‘Do you want to know the secret to the land?’
My children all turned to me, attention fixated, hearts tuned, minds blank and canvases ready to be painted with vivid imagery.
Everything I teach them is told in a story, give physical, spiritual and emotive meaning. The mental stuff, that’s easy, just give them a story.
I asked the question because they, on their own raised the point. One of them said, ‘Dad, other kids don’t do this, they’re too busy watching T.V. and playing video games’. Another added, ‘Yeah dad, why do they waste time?’ The third added, ‘Yeah, isn’t that unhealthy?’
I smiled and thought it was time.
So eagerly awaiting like puppies panting for a biscuit of knowledge, I said, ‘The secret of the land is that God fashioned Adam from it. Adam is every human beings father, our oldest worldly ancestor after our spiritual father Muhammad. Adam was the first earthly creation of human form, and God chose the earth for a reason. The wisdom is beyond us but we can understand a few reasons. We are meant to remember our origin, and that is the earth. We are meant to remember what we are made from, where we come from. We are meant to love it like we live our fathers, and Adam is our oldest father, the source of us all. We’re meant to remember to stay close to the earth no matter what. This is commonly referred to as being humble, that’s why we call people down to earth.’
One of them interrupted, ‘Yeah and we return to earth’.
Smiling I replied, ‘Exactly, so if you come from it, and your father comes from it and to it you return, like your whole family gathers, shouldn’t you take care of it, of your family, of where you come from and where you’re going?’
They all nodded with smiles on their faces and new vigour.
I continued, ‘This is why we must respect native people of the land, who know and love the land, they know spiritually, better than words on end can express what the land means and treat it well, and have done so for thousands of years.’
This was an old vege patch in our yard that has served us well.
It was time to serve it back, so we dug deep, about half a meter down until it was a little clay like and ploughed, fed and mixed in new soil, natural fertiliser, built up a little higher barrier lattice and lifted with new soil, ready for a whole range of vegetables, herbs and fruit.
The arm bracelets are my homage to the indigenous people of this land, acknowledging I am a guest, grateful to you, for not ever giving up hope on your tradition, and culture.
Think about what it is you’re teaching your children when you engage with them, when you throw them to the wolves of technology, depriving them of knowing who they are, where they come from and where they are heading.
I often tell people, when they ask me why it is I do what I do with my children, and I often remind my children that the reason for all this, is that one day people will forget how to be human, and they will still be around, keeping the way alive, keeping empathy, love, care and meaningful existence a living thing. Able to teach it back, remind people.