The Enterprising Family: “Can We Make It?”

If I could sum up in a word what it means to me for a family to be an “enterprise”, it would “production”.  As technology and convenience has flooded in to America, we have become more dependent on others, and increasingly less self-sufficient.

(The topics in this series seem to all be very overlapped, primarily because they almost all have to do with production.)

But it’s a vicious cycle; the more dependent we become, the more freedoms we lose–even in just our everyday habits.

I have been trying to challenge myself to ask the question, “What can we produce instead of buy?”

Saving money is a factor yes, but that’s just a small part. I think if families became enterprising again, it would change the face of the economy, our attitude toward a lot in life, and our relationships.  Maybe that’s a great big assumption, but it just seems logical to me. ( An enterprising family also usually turns out several entrepreneurs, creating a big advantage in the lives of your children.)

And not only that…there is something deeply character-building about hands that work and produce things that benefit others. Especially when families work together.  Imagine a youth culture who was busy producing goods and/or services for their families and community–Imagine!

“…and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you…”  1 Thessalonians 4:11

So, where does a family start?  One thing at a time.  Look around your house.  What things are you buying that you could either find a homemade substitute or do without?

The obvious things that come to mind first are food production.  But not everyone lives in a place or has the capacity to grow and produce their own food.  But if you do…make EVERY effort to do it!  There is something marvelous about showing your children that the seed they planted in the ground three months ago is on our table tonight.  It is a miracle for which only God can take the credit.

What about these things:

  • soap
  • cleaning supplies
  • furniture
  • clothing
  • gifts
  • medicine (within reason–we’ll talk more)
  • greeting cards

Can you recycle it?  Can you alter it?  Can you embellish it?  The two aprons were made using an unused sheet.  You can see the transformations here and here.  Homemade doughnuts here.  (Lots of other good stuff at these sites of my friends that I’ve pointed you to so many times before!)

I mentioned that my daughter is experimenting with an all-natural, herbal bug spray.  She ordered her bottles and is growing the lemon balm and is waiting for the other oil she ordered from Ebay to come in.

If you’re interested in a few more homemade gift ideas, you may want to check out my ebook called “Easy Homemade Gifts“.

Enterprising is really about seeing things differently; tapping into your own resources and finding different ways of doing things.

Seeing the family as a place of production has so many benefits!  You can even set up a business selling whatever it is you like to make (even letting your children sell cookies or bread to the neighbors) and learn about how you can save money using tax exemptions from that business.  You will be surprised how many ways you can save money that way!

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14 Responses to “The Enterprising Family: “Can We Make It?””

  1. Our 8 year old has been wanting to own her own business for a couple years now. My husband and I are self employed and she already sees the benefits and joy of creating things for others. She started out selling decorated gift bags to friends at church and at a local gift shop. She used ribbon remnants and spare buttons from my mom. This summer, she is looking for a new challenge. We might have to get your book to give her some ideas.

  2. Hi, Kelly – I linked to your post today from The Cottage Child because I so appreciate your inspiration in this area, and I had already started a post on a related topic.

    Thank you!

  3. Narelle says:

    I think (and keep thinking!) that I am needing to get and re-learn how to use, a sewing machine. I want an apron and some draft stoppers… I was thinking ‘who do I know that could make them?’… well, it would be better on many fronts for me to make them myself!

  4. Ann says:

    I’ve just been reading through your enterprising family posts and must thank you for the inspiration. I have a gifted 14 year old daughter and I know soon the ‘Is she planning to go to university?’ will be coming my way. I would love to see her start a home based business.
    I must alert you to some inappropriate ads on the side bar that you may not be aware of, as they appear to be country specific. One is for an Australian abortion clinic and there are several for divorce lawyers, also a confronting pictorial ad for a free online role playing game which has a picture of a ‘Queen’ wearing a very suggestive gown. I’m sure you would not be impressed! Hope you can remove them!

  5. Word Warrior says:

    Ann,

    Oh dear, thanks for the notice. Google “crawls” the key words on my site and puts up “content related” ads, which, as you may guess, aren’t always desirable. When I look now though, there is only one for an adoption agency and a “celebrate life” one.

    Does anyone see anything else? I can remove them and re-add them later when the post content changes if they are still showing.

    Any heads up is greatly appreciated!

  6. Lori says:

    Hey, Narelle, I have an extra Janome I’ll sell you for a good price (course, shipping is beastly)! Go for it, though, I’m a terrible seamstress, yet have managed to make sheets for my moses basket, my smaller than average crib mattress (both from unused full-sheets), diaper doublers (I cloth diaper – and used old flannel PJs and bath towels), baby caps, and plan to branch out very soon. It’s very satisfying!

  7. KB says:

    I like for my girls to wear long bloomers (pantaloons) under their skirts and dresses (they are very active little people!!!)
    When one of my husband’s long-sleeved dress shirts gets worn out, I cut off the sleeves at the shoulder (follow the seams), stitch them together so that they form legs, then add elastic at the top for a waistband. The shirt cuffs make automatic hems at the bottom so I’m saved the trouble of hemming them. My “repurposed shirt” becomes little girl pantaloons in under an hour!

  8. Lucy T says:

    K.B.,
    That is a great idea what size do you think they would fit.My 5 year old loves to slide at the park and we have to remind her all the time to keep her dress under her and her legs crossed.She also loves to climb.

  9. KB says:

    Lucy T
    My oldest girl just turned six. She’s a bit on the willowy side (“a stick” as her brother rather ungraciously might say-we’re working on him :-))
    Anyhow, Dad is rather on the large size (over six feet tall), so his shirts are plenty big enough to make size six or seven pantaloons.
    Also, if the legs need to be longer, you can always add a pretty band of contrasting fabric or wide flat lace at the bottom.
    Hope that helps.

    Kelley,
    Another thing I forgot to mention, but a lot of people have probably already figured this out. We eat a lot of oatmeal around here. When we’re finished with the box (or any kind of box) we cut the sides up for the little ones to draw and paint on.
    Another neat art supply are the plastic trays in which fresh meat is sold (I disinfect them with a good soak in bleach solution). When it’s time for the little Rembrandts to paint, put the paper in the bottom of the tray to minimize the mess.

  10. KB says:

    Lucy T
    My oldest girl just turned six. She’s a bit on the willowy side (“a stick” as her brother rather ungraciously might say-we’re working on him :-))
    Anyhow, Dad is rather on the large size (over six feet tall), so his shirts are plenty big enough to make size six or seven pantaloons.
    Also, if the legs need to be longer, you can always add a pretty band of contrasting fabric or wide flat lace at the bottom.
    Hope that helps.

    Kelley,
    Another thing I forgot to mention, but a lot of people have probably already figured this out. We eat a lot of oatmeal around here. When we’re finished with the box (or any kind of box) we cut the sides up for the little ones to draw and paint on.
    Another neat art supply are the plastic trays in which fresh meat is sold (I disinfect them with a good soak in bleach solution). When it’s time for the little Rembrandts to paint, put the paper in the bottom of the tray to minimize the mess.

  11. Lucy T says:

    K.B.,
    Thank you,
    I also cut up the cerial or oatmeal boxes but I had never thought of useing the meat trays.I have always wondered what you could do with them but raw meat icks me out.

  12. Kim M. says:

    Great ideas. I still have yet to try skin care products but it’s something I would love to do
    eventually.
    Bria’s idea is brilliant! We go fishing a lot and I hate to spray my boys with all the “zeet” in the Off and Repel products.

    I’m having trouble commenting again but I have been reading 😉 Love the picture of your husband and girls with the cow in the above post.

  13. Jane Vos says:

    Hi – I linked to your site. I would be honored if you would link back! Enjoy your site and like to learn new tips. Thanks.

  14. […] Make all your gifts. […]

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