Ecovillage Living: Intangible Benefits for Kids

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By Deb Mohr

I love that my two kids enjoy lots of free play, climb trees, help with the weeding and the community chooks and have access to so much more land than we could afford to maintain ourselves. This was definitely one of the draw cards for us, when choosing to move our family to Narara Ecovillage. But some of the greatest benefits are intangible.

I recently read Steve Biddulph’s book, Raising Girls in the Twenty-first Century,and this piece rang so true for me:

“In the last 50 years, girls have often been reduced to just the nuclear family and their school classmates, for their social options. This is quite unnatural.

Girls also need friends who are young women, half a generation older, savvy and yet youthful enough to relate to them with understanding. They need older women in their sixties and seventies, grandmother figures who offer a grounded, wise and comforting presence. They also need smaller or younger children who look up to them, get cuddles from them and give them a taste of the joys of nurturing and being depended on, to relieve them of self-obsession and too much inwardness.

They need male friends who have no partnering or sexual intent towards them, so they can expand out of those anxieties and see themselves as more completely human.”

My daughter, moving into her tween years, loves hanging out with and helping some of the older generation at the village. She has uncomplicated friendships with some of the boys in the village. Almost like brothers, but not. And enjoys working with some of the kids who are a couple of years older than her, giving her the inspiration and encouragement to step outside her comfort zone.

I feel so much joy and thankfulness that she has this support network around her as she embarks on this challenging chapter of her life.