Monday, February 25, 2013
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"!