Monday, February 25, 2013

Raising Rugged

We are raising our children in alternate realities.  One reality sees us hopeful for the future.  In this reality we prepare our children for success in higher education, for securing a happy marriage and creating a solid retirement plan.  We hope to see them chase (and catch) the American Dream.

The other reality is far less appealing.  This reality sees our children leading the new American Revolution (at best) or living the meager, horrifying existence known to those that experienced the atrocities of the "Enlightened One" during WWII.  It sees our children as either casualties of a cruel social experiment or hardened, war-torn shells of their former beings.

Sir Knight and I love our children fiercely.  It is our conviction that we are to equip our children with the skills and mind-set necessary to do what needs to be done.  And it is our opinion that the world our children will inherit will be far different than the world that we inherited.

Don't get me wrong - I don't believe that we should stop instruction our children in music and in the arts.  I don't think we should throw reading, writing and arithmetic out the window.  However, I do believe we need to start training our children to work, to think and to be resourceful.  I think they need to be tough and resilient.  I think they need to be allowed to suffer so they can learn the lessons that only suffering has to teach.  I think our children need to learn how to govern themselves, how to serve others and how to think outside the box.  I think they should be allowed to do dangerous (within reason) things and be in situations that make us uncomfortable so they can learn their limits.  I think they should be allowed to fail so that they can learn to succeed.

Recently, I read a sobering book called "Weeds Like Us".  It followed the life of a 7 year old East Prussian boy as he and his family became war refugees during the late winter of 1945.  The privation was unthinkable, the suffering beyond comprehension.  However, because this little boy knew how to work, knew the hardships of farm life and had great faith in Jesus Christ, he endured.  Not everyone he knew was so lucky.  One family, with whom they shared tenement housing, was highly educated.  In their former life, they had been moderately wealthy, enjoying music, poetry and the arts.  Never having had to provide for themselves, they simply had no idea how to go about it.  Rather than scavenging wood from the local forest, they read poetry.  Rather than digging through Russian garbage cans in search of potato peelings, they relied on the meager rations of 300 grams of bread a day.  They gathered flowers rather than nettles and sang songs rather than knitting scarves and mittens.  When winter came, they lay down and died.  Literally.  They knew nothing of hard work and suffering.  They placed their faith in an ungodly State and paid for it with their lives.

We are a society so consumed with "educating" our children that we have forgotten to "train" our children.  We are so consumed with keeping them "safe" that we have forgotten to allow them to "live".  It is time to let our kids get their hands dirty.  Kick them outside, teach them to work (I mean really work, not just piddly chores), expect them to govern themselves, even when it means denying their own selfish desires.  Teach them to shoot, to hunt, to run a chainsaw and to fix a car.  Have them build a fort and live in it (no running home to mom and dad - no back up, no reinforcements, no cell phones) so they can figure out how to handle situations without your intervention.  Don't always catch them when they fall.  No more of this "Raising Soft" nonsense - It is time to "Raise Rugged"!


  1. couldn't agree with you more, sister!

  2. There still are many people who know how to do useful things however, in my experience most young people have no clue how to either 'work' or otherwise take care of themselves. This is a failure of the parents (who also appear to be in the same boat - go figure) not to mention our 'educational system' as it currently exists.
    Hard times breed hard people - sadly, most wait for the 'hard times' to arrive and only those who have the mindset survive. Never thought I would see this in our great country however, we seem to be on the leading edge of tough times but most do not see it for what it is ..........Must be the way of the world.

  3. Tami "behind enemy lines"February 25, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    Raising our kids like that is what has kept them where they see the world for what it is and stayed out of the drama that the world and our government wants them to live in. The "world " where government will provide is a myth. Reality is exactly what you speak of. Our children, now young adults where trained as the Bible says to do. Thank you for pointing these simple common sense ideas out to a world drowning in reality Tv.

  4. And of course, achieving the balance between these two realities would be so much easier if we we could see the future world our children will live in. Great post.

  5. To quote John Adams: "I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain." The way the world is going, we need to learn the more fundamental arts!

  6. It seems since the Great Depression, each generation has tried to make things a bit easier on their children. To the point that we have literally bred those skills out of them. They at least used to teach children home ec and shop in school. Now before you say "Its the parents' responsibility", yes it is. BUT, how many of the parents who are of child-bearing age actually possess those skills?

    Three year olds who are proficient with computer games, but not motivated to be potty trained. I saw a 10 year olds' mother cutting his meat for him the other day. A 12 year old who needed assistance peeling a banana. We are raising a generation of pampered babies who cannot fend for themselves. Will Mommy rush in to fix it for them when things get rough when they are 40? Will they have the ability to think and cope if its not computer driven?

    It seems those skills are seen as somehow backward and poor to the masses.

    1. I have a couple of friendships that are dissolving, and I'm not so sure it's a bad thing. I miss my friends but their smothering of their children is more than I can stand. The kids are waited on hand and foot, have no real chores, are taxied everywhere, squawk like baby birds when they are hungry (won't even put a sandwich together) when they should be in the kitchen leading the way on meal prep and KP, and are indulged beyond the parents true fiscal abilities. One had a four year old that was still messing in diapers (which were never changed often enough) because he refused to sit on the potty and she and hubby just let him make his own decisions about such things. It wears me out to see such nonsense and it is confusing to my 13 year old. He sees idle children all around him while he is busy with chores and school and helping us in our daily activities.

      I'm not perfect and neither is my son. He misses his friends that are the children of my friends. I try to tell him that he has a long life ahead of him and his father and I only have a few years to get him ready for it. We tell him he is a young man, not a child, and his responsibilities and privileges are different from the idle children he sees, even if they are the same age and grade.

      Twenty-three years ago, one of my favorite college professors said that one of the biggest problems of the day was that children no longer had critical thinking skills and that the parents were the cause (daycare, TV, s-mothering)


  7. I don't think I could have chosen better parents than the ones I had-they integrated a lot of life lessons into everyday life very could be showing an 8 year old how to change a faucet washer(and why the old one failed),or teaching a 4 year old to read because he wanted to know what Iron Man was saying in those comic books he'd been given.It was done in such a manner that not only did I learn something, it was fun ( though not necessarily easy)! My Dad died when I was 14, so I had to teach myself a lot of things after that point(with the ocassional creative TARFU), but I had a good initial start. This was typical when I was growing up-parents trained you,and the schools were just educational assists.
    I'm not big believer in an impending societal collapse (it's possible, but look into the past-doomsday predictions have a poor track record-it was considered a given when I was in school that the U.S. and Soviet union would, someday, play a very realistic version of Missile Command), but natural disasters do happen, it's just a matter of when and what.

    In your case, they're ready.