. And when he goes without, he will respect you enough to understand that you have done what's in his best interest. And if he asks, by all means, give him your honest reason as to why you have decidedto forgo anything. Most importantly, don't lie to him about anything. You may be able to get through Santa Claus and the tooth fairy without questions from him, but if he asks, there is a reason why he is asking. It means he is thinking about something he is unclear about. Give him the truth... he's asking for it.
You are supposed to be his/her protector, teacher, and mother. Always try to use your wisdom instead of your judgement and you'll do fine.
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