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Life's Simple Pleasures

By Shelley Noonan
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #82, 2008.

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Shelley Noonan


"Life's simple pleasures are the best! All the little things that make you smile and glow... all the things you know."

All right, you caught me... this is the Van Camp Pork and Bean jingle from the 70's. This song is memorable, but it is also so applicable to the topic of hobbies. Summer is the ideal time to think about starting a new pastime.

Perhaps, like me, you have spent hours contemplating various pastimes. I have made a hobby of considering the hobbies I could enjoy. I am infatuated with the "idea" of having a hobby in much the same way I am infatuated with the "idea" of becoming a runner. There is something very romantic about the "idea" but it can also be burdensome.

In the past I had the mistaken impression that a hobby had to be a lifetime quest. But recently, I've developed a more liberating view of this pursuit of simple pleasures. Hobbies can be for a season, for a reason, or for sheer joy!

For A Season

Summertime on a farm offers ample opportunity for hard work, but also offers long hot afternoons to lazily wile away in the pursuit of a passion or whim. I personally preferred to stay in the quiet cool of our 75-year-old farm house in the comfort of air conditioning. For a time I immersed myself in fashioning tiny quilted wall hangings and can clearly remember the undeniable feeling of contentment and wholeness this pastime awarded me. I reveled in the splendor of the color palette and textures of the material I crafted as each simultaneously complimented and played off each other. This was the first time I understood the concept of the joy being in the journey rather than the destination.

For A Reason

My three children have taught me a great deal about hobbies. Some pastimes were for a season but others were driven by a reason. Out of the latter came perfected skills and even home businesses.

My daughter's first hobby-turned-business was "scherenschnitte" (the German folk art of snipping paper into various shapes and forms to create delicate pictures). Laura's Lace was birthed out of her zeal for this folk art. She sold her creations at various homeschool events across the state.

The Milky Way Dairy was another brain child of Laura's, birthed from her 4H project of raising goats. The business plan consisted of breeding and milking goats and ultimately selling the milk.

One of Jacob and Josh's favorite pursuits was raising rare breed chickens. This became a hobby that spanned many years. An egg-selling business was a side benefit.

Thankfully, for me, these simple pleasures were transient! But each hobby developed skills my children carried into adulthood.

For Sheer Joy

Many pursue a passion just because it gives them pleasure. The most unusual hobby we experienced in our home was Jake's preoccupation with all things Star Trek. This sci-fi series surprisingly offered many opportunities to research and discuss various political philosophies as well as scientific possibilities. Another byproduct of this enthusiasm was The Star Trek Club. This club met over a span of four years. The members conducted monthly meetings, collected dues, organized events, and even wrote and preformed plays for the parents. One young man was particularly skilled at woodworking. He developed a kit that closely resembled a "phaser" rifle. Jacob and he wrote assembly directions and began selling the kit on Ebay. And to think, all of these learning opportunities were motivated by sheer joy!

Life's simple pleasures are the best and the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are an ideal time to develop hobbies that might turn into a lifetime skill. Hobbies don't have to be forever; they can be for a season, a reason or the sheer joy of it!


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