Preparedness/ Children by Monica Kramer

Again, I am not claiming expertise just questionable experience. I raised
three children and home schooled them on and off until our last move. I spent
twenty years teaching Sunday school to children from 18 months to eight
years. I like playing on the floor with them or building a lion’s den out of
table and chairs to act out events in. The other day when I was out walking
an unknown young boy came running over to get me to play with him. It could
be that I have some strange child friendly vibe.
So, my opinion of helping children to prepare is to be honest with them, but
at a level they can understand. We live in dangerous times and they only
continue to become more so. If children are very young games are a good way
to introduce concepts, even games they might normally play like hide and seek
with an emphasis on hiding quietly. Help me find the next track gets them on
the ground doing what could become a lifesaving exercise. Children also like
to help at least until they are old enough to actually be helpful. Let them
help with anything you can, cooking teaches good skills, handing you a wrench
to fix the car with helps them be familiar with new concepts, giving them a
small back pack with only a few things they can carry makes them feel they
are important, contributing, and “big”.
As the child/children age the challenges and opportunities increase. They
become more aware of things happening around them you need to provide
guidance to help them grow into the best people they can be. As a child I
went on litter hikes, cleaned up the neighborhood but also taught an
appreciation of the natural world and respect for creation. Start teaching
physical skills as soon as the young person is able to do it. At six my son
could put together a pretty good debris hut, they improved over the years but
everyone has to start somewhere. Spiritual skills you will need to follow
your own inner vision on, it is different for each child and family.
When my children were young the youngest maybe two, we lived in an area
abundant with natural resources. We would spend a couple of weekends a month
out camping spring summer and fall, practicing building fires, and other
skills. We also kept a close eye on the tides, for when they were very low it
was time to hit the beaches. We searched for crabs, and dug for clams to take
home and steam. Crabs we cooked the same day but the clams we put in a bucket
or cooler in clean ocean water for a day or two to let them spit out the sand
in them and make them more palatable. Clamming was safer than having a
two-year-old running around with a crab pinching his finger and hanging from
it. We did a good deal of berry picking there were several varieties in the
area thimble berries near the beaches, bunch berries near the river, and
blueberries on the mountainsides. Once when we were gathering blueberries and
the youngest was very purple from having been putting more in his mouth than
his bucket a bear joined us. It was on the far side of the patch from where
we were and making a mess of the bushes. We just quietly gathered everyone up
and said this is his patch now we’ll go to a different one. My husband Tom
built a dehydrator that was big enough to hold five cookie sheets, so what
wasn’t eaten fresh was preserved. The children all became proficient at
making fruit leather, and each had their own favorite flavor combination.
Years later we did a good deal of back-packing. By this time every one was
able to carry their own gear Tom and I would carry the cookware if we brought
any. Now anyone could put together the fire and the position of fire tender
was preferred over wood gatherer or cook. The children learned how to use
water filters since the lake was very mucky. The remote location gave us the
opportunity to observe wildlife in their natural environments, watching when
they moved how they moved.
Canoes were added to our paraphernalia which greatly expanded our exploration
areas. A couple of times we needed to find poles to lash the canoes together
with a space between forming something like an out rigger to give them
stability, less tip ability in the waves. Fishing also increased on these
trips with something like trolling being the preferred method. Once David
about eight years old caught what we called a double ugly he insisted that we
cook it up for dinner. So, it was cooked over a fire and everyone tasted the
strange looking fish. We usually caught salmon and Hubby Tom was friends with
a commercial fisherman who got us anything he caught cheaply. Some fish was
frozen, but we also began drying it, these experiments took some practice.
The first try resulted it a lot of ooooooohs from the small people and is
that eatable? I think I had cod and had fileted it and put it on a jelly roll
sheet (a cookie sheet with edges) and set it to dry. When inspected I had oil
saturated dried fish. Picking it up it dripped oil. Learned to put a cooling
rack under the fish to lift it out of the oil. I dumped the oil but now
realize it had some nutritional and possibly medicinal value. I do know the
indigenous people of the are used drying racks near fires and let the oils
drip, but I wanted dried not smoked fish. While I did most of the knife work
the children helped with laying the fish out, checking on the heat so it
preserved properly, putting the finished product in air proof containers, and
any other step that took place. Mostly they liked the catching. Except David
who added the step of chasing his sisters around with the soon to be meal.
None of these experiences may seem like preparedness exercises. Anything that
makes us more aware of or more comfortable with living in primitive
conditions is preparing us.
Monica K

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