Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Self Sufficiency

by Pat Hennin
A recent Sunday NPR financing advice program mocked American attempts at self sufficiency during these financially demanding times. The two examples were the danger of a hunting family's possibly inadequately dressing the game meat, thereby endangering the lives of their family; and the danger of a woman's saving money cutting her own hair, resulting in possibly embarrassing bald spots. The program's conclusion was that Americans should always turn to professional help!

The history of our culture is actually quite different; by trial and error, by common sense, by carefully chosen education, our spirit has always been able, through the freedom afforded by our government model, to succeed at “doing-it” ourselves. We are the most advanced country in the world only because we have the freedom and spirit to “do it ourselves.” All our inventions, technologies and ideas came as a result of being free to do it ourselves.

Shelter Institute graduates who built their homes, either with their own hands or managed the construction are sitting safe today. They are not in debt, they are warm and functioning, they are capable and versatile contributors to their communities; always able to deal with daily demands. Inventing solutions to life’s daily challenges, learning and living the physics, math and aesthetics of building a home is the best spring board for life. Every day past students call to remind us of how the two or three weeks here changed their lives, created a mental strength from which they launched into a wide variety of careers. “Because of Shelter, no matter what happens, I’ll never want for a home or a job, and what fun we had!”

Join us this year, our thirty-fifth year of teaching and build the true, not commercial, green. Learn to design with nature, to plumb, wire, engineer, frame, insulate, erect, find water, site manage, move heavy objects, operate an excavator, crane, bulldozer or backhoe to preserve the integrity of your property, to finance, to broaden and transfer knowledge to new dimensions.

And, enjoy life with us on our campus and the Hennin Farm. We canoe, kayak, hay ride. We learn to cook lobster, we campfire long into the night, we snowshoe and cross country ski, we sail, make ice cream with a one lung John Deere; we learn to be competent and we make life-long friends.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is what we really need to focus on in these hard times. For too long we have been wasting money and throwing things out when they can be mended. We need to think how only 50 years ago, people "made do" and did jobs around the house themselves or within the community.