Monday, September 24, 2012

The New Renaissance

Maid Elizabeth with her bees
As parents, one of the most important things we can do for our children is prepare them to succeed.  From the time they are born we are training them to integrate into society.  When they are little we teach them to play well with others and to be good sports.  We train them to be respectful to their elders and to obey those in authority.  We make sure they know how to read, write and reason so they can effectively communicate their ideas and opinions.  We teach them how to interact with difficult people and how to control themselves in tense situations.  In effect, we equip them with the tools they need to succeed in life.  Or at least we should.

Our world is changing.  It used to be that we needed to prepare our children for university, allowing them to take their place among the academics, philosophers and leaders of our society.  We brought up our children to program computers, argue law and practice medicine.  They could be managers, bureaucrats or party planners.  As long as they had a good social life and were moderately financially independent, we felt that we had done our job.  Those things may have defined success in the past but our future won't be so kind.
Miss Serenity and Master Hand Grenade cutting up a deer,
getting ready to put it into the canner
The future that we are raising our children to govern is unstable.  The dollar is losing its value, our embassies are going up in flames and unemployment is at record levels.  Nearly half of the American population absorbs government assistance in one form or another.   A college education has ceased to guarantee employment, yet positions requiring skilled tradesmen remained unfilled due to a lack of qualified applicants.   The measure of success has gone from "Are you a Doctor" to "Do you have a job?".

Master Hand Grenade and Sir Knight working on the generator
Change is in the air.  Many of us have seen the signs of the times and have prepared our pantry - but have we prepared our children?  I want my children to be able to thrive in any environment in which they find themselves.  If they are in polite company, I want them to know what piece of music they are listening to and what master painted which painting.  I want them to be able to write poetry and sing sonnets.  I want them to know the Constitution and be able to reason with the wise men of the land.  But, I also want them to be able to hunt a deer - gut it, skin it and process the meat.  I want them to be able to use a compass and read a map.  I want them to bake bread, make soap, dig camas and make wine.  I want them to be able to set bones, start I.V.'s and reload ammunition.  I want them to graft trees, grow gardens and spin wool.  I want them to thrive in whatever world they inherit.
Maid Elizabeth skinning a deer
What future are you preparing your children for?  Will they know what they need to know in order to survive?  To flourish?  Will they be able to take care of themselves and others if you aren't there?  Do they have the skills to stand their ground or will they be among the masses reliant on outside forces to care for and feed them?

We are called not just to fortify our larders, but to prepare our children.  This is the New Renaissance.


  1. There are times I worry we are not doing enough, and the next day I worry that we are trying to do too much.

    My 12 year old son is helping me to can, dehydrate or freeze our garden's produce between doing his home school and helping dad with whatever "man stuff" he is doing. I dare not teach him at least the basics about food preservation because he may marry someone that does not know how to put up food. Not knowing how to do so is more common, I fear, than knowing how to grow and preserve the harvest.

    In the meantime, my son "trains" to be in whatever branch of the military he favors at the moment. We are a "do-it-yourself-and-save" family so he is exposed to home and car maintenance (and some construction), food production, outdoor life skills.

  2. I think our society has put too much electronic ammunition out there.Children are hooked and needs to be unhooked.But when parents (both) work,it's hard.Now a days parents can't spend time with their children because of having to pay bills.I think people in general should step back and say what would happen when the power goes out,how will we react.It will eventually do that,it may be in our time or the next generation but the threat is real.To reality children much less parents don't really care any more and that is what is scary.

  3. Enola,


    My father had both masters in archeology and anthropology, my mother has a masters in english education so I came from the world of academia. My parents were in college when Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Bob Dillion were the major names people saw in headlines.

    My parents of course were not into guns, motorcycles, or mud bogging four wheel drive trucks like I was (Someone had to be the black sheep)

    I am trying to learn the skills my Grandfathers had. I have nothing bad to say about my parents, they gave me the love of liturature, imagination and knowlege.

    I gotta learn all the meat and potatoes stuff now (at age 45)

    I really wish I could have known my Grandfather the cattle rancher from New Mexico. He died when I was three, but he did babysit me and my mother swears Im just like him. I guess its imprinting.

    I have learned a lot of tricks, but there is so much practical knowlege I will never know that my Grandfather knew. If everything falls apart in a major way, I will have one heck of a learning curve.

    I can say that I am fairly well prepared, better than some. Less than others. I just hope (and pray) that I can get a little help from above on some things. I got an entire neighborhood at this point to try and keep secure along with four infants (no. five on the way) and six children in different young families on my street. (Im single with no kids, and no way responsible for any of this baby boom going on) One of my friends said, you better not go out on any dates with any women anytime soon.

    I do have several fisherman, hunters, a welder, a carpenter and several other tradesman on my street. Come to think of it, Im the only one as far as I know that has a college degree.
    I think we will be alot better off than many other communities where academics outnumber the tradesman.

    We do have three Veit Nam Vets, and two Gulf War vets also on my street so that helps.

    1. I knew my grandfather up until the age of 38, and learned a lot from him, little bits at a time. My parents taught me to read, answered questions, and bought me books. If I asked "What kind of bug is that?", a book on insects would likely appear on the kitchen table within a few days. At 10 years old, I had a bigger reference library that the school did. Lots and lots of little, but important(usually) things, from how to change oil to TV DXing(look it up).
      I think I'm like you in some ways-prepared better than some, but not as well as I should be. I don't know that many of my neighbors-the vast majority of the houses on my street are rentals, and people come and go(sometimes hauled off by cops).

      I lived with an aunt and uncle for a while out of high school-dinner discussions ran from Should We Reconnect Those Gas Lights(their house had all its original gas lights, but they had long since been disconnected. Illuminating gas and natural gas are different)to What Sort Of Transmission Could Stand Up To An Aircraft Engine In A Car. Sometimes, experiments resulted from such discussions-learning experiences! It amazes me how many people just don't seem to care about the world around them, and how marvelous it is.

  4. Very well said.

  5. When I met my wife, Beautiful, I told her I was a renaissance man - she wanted to know what I meant by that. My response was that I enjoyed constantly learning skills and other knowledge. In the 4+ years that I've known her, I've managed to learn how to put a rock face on a fireplace, build a rather large chicken coop, start gardening, and put in cattle fencing (think "Ultimate Gift"), among other things. This year the project is replacing a rather large deck.

    Some of these skills I utilized knowledge that I learned from my dad, others I had to research and figure out for myself. I still have a long list of things I wish to learn to do - at least at some level of competency. Some of those are things I had opportunity to learn years ago when dad was still alive and I failed to grasp the importance of listening to him. Ah, well. As dad used to say, "we get to soon old and too late smart"

    As one that earns a living from sitting in a chair in front of a computer all day, I sometimes find it difficult to get out and moving, but I do so anyway. As I get older, my body also joins in the protest, too. Regardless, I am attempting to drag my step-son, kicking and screaming into the 19th century, just so he'll have some skill other than mashing buttons on a video game controller.

    Yes, I've rambled a bit here, but I agree with the person that said we've become far to dependent on electronic gadgets. One of these days I'm going to the distribution box in the house and turn off the power for a day or two. Just as an exercise.

    Change *is* in the air. Hopefully it will be change for the better, but I'm not holding my breath on that one. Time to keep the pantry full, the firewood stacked and the powder dry.

    Great thoughts in this post.

  6. Enola,

    You give me hope! I'm serious. Sometimes I feel like we are the only fish swimming upstream. The thought of just "going with the flow" is certainly tempting.

    A friend told me about the "" website. So I go there for a few laughs because I have some family that work there, and to shake my head at our "society". Then at the top of that page you can link to several different other websites like "Mug Shot Row" and "WTF Tattoos" and I just want to pack up my family and move to a deserted mountain or island away from the garbage of society. As a believer, I understand that being a hermit or recluse is not condusive to sharing the gospel. But I just am grieved in my heart at our culture.

    My prayer is "Lord, come quickly!" Of course, if that is not a possibility anytime soon, I pray that the Lord would resurrect the Thomas Jeffersons, George Washingtons, Patrick Henrys of yesteryear to snap this culture out of its whiny, look at selfishness.

    Captain Crunch, I'm 45 too and I wonder how on earth I ended up being the prude of the family! :) No smoking, no drinking, no tattoos, no drugs . . . geeze!

    Keep on keeping on Renaissance people! Hey, maybe we could start a "" website! :)

    1. Shop and Awe! I know a couple people who work at WallyWorld and pretty much confirm what you see on the People Of WalMart site as being true,understated if nothing else.There's also "Freaks of Fast Food".

    2. What scares me is that I know people whose goal is to be on the People of Walmart site.


    3. The nearest Wal-Mart is over 40 miles away from our home in BFE so I don't shot there as a general rule! But one day... we stopped in there for end of the summer sale on t-shirts. My husband noticed "a tall woman in brightly colored '80s spandex".... I ignored him as I was doing some important Shopping and my time was limited (don't go shopping w/ hubby @ WM!) I never got a good look, but hubby told me later that the 'gal' was really a 'dude'.... going through the check out line we were quickly followed by several people (only line open) and the 'dude' strutted right on by! as if to catch the eye of the croud! I couldn't believe it. The cashier told us about "people of Walmart". When we got home and looked at the site (1st time). We wondered to ourselves if we should have snapped a photo & posted it, cause WHO WOULD BELIEVE THIS!!! We concluded that to have posted their pix would only promoted their actions and so we are glad that we did not think so fast in our astonishment! So even near BFE..... forget the wild animals.... there are some REALLY strange people in WAL MART! ~Adventures in BFE

  7. Please ,please talk to the older generations.There is so much knowledge going to be lost in the next few years , when they pass , and we will all be the poorer for it.

    Captain Crunch, Bless you for thinking of all your neighbors. Not enough people do,and it shows.

    When the SHTF the only helping hand you can truly count on is the one at the end of your own arm. My Heaven help us all.

  8. With the exception of my parents, one aunt and uncle, and one set of grandparents, my relatives were into freeloading, smoking, drinking, and dying of cirrhosis of the liver at 45 or so(Darwin was right?..). I think Heinlein said "specialization is for insects"-everyone needs to learn new skills as long as you're alive... I'm glad I had the parents I did.

  9. My husband is a pastor now, but since he was 12yrs old, he has been working. He has worked in landscaping, caretaker of a large cattle ranch, in construction, lube shop mechanic for semi trucks, tire/lube express in Walmart, detailing cars for a dealership, California Wildland firefighter, forklift operator for Walmart Distribution Center, worked in a sawmill, concrete finisher, remodeled houses, tiled hundreds of square feet, laid wood and laminate flooring, built picnic tables, worked in restaurants both serving and cooking and in logging. He is 40 years old and has used many of these experiences while pastoring our small church, to help our congregation members and community. He is also an avid hunter and fisherman so we process all of our game and fish. I am so thankful to have him able to teach our son and daughter so many of his skills. I read and enjoy canning, that is about the extent of what I have to offer them. Our son volunteers on a nearby ranch, getting experience just like his dad. Our daughter is in college and has a long list of criteria for her future husband courtesy of her dad's skills.

  10. So I am being asked by my family what I want for Christmas. I am stuck with either a pressure
    Canner or a sun oven, which one would you suggest and why?