: careful study that is done to find and report new knowledge about something
: the activity of getting information about a subject
"creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications."
I use research to confirm facts and support my own theories. My current obsession is the discovery of missing links in the documentation of what people in America have eaten over the last few hundred years. Browsing antique malls you'd think we have survived on a diet of sugar and white flour in the early 1900's, replaced by microwaved meals and followed by every fad diet we could think of (while really eating more sugar combined with corn in the form of processed foods, fast food and eating out). Somehow I think that we've convinced ourselves that those foods that we eat when we're rushing around from here to there don't count and only the foods eaten at home do. Most people say that they only eat a few meals at home a week. *I'll be writing more about this soon.
Back to my point. I love research. If you come and skim my bookshelf you will see books from every stage of my interests-obsessions-over the last couple decades of my life. Gardening, landscaping, faith, parenting, birth, breastfeeding, homeschooling, food, natural remedies. Once something interests me I can't help myself. I use the internet, books, classes, interviews, videos and anything else I can soak up to learn as much as possible about the topic at hand.
You see, I have these theories. I guess you could call them hunches. I believe that we as humans were designed to live optimally in certain ways. We were created to be born in natural, peaceful environments where our mothers scoop us up, hold us, love us and feed us. But we mess with that. We're designed to grow up in homes where we are free to learn, explore, make mistakes, see forgiveness, practice life. But we often mess with that too. We're meant to start with breastmilk, transition to what's in season and continue eating the foods that can be grown around us in the soil we sink our feet into and our kids roll around in (and sometimes eat). But we mess with that a lot. As moms, we're meant to come out on the other side of birth healthier than we were before. And all of us were designed (when our bodies are being taken care of properly) to walk around with clear minds, energized bodies and motivation to do the work we're intended to do.
We're just really far away from living this way and let me tell you why I know. Not from books, the internet or course work. I know because I've looked too many moms in the eye after a birth experience that has left them broken. The heaviness they hold inside keeping them from scooping their babies up with the love and compassion they were designed for. They are wondering where that love and compassion went when they needed it. They can't move on because they are so focused in. I've been face to face with too many moms who depend on nutrition program dollars to feed their kids. Disappointed in how far those dollars can go and the food options they sometimes have to make. Broken, embarrassed and wondering where things went wrong. I've watched people so busy that even though they know what they can do to set things right-life feels too out of control.
I've been all of these people. And on most days I still am.
There are times when I consider pursuing a degree or doing more formal research to make sure my theories are real. That I haven't gotten things mixed up and out of place. But I've been face to face with too many people who are hurting. Looked into their eyes to learn all that I need to know. The only research I really need is the reality that surrounds me. All that I need to know is that people are hurting. People are important. Each and every one of us. So I'll press forward, keep meeting people face to face, looking them in the eye and continue to work towards better food, birth and community for those who are seeking it. Instead of trying to prove that I'm right I'll spend more of my time doing the other things we were intended to do. Care about one another. Feed the hungry. Love one another. Forgive. Pick up my own brokeness and turn it into something beautiful.