Changing the Statistics

By : Emma Johnston

I heard on the radio recently that 1 in 5 adults in Canada have never made an entire meal from scratch! Think of it, 20% of all adults 18 and older have never made a roast dinner or made their own cabbage rolls or baked their own bread. Oh, people have made themselves a sandwich or thrown in a frozen lasagna, but 1 in 5 have never done the start to finish process of cooking an entire meal from scratch.
The stats continued. It turns out that 50% of Canadians have never seen a cow in real life! They’ve seen cows on posters and on TV and in children’s books, but not in person. They’ve never seen a cow!? The survey also discovered that 43% of people have never been camping, never slept in a tent or trailer and never cooked their dinner over a fire. Many people, it turns out, haven’t even been on a hike! They have never packed their backpacks with water bottles, sunscreen or bug spray and taken off for the day to walk through nature, explore and take pictures. These stats surprised me!
The other night I received a photo to my phone. The picture was of my oldest son driving a tractor, the sun was setting behind him and he was grinning from ear to ear. I was so thankful for the beautiful picture but even more so, for the opportunity for my son to drive farm equipment. We don’t live on a farm. We embrace many of the rural living perks, campfires most weekends, leaf jumping in the fall, swimming in the summer and gardening each spring. We’ve cross-country skied, we skate, we have a big yard to build snow forts in and I’m happy about that, but I can’t offer our kids the experiences of farm life unless our farming friends step in. I was so pleased my son got to drive a tractor, that he got to feel the freedom and joy of getting behind the wheel and taking off in a field. What a fabulous opportunity!
But my son’s experience this weekend combined with the shocking statistics I learned on the radio, forced me to acknowledge that it really does take a village to raise a child.
We’ve each been exposed to different things, new experiences and various upbringings. We all live on different properties, have different gifts, abilities and passions and it’s only when we share these, when we offer what we have, that we expand our collective knowledge, personal ability and acceptance of others.
There’s a good chance that the reason many Canadians have never seen a cow, is because they don’t know any farmers. There’s a good chance that those who have never been camping have never been because they don’t own a trailer or a tent, maybe they don’t even know how to begin the process of cooking over a fire.
I think one solution to these surprising statistics is for each of us to offer what we do know to others. Are we farmers? Let’s teach and share our farming experience. Are we crafters, bakers, wood workers, singers, hunters, meditators, writers, mechanics, plumbers or accountants? Let’s share what we know, offer our resources, offer our experiences or our toys or expertise. When we give these opportunities to others, we share part of who we are, part of what we find important and the opportunity to connect with others grows.
Without his friend, my oldest may never have driven a tractor. But now he can say he has, he’s seen farm life up close, he can understand just a little better what that looks like and how it impacts the world he lives in.
I hope my kids are never part of the above statistics. I know they’ve gone camping; I know they’ve seen a cow and I know they’ve helped my husband and I cook our meals, but there’s so much we can’t offer them. So much more to learn that I cannot give. So, I rely on others to share and teach and offer new opportunities to me and my family. I hope I do my part in sharing what I know, sharing my expertise, my land, experience and gifts with others. Let’s all work to lower the stats on all the things we CAN’T do and start building each other up, making the list of things we CAN do so much longer.

Changing the Statistics

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