What is happening to our nation’s children? I know that times always change and we cannot hold on to the past, but shouldn’t we take the things that worked and build on them? There are certain things that technology will never replace and it is our job to teach these simple methods of survival to our kids. In some cases we will have to teach our grandchildren as well. As a nation, we have dropped the ball, and now is the time to set things straight.
GROWING OUR OWN FOOD
I love to garden. Growing our own food was a way of life for my grandparents. Grandpa had two mules and a two-bottom plow, and he farmed four acres with that team. He had a dozen milk cows, so most of the acreage was planted into corn. Some of that corn would be ground into meal. I got in on some of that grinding, using a mortar and pestle. Grandpa taught me how to milk cows and grandma showed me how to get the most out of a garden. Nothing went to waste. I remember asking grandma what day the garbage truck came, to which she just laughed. They never bought prepared foods. Whatever food waste they had went to the chickens, ducks, and hogs. Gardens were not just for fun with my grandparents, and time was spent every day watering and weeding.
FIXING AND REPAIRING
Fixing and repairing things have gone by the wayside for the millennium generation. Everything is disposable now. From cameras to cars, our children have been taught that when it breaks, it’s time to throw it away. This is not the case at our house. Our “good” car is now 14 years old and my work truck has over 240,000 miles on it. By the way, my father drove that truck for the first 150,000 miles, maintaining it meticulously. It’s still a work truck, so it looks rough, but mechanically it is still in top shape. When I have to repair that truck or anything else, my children are holding the wrenches. I want them to be able to repair things and keep them maintained.
THE ART OF BUILDING IT YOURSELF
Building things is something my dad and grandpa taught me. If you look around my home, you will see handcrafted cabinets and shelves throughout. I love to build things, just like my father and grandfather did. I have instilled this passion into my own children. Both sons and daughters in our family can build from scratch. Sometimes we even unplug our tools and build things without electricity. It’s become a family tradition to take a hammer, saw, and a few nails out into the woods, first building a ladder, then climbing up into a big oak tree and building our own deer stand. I always called these projects “forts” to keep them interested. Each child is proud of their fort, showing their handiwork to anyone wanting to listen and see their tree house built from scratch.
These are just a few of the things my elders instilled in me and these are the things I have tried very hard to pass on to my own children. It’s a way of life for us, and when the economy crumbles, these methods will carry our children through. If we just take the time, our children will be ready for anything.