Monday, June 8, 2009

Does Living "Off the Grid" Hurt Children Under 10 Years of Age?

This is a highly personal post. It needed a tactful re-write.

This is part of this "off the grid" story. An important part that deserves to be addressed. I figure only those who care about us will read it. Posts with lots of words tend to drive off the unfriendly.

Kylie and Jazmine have been troopers. They survived the rainy season, living with us in a 320 square foot cabin. They have lived through boiling water on the stove for bath water; showered with solar shower bags; used much less electricity; endured poison oak; learned to make cob; they have stripped bark from a log--hauled water and planted a garden.

They are our Grandchildren. Actually, Joni's Grandchildren. My step Grandchildren. They have been living with us for nearly five years. It isn't appropriate for me to go into why they live with us. But let us just say they have endured more negative events in their first few years of life, than many of us ever experience.

Joni has guardianship of them. This has been a very expensive proposition, as some in this family had the means to fight us obtaining guardianship. Mainly a certain ex-husband who (with inherited money and an ax to grind) believed that children should be with their parents "no matter what".

We disagreed and the Guardianship was granted.

So was it fair to move "off the grid" with them while we build this home? We thought long and hard before moving here. Before starting this project.


Today Kylie received the award for being one of two "best students" in the elementary school. This included a handsome letter from the local State Senator congratulating her for her efforts. A big deal in this school. "Your family should be proud..." the letter said. We are.

Jazmine was one of three children to get the "Perfect Attendance" trophy. Only three kids in the whole elementary school made it there every day. Now if living in cramped conditions was hard on a kid, they would get sick right? Fresh air, fresh food and exercise has kept both Jazmine and Kylie healthy. Jazmine had it the worst during her first two years. She has really made strides this year. Doing great!

So to answer the question: Does living off the grid hurt children? For us, I'd say it has been nothing but a positive experience. Doing well in school is a great barometer as to whether children are thriving or not. Soon we shall see whether the Court agrees.

I mean for this blog--this "off the grid journal" to read as a story. This is part of the story.


greentangle said...

Congrats to the kids. As for living off the grid, some (me) would say you're doing a better job of preparing them for the future than what the average kid is getting these days but you probably can't expect a court to have that attitude. Good luck.

As far as the personal aspect, I felt a little of that recently when someone sent a link to a post of mine to be included in a list. It was a good post but also very personal, and the thought of a lot of new people reading it made me realize that while I'm putting stuff out there where anyone can read it, when I'm writing I'm really thinking of the small group of people I know will read it (well, really I just write for myself and if anyone wants to read it, fine). It was a bit unnerving momentarily but I didn't really have a problem with it and as it turned out I think only one person came over from the link anyway.

Allan Stellar said...

Thanks Green..

Honestly, I think we worry too much about self disclosure. Yes, I need to mind to my family's privacy. But really, only a handful of folks read this. Most have written me and introduced themselves to me. Very nice people.

I'd rather take the attitude that a stranger is a friend I haven't met yet. We have way too much suspicion and fear in this culture.

There is a difference between caution and paranoia. Use the former and dismiss the latter.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Allan,
This is truly inspirational stuff, and I thank you for sharing. Maybe the other side of caution is others get to also Learn and be Inspired.
My wife and I took in her half sister a few years back as she had no place else to go. She was with us from age 14 to 17, looking at my own son now, or myself, certainly not easy years, and with her it ended badly with many hurt feelings all around. She is now 20 and has come back to reconnect with us and it is like the roots of a tree thought dead come to life. It did mean something after all.
Kia kaha, and cheers for the reminder and your presence in this world.

Allan Stellar said...

Hey Robb...

Thanks. No need for a hug though. :)