Work and our character are very closely connected. Considering that we will spend a great part of our life working it is important then that we work well. I have see that it is often on the job site where both men and women can develop those habits that destroy family life. Whether it be the affair with a co-worker, an addiction to media or pornography, etc. These are all symptoms of our cultures breakdown that we see all around us. How we work will influence everything else that we do in life. As a boy my brother and I were coveted in the community for our work ethic that our father instilled in us. Now as I seek to live on the land it will be only that work ethic that will hold up my family as we seek to make a living. The kind of work we do also can offer great opportunities to grow in virtue. Often in monasteries it was the humble porter who stood at the door to welcome all guests as Christ that became holy. So this adds another dimension to work: Fidelity. To do well what we have been given to do. My last post addressed the difference between jobs and work, but I will add now that one can grow in holiness doing anything so long as they are truly seeking God's will and being faithful. Although it may be better to work on the land than to be a car salesman it does not necessarily mean that the farmer will become holier than the car salesman. While I maintain my difference between work and job I add that both are legitimate at least in our modern times. Some will never have the chance to become a farmer. Some will be forced as young Karol Wojtyla was forced to work in the factories of Poland by Fascist and Communist dictators. It was during that time that young Karol developed a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin whom he had thought before took away from our devotion to Christ. All this being said this blog is about homesteading so I return to how character can be developed on a homestead as opposed to the artificial life most live today with the bright packages and dependence on a corporate hierarchy.
I remember thinking as we moved onto our first homestead that it was finally happening. Somehow this land would provide the environment I needed to grow in holiness and help my family to do the same. Well while that thought was true it was not true in the way I sensed it initially. I didn't understand just how much work I would have to do. I have never shied from work, but I have seen first hand what happens when sloth or carelessness enter the picture. There was the time when I didn't lock up the chickens.... no more chickens or eggs. There was the week where I didn't weed the garden....10 times as much weeding. Little weeds are easily removed, but big weeds are....not! On the homestead we very often see the direct consequences of our actions in a very real way. We live them and live with them. A misprint on a piece of paper is today easily remedied, but the death of a flock of chickens is a loss of both money spend and future profit as well as time spend and another 5 months raising up chicks to laying size. A homestead is a great place to build character because you learn to live with your choices. In a world that tries to make us believe that choices don't have consequences this is the ideal place to learn otherwise. God bless all of you.