This weekend, my gang and I were invited to a Vermont potluck in the Northeast Kingdom where we had the great pleasure to spend time in the sunshine sprawled on the grass chatting with Peter Gray and Ben Hewitt about natural learning and natural living. We talked about Dr. Gray's new book, Free To Learn, and the impact it has in revealing children's innate curiosity and drive to learn when they are given the unrestrained time and space to do so. We talked about Ben's new book, Saved, that causes readers to think critically about consumption habits, the role of work and money, and urges a new paradigm that focuses on the importance of investments in community, family and friends, soil and food over conventional investment choices.
To be around such thinkers, to have these important conversations about natural learning and natural living, to grapple with the decisions, implicit or explicit, we all make regarding these issues, was delightful and enlightening. It also has my husband and me engaged in increasingly serious discussion about how to make sure our actions and choices are better aligned with our natural living and learning values. It has us questioning work, consumption, our use of time and resources, our beliefs, our needs, our plans. And it keeps bringing us back-to-the-land, as cliche as it is.
Still, we vacillate between city and country, appreciating the gifts of both, considering the benefits and sacrifices of each, wondering which place allows for the truest reflection of our natural living and learning values. Which place allows for the most authenticity, the least consumption, the most community, the least waste? Is it both or neither? Is it one or the other?
As we continue with our constant questioning, aspiring to build a life where natural learning and natural living are consistently and seamlessly integrated, it was a treasure to pause this weekend with some of the great writers on these important topics to gain clarity, insight, and inspiration.