Teaching Your Children Life Skills
Teaching Your Children Life Skills
By Steven L. Doran
A tree can not grow in a closet. One of the things a lot of parents lack these days is the ability to trust that their children can learn certain life skills. As a parent we all want what is best for our children, yet we are the ones who typically hold them back. It is easier to let them sit in front of the tube or a video game then get them going on an outside interest.
My oldest son was a fireball and up for absolutely anything from the time he was very small. We cut wood together, hunted, fished, went shooting and he picked up wilderness and primitive survival skills very quickly. His enthusiasm and skill was such that it made it much easier to do the same with my other son and children that have come into my life since. It was easy I just took them with me.
I was very fortunate to have a Granddad, uncles and old neighborhood guys who drug me along and let me try absolutely everything. Once they felt I was sufficient. I was sent on my way to do it alone, my age was never an issue as long as I knew how to do it. Today they would probably be charged with child endangerment.
Whatever life or survival skill you possess, you need to expose and teach your children that same skill, and I mean everything. I will give you an example that really has nothing to do with the outdoors. However it is a skill that your children need none the less in an emergency. I have taken my boys to large parking lots, fields or two tracks since they were old enough to understand how to steer I began letting them steer the car or truck on my lap. When they could see over the dash and reach the peddles, we went to the two track or the parking lot with the truck or the car and they began to drive.
I can tell you it was safer than the way I learned, but maybe not as fun. My Uncle had an old Suburban, stick shift with no brakes. He would start the truck, put it in first gear, start driving in a circle in a big open field, open the door, pull out the choke a bit (that dates me ) stand on the running board, holding the wheel until I moved over and took the wheel then jump off and I drove around that field until the truck ran out of gas or he came back jumped in and turned off the key. After he felt I passed the driving course, it was my job to drive the hay truck. When someone brought up the safety issue because I was only 9 years old, he would shrug and say “The boy needs to know how to drive” I am not recommending this method, but the mindset was correct.
Now you may ask yourself why would a child need such a skill today? I can give you several but I will give you the number one reason. When we take our children along with us there may come a time when there is some type of emergency and you are incapacitated. The only person available to get that vehicle off the road or back to civilization is your kid. If you are going to take them with you, you have to give them all of the skills they need to assist or survive in any situation. Remember if they are not part of the solution they are part of the problem. Helping out may just be sitting quietly or holding a flash light. You would be surprised at how many parents do not even let their kids do that, or how many kids won’t.
As soon as they have some understanding of the issue or skill you need to start exposing them to it. Figure out ways to get them interested and trained. Remember your kids are not you and everyone learns differently. If they do not get it one way, try another. The best way I found is to always let them observe and watch what I do. Then let them begin to help with different steps of the process, or give them a similar project to work along side you. If they want a skill you know nothing about, find someone they can learn it from and learn it with them. It is better then sitting in front of the TV.
Some of you might say? I do not trust my kids enough to let them keep a pocket knife, help in the kitchen, learn to build a fire, drive a vehicle or whatever. Then you need to take a look at yourself and what you are not doing. If you are apprehensive about your childrens behavior it is your fault not theirs. If you lead they will follow your example.
Take the time and or make the time to spend with your kids. It does not have to be an event, just take them with you and let them participate in some way. You will find you have more in common then you might think. You will also find that it is way more fun being with them than away from them. And will come to appreciate who they are, and they will appreciate you.
You me and our children will make mistakes and screw things up until the day we die. Remember your kids are human just like you. You may need to change the rules, pull back some privilege, but never stop the learning process with your kids. My oldest son is grown and gone, the only difference between now and then, is now he teaches me a few tricks when he comes home and his Christmas and Birthday presents are more expensive.
Copyright © 2009 by Steven L. Doran All rights reserved under international and Pan-American copyright conventions. No part of this article may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means without written permission from the author Steven L. Doran.