Tuesday, September 23, 2008

They Wouldn't Consider Living Any Other Way

I'll never forget what my Grandfather said when I pestered him to tell me, "What was it like growing up during the depression?" He replied, "Oh, things didn't change to much for us. Country people just kept living like they always did." It reminds me of a line in an Alabama song, "Somebody told us Wall Street fell, but we was so poor we couldn't tell." (Song of the South)

I was really disappointed that he didn't have any storeys of starvation and woe. No tales of furniture thrown out on the street as my great grandfather had to sell apples on a corner to scrape together enough cash to buy food for the youngsters. My Grandmother did love to tell me how, "It was just a different way of living." You gardened, raised animals, canned, mended, repaired,...basically they were self-sufficient and wouldn't have considered living any other way.

There were very few things that they bought from outside sources. Of course, as they grew older they too adapted to the more modern way of life. Amazingly enough here we are turning back to take a look at how they lived their lives. We are rediscovering what it means to be self-sufficient. In my case I am attempting to become mostly self-sufficient.

Sometimes I wish my Grandfather were here so I could ask him what he thought about all this. My Grandfather and I had many heated discussions as he was a Democrat and I decided at the age of eight I was a Reagan Republican. Here we have a whole generation where most of us wouldn't know the first thing about caring for ourselves if suddenly food couldn't be delivered to the store. In our case after Katrina we have experienced this. What if the military wasn't there to air drop MRE's and cases of water?

I don't begin to profess I know how we lost all the skills our grandparents took for granted, but I do have some suspicions. We are human and we are all susceptible if not careful to the temptations of humanity- greed, pride, laziness. The idea of something for nothing has always appealed to the basest side of human nature. No other generation has been advertised to like ours. Especially by the credit industry.

Credit companies repeated a lie often enough that now it is believed. I know many really good people who do not believe that life can be lived without debt. I myself have given into that philosophy in the past. Now I know it is possible. We are doing it. At first it was a great trial, but now we are getting the hang of it and it has become habit. If you don't have the money, you do without until you do. This is NOT always easy. Especially in our society of "have now pay later". Pay you do and then some.

We know the Bible says the borrower is a slave to the lender. This is just a basic fact. If you owe someone, they dictate what you must do with your money and time without even telling you. Debt is the greatest inhibitor of self-sufficient living. Debt in my opinion is also the greatest robber of peace.

Maybe I could rewrite the line in that Alabama song, "Somebody told us Wall Street fell, but we weren't in debt so we couldn't tell."


Miss Riya said...

I was recently listening to some financial "experts" discussing this crisis that the nation is in. They were haggling about buying or selling stocks now when one of them(the woman) stopped arguing and said, "the average person shouldn't be worried about whether or not to invest in the market. What they should be worried about is paying off that credit card debt..." She went on to explain that they would be earning more by saving thousands on interest. She kept reitterating the need to be self sufficient because when the big guys come crashing down and don't have any more money to lend you and you don't know how to live without credit then you're gonna be in big trouble. In my mind I heard you(Kristi) in the background shouting AMEN!

Egghead said...

You are way ahead of the game. We try by using our own produce and eggs and meat but I know there are so many things I could do better. I admire what you are doing because it is very hard. I also admire our ancestors who really knew how to be self sufficient.

Sandy said...

awesome. amen.

Betsy said...

I really think the problem starts when we try to make things easier for the next generation. How many times have you heard the phrase, "I dont want my kids to go without what I went without...etc.."
I once heard a sermon along those lines, and in trying to make things easier, we have lost something. Why do you think the bible refers to the old paths? Is it just to remind us of how we got to where we are, or is it to teach us where we are to go?

See ya tomorrow