Saturday, August 18, 2007

Teach Your Children Well

I’m a bit melancholy and a bit happy today. My oldest is firmly ensconced in college and my youngest recently became a teenager. They are growing up. They are starting the process of moving on.

Looking back on their lives (and yes, I am still looking forward also) I am happy with what my wife and I have taught our kids. They are smart as whips – the oldest was valedictorian and is in the Honors program at college and the others are doing just as well so far. That is due mostly to their mother who home-schooled them for much of their early years and helped their young brains develop, set the stage for hard work and good study habits and so on. It is of course also due to their own internal drive and desire to excel. They all read like it’s going out of style. We have never owned a play station or anything like that. So they can amuse themselves when “there’s nothing to do”.

They are nice kids – they play well with others. They are fit – not super athletes, but they do play sports and keep in shape. They can swim. Most importantly, they know their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

This is primarily a preparedness blog so I am going to dwell a little on what my kids have been taught – what they know – in the realm of preparedness. The whole reason of course, is not to brag about my kids - not at all. The reason is that I think these are things every kid should know or be taught.

What kids should know

They are comfortable in the woods. They know how to dress, what to pack, how to hike, and how to camp. While camping they can prepare food, take care of hygiene needs, stay safe and have a good time. They like camping.

They have wilderness survival skills. I bet that’s not a huge surprise. They can (and when I say “they can” I mean they have demonstrated it, on their own, several times) build shelters from available materials; build fires with flint rods and steel scrapers – matches and lighters are ‘easy’; signal for help; practice “lost-proofing”; purify water and identify and prepare wild plants. They have also taught other children these skills.

They can prepare all manner of food. They can all cook stuff like rice and chicken, hamburgers and what not – at home or over a fire. Two of them like cooking and baking from scratch. Sometimes they start with whole wheat and grind it and go from there. They all know how to clean and butcher small critters like squirrels and rabbits and chickens. They don’t really like doing it though.

They know how to safely use knives and saws. They know how to sharpen them. They know first aid. They are all certified in CPR.

The kids were gun proofed at an early age. I got the idea from growing up in a house full of loaded guns but I got the term from Massad Ayoob (and I recommend his book “Gun proof your children” for those of you with kids). See, you can never really child-proof your guns. If you do then they are pretty much worthless in an emergency because YOU can’t get at them – read Mas’ book. They could recite Eddie Eagle’s rules of gun safety by about age four (Google it) and they all learned to shoot by about age 6 or 7 depending on the kid. They all shoot well. Far better than most adults we encounter on the shooting ranges we visit.

They all know martial arts of various forms and to varying degrees. My oldest has even gone through LINES. They all got anti-kidnap training by about age 8. They have known how to dial 911 and communicate with the operator since very young ages also. We used to practice it on unplugged telephones and one parent would play the role of the operator.

They have had BoBs since they could walk and now pack and update their own. They understand the basics of land navigation.

They know the basics of caring for dogs, hamsters, fish, goats, horses, and chickens. They know how to care for other humans (baby-sit) too.

The drivers know how to check and add oil, change flats and so on. The oldest has pulled, rebuilt or replaced several engines and transmissions. That's more than most folks need to know but the point is that all drivers should know basic auto mechanics.

I’m proud of my what my kids know and who they are – but as I wrote earlier, I’m not telling you this to brag. I’m telling you this for two reasons: First, these are basic things that most adults should know. If you don’t, it’s time to learn. Second, these are basic skills that I think most kids should know. If you have kids, I think you should teach your kids these things.

I don’t look forward to when my kids are finally on their own. Well, in some ways I do – but in some ways I don’t. But I sleep better at night knowing that if, God forbid, they were suddenly on their own in some type of emergency situation they would do okay. They would pull through. I see it as one of my jobs as a parent to ensure that.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. - Prov 22:6

If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at

Prepared Americans for a Strong America


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