Sharon and Aurelia on their way to Columbia, MO in solidarity with the Women’s March in Washington, DC. Photo by Lucas.

Good morning, dear readers!

Lucas here, and I’m going to be a bit selfish today, and share some personal news and perspective with you.

Technically, this IS news about Dancing Rabbit, but instead of focusing on village happenings as a whole, I find my thoughts can’t wander too far or wide these days, as my partner and I are GOING TO HAVE A BABY!!!

In July. Not, like… right now. Don’t freak out yet. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

My partner and I have been together for over two years, and I honestly could not imagine a better co-pilot on this ride. She’s incredibly smart, compassionate, confident, and beautiful; I have no doubt that, together, we will raise an intelligent, caring, strong child who will grow into a servant and leader of their peers (the best leaders seek to serve, not rule).

With Brooke’s amazing brain and heart, and my military/law enforcement background, it is my hope that our child will have the tools they need to break away from the crowd and popular opinion when it suits them, and to function as a critically-thinking, socially-engaged individual. We will teach them to think for themselves, to question what others might haphazardly accept as fact, and to always consider the impact of their actions. If humanity (including all you parents out there) is at all serious about creating peace, we will need a generation that abhors war, discrimination, and poverty; the most oppressive and terrible things we can unleash upon ourselves and others.

Whether it’s a boy or a girl (or however they choose to identify later in life), we will teach them the basic necessities that our education system does not (in addition to going to school, of course). They’ll know how to grow organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs; how to navigate without GPS; how to source and filter water; how to craft basic shelters; and how to limit their personal impact on both the environment and other people and cultures by recycling, repairing, and reusing as much as possible. They’ll know how to defend themselves as well, without the gaudy pride and trendiness that has become synonymous with guns and violence nowadays.

If it’s a girl, she will grow up knowing that she is an equal at home, school, and the workplace, and to never, EVER allow herself to be discounted or marginalized and to raise all kinds of heck if she sees it. Instead of finding a “husband” (in the sense I’ve typically seen the term used) who rules the household, we’ll encourage her to find a partner who accepts her words and opinions as equal in every measure. Brooke has a Master’s degree, and I often defer to her wisdom and guidance. We make decisions together, and, when we disagree, I never propose to win by default, or via sheer stubborn confidence. When she questions my opinion, I listen; when I question hers, she listens. Having a dingle-dangle makes me a subject matter expert in standing while peeing, and not much else. Pretending otherwise is a bit ridiculous.

If it’s a boy, we’ll also teach him that all people are equal, regardless of their race, religion, or gender, and that using any of those qualities to judge or ignore another person is the very fabric from which hatred, poverty, and war is sewn. We’ll teach him to place others before himself, and, when faced with a decision of either personal gain or selfless service, to choose the latter.

He’ll also be encouraged to find a true partner, not a “wife” (again, in the sense I’ve typically seen the term used. I’m not against marriage, just imbalance ingrained in the institution) looking to live submissively. He’ll be taught that fighting is only ok in the direct defense of others or himself (in that order), and to recognize when his emotions (or other people) may be pushing him from a defensive to an offensive or preemptive attitude; that insults and violence come from people who are very angry, afraid, or sad, and to not follow suit, as it leads to an evermore dark and isolated place.

To truly and completely accomplish all of this would be wonderful, but, knowing the world we live in, and my own lack of experience as a father, it’s likely not everything we try to teach them will initially stick. But, as they grow up to become adults themselves, it’s my hope that they’ll eventually look back and draw upon the examples and teachings of their youth. I figure if we can just give them good soil to grow in, we can trust them to do the rest.

Heck, in reality, none of us have much of a choice other than that, as this generation will eventually pass away, and they’ll be left holding our bag, full of its shortcomings, achievements, and long-term consequences. They’ll need to know how to handle all of it with compassion, humility, intelligence, and a strong sense of (global) community.

Our nation’s (and the world’s) direction is determined by what we teach our children. If we teach them to be angry, greedy, fearful, and/or violent, or we choose to continue glorifying those qualities, that is the direction we knowingly send our country and children toward. If we teach them to be compassionate, intelligent, generous, and selfless, we will be a stronger, much more sustainable civilization.

Lastly, I feel incredibly fortunate to have found such a wonderful partner and community; from them I have learned how to be more patient and attentive to others, more clear and compassionate in my communication, and more hopeful for the future. Just as I began writing this article I had the opportunity to step out of the Milkweed Mercantile to congratulate and encourage some neighbors who were on their way to creating that better future.

In short, if I am indeed a good father, it is, in part, a direct result of what I am learning here from the members and residents of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. Thank you.

And to our wonderful readers, thanks for indulging my soapbox speech. Have a wonderful day, and we’ll see you next week!!

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community and educational nonprofit outside Rutledge, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. Public tours are offered April – October on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month. In the meantime you can find out more about us by checking out our website, www.dancingrabbit.org, calling the office at (660) 883-5511, or emailing us at dancingrabbit@ic.org.