We’ve moved!

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Here we are again, and for the last time folks! But that’s not to say that we won’t be blogging. It is to say that as Christos is now 16, a qualified permaculture designer with his own piece of land, that he no longer needs my services as his personal tutor 🙂

Our dreams are coming true, even faster than before. We have the land that Christos dreamed of when he was studying Geoff Lawton’s permaculture design course, and we are all set to create our own permaculture paradise.

Needless to say that I haven’t been demoted, just that I’m just mum now..oh, and helper 🙂

Please keep following us..we are now at http://thesecretgardenmallorca.com

Look forward to seeing you there!

Thank you so much for your interest up until now. And good luck with the blogging 🙂

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My recipe

People often ask me what my ‘recipe’ is for Christos. He is so unlike their kids, they tell me. Their kids would never wash up or cook or enjoy gardening or even being in nature. My usual answer is ‘chocolate’ haha. Christos loves chocolate and if I ever needed to I could sure use it to bribe him.

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However, so far that’s been unnecessary. He does all the stuff he does, which is a lot, because he’s always been allowed to. When he was tiny and he wanted to cook, I let him. When he thought washing up was fun, I didn’t argue with that. It’s so great to have each other to wash up for, I told him. Because I’ve never told him he has to do ‘chores’ and we’ve always mucked in together and had fun at the same time, he’s never viewed cleaning, cooking, or any of his wonderful work in the garden as a chore. He enjoys it all. So the recipe is simple – if us parents enjoy our lives, every part of them, our kids are gonna follow suit 😉

How do I teach my child to love?

The difference between love and attachment is something that many people find difficult to understand. For eons we have been brainwashed into believing that love is confined to those in our family, or romantic love. Very often, these have little to do with love and much to do with attachment because they involve possession. So fear is at the root of them, because when we want to possess we experience the fear of loss. Parents often control their children in the name of love. This does not mean that they don’t love their children, it simply means that they don’t question their fears and so they let fear rule when interacting with their children. They may say things like, ‘I have to make you do your homework. otherwise you will have no future.” This is controlling because an assumption is made that the child needs the parent to do this in order to survive. This is never the case, and such behaviour is due to the parent’s own fear. In such situations, the parent also has expectations, and this is another way that fear expresses itself, as it takes us out of the moment and into an imaginary future.
Love, in reality, has nothing to do with other people. It is a state of being in which an individual is fulfilled within him or herself, without the need for others. He is able to recognise his needs and to take the steps necessary for the fulfilment of those needs. He does not need or expect others to make him happy and is aware that nobody else can do that for him. This is self love, not love of the ego that is always trying to make others love him…that is not love, but fear. Self love is having the knowledge that we are equally as worthy as all other beings, and that we have the right and the responsibility to create our own joy. In so doing we become full of love and are able to extend that out to others.  If it is not first felt for the self it cannot be there for others. And when the love is there, when a person really feels love for himself, he is able to feel this for all others, not only for those in his vicinity, but for all others. He is aware that he has no enemies, that everyone is his brother or sister, and that the illusion of enmity simply occurs because of the lack of self love. This is the truth that our children need to know, lets not befuddle them by confusing love with fear. Lets teach them to be really in touch with who they are, to know that they are divine beings, and that their highest dreams are what they must reach for because to reach for anything less means to deprive themselves, and others, of the highest joy that is love. How do we do that? Simply by loving ourselves enough to live our dreams.

Permaculture garden

It’s been a few months since my last post. Sorry if you’ve missed us! I’ve been completing my book and preparing it for publishing, whilst we’ve been traipsing around Sicily, Greece and Cyprus, helping out with olive harvests and all manner of other outdoor fun stuff.

We’re now in the UK for a short visit and Christos is making the most of his time by transforming my mum’s garden into a permaculture paradise. The plan is to aim for between 50 – 70% self sufficiency. There’s a LOT of work to do!

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At the moment, he’s making raised beds, digging up what was left of the lawn, making a  pathway, laying down straw as mulch, and making space for the 18 day compost.

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Hard work but fun, and a great chance to put all that learning into practice 🙂DSC_0029

Certificate!

Today is a momentous day as Christos has received an email informing him that he has graduated from the Geoff Lawton permaculture design course successfully. He is now qualified to work as a consultant, teacher and designer, helping to bring the land back to it’s natural abundant state.

So he is a very happy boy, and it is a major achievement especially considering that he has only just turned 15.

We are currently in Sicily, where he is building a compost bin and will be implementing the Barclay method over the next few weeks.

I can’t upload photos at the moment as we are off grid with minimal electricity and internet, but hope to back to normal soon!

I am a guide, not a teacher.

These words, by Sri Aurobindo Ashram sum up pretty much how I am guiding my son to adulthood. 
The new aim (of education) is to help the child to develop his intellectual, aesthetic, emotional, moral and spiritual being and his communal life and impulses out of his own temperament and capacities. A very different object from that of the old education, which was simply to pack so much stereotyped knowledge into his resisting brain, and impose a stereotyped rule of conduct on his struggling and dominated impulses.
The first principle of true teaching is that nothing can be taught. The teacher is not an instructor or task master, he is a helper and guide. His business is to suggest and not to impose. He does not actually train the pupil’s mind, he only shows him how to perfect his instruments of knowledge, and helps and encourages him in the process. He does not impart knowledge to him, he shows him how to acquire knowledge for himself. He does not call forth the knowledge that is within, he only shows him where it lies and how it can be habituated to rise to the surface.
The second principle is that the mind has to be consulted in its own growth. The idea of hammering the child into the shape desired by the teacher of parent is a barbarous and ignorant superstition. It is he himself who must be induced to expand according with his own nature. There can be no greater error than for the parent to arrange beforehand that his son shall develop particular qualities, capacities, ideas, virtues, or be prepared for a prearranged career. To force the nature to abandon its own dharma is to deface its perfection. It is a tyranny over the human soul, and a wound to the nation, which loses the benefit of the best that a man could have given it, and is forced instead to accept something artificial, second rate, perfunctory and common. Everyone has in him something divine, something his own, a chance of perfection and strength in however small a sphere which god offers him to take or refuse.
The task is to find it, develop it and use it.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Final Design

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Christos has finished his design and is waiting for his certificate. He feels that it’s important to receive the cert even though he does really know that it’s the knowledge that counts. He has just turned 15, and is therefore possibly the youngest permaculture designer in the world. That is an amazing achievement. Especially for a ‘home schooled’ kid 😉

He worked solidly for 3 months and has extensive knowledge about permaculture, passed to him by one of the world’s leading permaculture experts, Geoff Lawton. We’re off soon to Sicily to an off grid permaculture place so he can put his expertise into practice, and gain practical experience. He will be involved in the construction of solar showers, compost toilet and other structures, as well as the food growing side of things. Is he excited? Yes, very. He is also hoping that he will learn some of the ancient ways of cooking, olive pressing etc.