by Joan Crain
In a previous article on this site by Brad Chaffee (â€œRaising Self Reliant Childrenâ€œ), he provides excellent ideas for teaching young children the self reliant basics of caring for themselves, such as eating, dressing, hygiene, and clean-up.
After reading an article in the localnewspaper recently titled, â€œAre we raising a bunch of idiots?â€ (Beth J. Harpaz, AP), I wondered if we are continuing to teach self reliance to our teens. Despite the typical newspaper title-spin of the article, the point was that we may not be teaching our kids how to be creative in completing everyday tasks without the convenience of technology.
By â€œtechnologyâ€, Iâ€™m not just talking about iPods, cell phones and computers.
Iâ€™m talking about electric can openers, refrigerators that spit out ice with the push of a button, the availability of cars, or easy access to Jiffy Lubes and Tunex stores.
Are we teaching independence and problem-solving skills?
â€œItâ€™s the dependence factor, the unimaginability of life without the new technology, that is making kids less entrepreneurial, less initiative-oriented, less independent,â€ Harpaz states.
Parents are the #1 teaching source for our children. How are we doing? In a world where we can Google anything, our kids need to be taught to problem solve without the technology; learn to think the problem through, come up with a solution, and complete the task.
Can our (older) kids figure out what bus to take if they need to get across town? Or do we drop everything and take them in the car? Can they cook a meal â€“ from scratch? Do they know how to chop wood, turn off the electricity and gas in an emergency, change a tire or the oil in a car? Do they know how to plant and grow a garden? Use an old-fashioned ice cube tray? Operate a non-electric can opener if the can doesnâ€™t have a pull tab? My daughter asked me how to cook vegetables without a microwave when she was first married. (Hmmm . . . my teaching was lacking.)
There is some discussion lately about large and potentially damaging geomagnetic stormspredicted for the height of the next solar sunspot cycle during the 2012-2013 period. Depending on the severity, they could seriously damage or disrupt satellites, GPS, the electrical grid, pipelines, and communications of all kinds â€“ for a long time. Serious damage may or may not happen. There are many other scenarios where â€œback to basicsâ€ creativeness and self reliance will be required. So shouldnâ€™t we be prepared?
There are numerous articles on this website that parents can use as a resource to learn and then teach their able-bodied teens to be more self-reliant, entrepreneurial, creative, problem solvers â€“ in a world where technology may no longer work.
Joan has created the web site, Family Survival Planning, to help families prepare for the inevitable crises that sprinkle themselves throughout our lives. She believes preparing for disasters is a self-reliant way to live.