Amateur interest, local challenges, new purpose

Oct 4, 2023 | Insights

An inspirational story of how a mum, with time on her hands as her children flew the nest, turned an amateur interest into a community project.
From Corstophine near Dunedin in New Zealand, Dr Helen Beattie, an up-and-coming empty nester, now grows vegetables for her local community as well as her household.

She has always grown vegetables, although she would not call herself an “expert gardener”. With more time on her hands, as her children leave home, she has built planters and turned her backyard into a vegetable-growing plot to help feed her local community, according to Laine Priestley at the Otago Daily Times.

Her project has met with success as neighbours come to collect vegetables, and she intends to develop her project and set up a stall in front of her house.

Amateur interest becomes a community resource.

Dr Beattie’s story can inspire anyone whose children have left home. She has taken her amateur interest in gardening and used it as the basis of a project to utilise the time she now has available.

Then, she found a new purpose by focusing on helping her local community. Looking outwards is important because genuine meaning and purpose derive from being of service to others.

Dr Beattie also found the motivation from childhood memories and current challenges. Undoubtedly, finding inspiration can be difficult. It is often a stumbling block for parents who have spent twenty-plus years raising their children and now need help to raise the enthusiasm to do something new.

Inspiration from local challenges and childhood experiences

Dr Beattie, however, took an existing amateur interest (even though she admits to not being an expert) and developed it so she could help her local community in a time of rising living costs and declining food security. She was undoubtedly influenced and motivated by her memories of her childhood home in New Zealand’s high country, where everybody had flourishing vegetable gardens in their backyards and self-sufficiency and resilience were paramount.

The story should inspire any parent whose children have left home to consider three questions:

  • What skills or hobbies can I develop to give me a new purpose?
  • What external challenges need my help, skills and talents?
  • What childhood memories and beliefs can help to inspire me into a new way of life?

Dr Beattie’s is an inspirational story of how a mum, with time on her hands as her children flew the nest, turned an amateur interest into a community project.

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Photo attribution

Photo by Kevin Li on Unsplash

Other attributions and references

Empty-nester uses gardening skills to feed the community | Otego Daily Times Online, 29 Sep | Laine Priestley | https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/empty-nester-uses-gardening-skills-feed-community

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