Mary Berry opened the Berry Center's 2013 conference on Resettling America with some stories of growing up in the household of an already famous writer, one who embraced decidedly non-middle-school-cool ideas like composting toilets. It brought to mind memories of preachers' kids I knew growing up. Their struggle to make their own way, taste the world of young adult choices while not embarrassing or infuriating their parents, made me pity them. They had an even harder time than the rest of us, those with merely the usual strict, high expectation/no nonsense parents.

Mary Berry, Executive Director of The Berry Center, opens the 2013 conference on Resettling of America.

Having a parent known for deep insights into the ways contemporary culture and economy are taking us all over a cliff? That must have complicated any decision to appease a snack attack at a drive-through, or any trip to any mall.

Mary described her concerns about distressing her parents, their forgiveness, given before it was even asked, and her own homecoming to the community where she grew up. Wes Jackson of the Land Institute uses that beautiful word, homecoming, in his calls for a return to sensible, sustainable lives. Mary Berry's homecoming shines a light down that path for us. Her move into leadership of the Berry Center promises more goodness like the recent conference, which, as I have already noted, changed my life a little bit, and a little bit is good.

Rona RobertsComment