Monday, January 19, 2009

Teach Your Children

This is a post for me. Maybe it will benefit some of you as well. :)

How much should you involve your kids when doing self reliance/preparedness type activities? My opinion (of course every thing I write here is my opinion) is that they should be very involved. For example, our 72 hour emergency kits . . .

I'm not the best at following my own advice--every time I update the emergency kits I face a moral dilemma--do I do it quickly and neatly while the kids are in school/playing with a friend/etc., or do I do it when they are home and have parts of the kits strewn all over the house as I'm trying to swap out the clothes in them? I've done both (depending on my mood that day--if one more mess is going to push me into a breakdown I do it without them). But I want them to know what is in the kits, what they are for, what they are not for, etc. I want them to know where their kit is kept and how to use what's in it. Take away the mystery and you take away the curiosity. Involve them, let them ask questions, and then when the mystery backpack is under their bed, they feel no need to get it out and eat the candy in it (well, at least not quite as often).

Another example is the garden. Let (or is it make?) the kids help you plant, weed, water, pick stuff etc. Sure, you will have crooked rows with bald patches in them and almost ripe veggies picked when you were really looking forward to eating that tomato in 2 more days, but the kids will learn what a garden takes and witness the miracle of food coming from seeds. I read a story once about a guy who took his kids with him to work in his potato fields and his neighbor asked, "why do you take your kids with you? Doesn't it take twice as long with them there?" To which the man replied, "I'm not raising potatoes, I'm raising kids." I really have to remind myself of this when I have the urge to answer the question, "can I help?" with "yeah, you can help by getting out of the way." Really, some times it is twice as exhausting and takes twice as long, but find a way to let them help you.

And the satisfaction they get when they did it is fantastic to witness. My 7 year old just opened her first can with a manual can opener the other night and she was so excited about it she wanted to tell everyone in the family! Now, I could have quickly and easily run that can through the electric can opener and told her I didn't have anything for her to do, but I got creative, listened to my own advice, and found a way to let her help.

Moral of the post is it is worth it to get the kids involved, it really is. Really. You'll be happy in the end when your kids hopefully grow up a little more self reliant and responsible. (At least that's my hope . . . )


Melonie said...

SO TRUE!!!!! My daughter has been involed in the gardening since she was a wee thing and she loves it. And understanding the kits and helping make them, as well as knowing how we came about our emergency plans, helps her feel more secure as well.

Joanna said...

This is a very good point. If we don't include our children in what we are doing, then they will have no idea how to get along in life when it is time for them to strike out on their own. I took my 5 yr old along to the grocery store, and it did take longer than usual with her pushing her little cart. My 12 yr old grumbles when we take the 8 and 5 yr old along, but how else will they learn how to behave in public? If I don't include them in cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc, how will they learn? I keep telling myself that I will have lots of alone time when they are older (and telling myself, and telling myself... )

Becky said...

Even though it takes more time and work, I agree. Kids need to be involved; otherwise they'll think things just magically appear when they need them. :)

I love your new blog look, by the way!

AP said...

Thanks for the sweet comments! My sweet friend Sharla helped with the site.

With the kids, I also think if there's too much talk about disaster/etc. it could lead to a little extra anxiety in children (and adults too for that matter). I have one prone to anxiety--but I think if it is done correctly, especially if they see preparations happening, they will feel more secure and less anxious. You all know your kids, involve them in the things that will benefit them and maybe not so much in the talk/preps that might cause more anxiety than good (nukes, etc).

Chef Tess said...

My husband grew up in a family where the daily news was always bad. "End of the world" was always associated with a negative horrible thing. Terribly opressive and suffocating feeling for a kid. I grew up opposite. It was exciting if you where living right and prepared, because Christ was coming and it was what we wanted. It has been interesting trying to help my grown husband deal with those anxiety issues opposite of mine. I have done the 72 hr kit both ways, though it has been eaiser now the kids are older! I think along with teaching them about being prepared for the emergency it is also important to emphasis that the GOOD NEWS of that. From my point of view, it will be scary, but exciting if we are prepared. Right? LOVE your blog!