For decades, Children have grown up with Super Heroes. Whether it was Thor, Captain Marvel, Superman, or even Under Dog, most kids dreamed of one day becoming their own version of a hero who saved the world from evil. As parents, we often dismiss this as a phase they were going through, and never took it seriously. Maybe we should have. After all, it is these same children who will grow up and take part in making or breaking the world they live in. But to train them to be the one of the ‘good guys’ won’t be easy. As I have said, there is so much lacking in our children’s Life Education. We need to begin working with them as soon as possible. It is these formative years that helps to lead them in a positive direction.
When you think about it, Super Heroes are the ones who fought for what is right. When the going got tough, they swooped in and defended the underdog, protected the city, offered compassion to the down-trodden and helped the ones who got hurt. And when things were quiet, they slipped back into their everyday clothes and lived a quiet and normal life. I often wonder how many times those super capes had to be mended from all the rips and tears they must have sustained in those battles of Good vs Evil.
I may not have been raised up to wear a cape, but I was taught how to be a compassionate person; how to love, how to give to others, with no thought of getting back. I was loved, and taught how to love others, regardless of who they were. My Biblical and Academic Education didn’t stop within the confines of a building designed for those things – it was continued and reinforced at home. I learned with wise words from my parents, yes. But my Mom and Dad also lived by the words they spoke, so I also learned by example. My Dad died almost twenty years ago, but when I run into someone who knew him, I still hear that he was a ‘fine man’ – and it is said with heart. What a legacy.
Often times, when I used to babysit for my friends, I would put aprons on the kids and entertain them by baking cookies. It used to be a Christmas tradition for Becky to drop her three boys off at our house while she went shopping. The kids and I would gather up in the kitchen to bake and decorate Christmas cookies. It was a day full of fun, laughter and yes, a few disasters that just made all of us laugh even harder. When Becky would walk back in, the pride on their faces as they showed her their ‘works of art’ was enough to make your heart melt with joy.
Aunt Emily taught me to sew when I was five. She taught me on a treadle-model sewing machine, and my first lesson was a simple skirt and blouse. To this day, when I smell new yardage of fabric, I am transported back to that guest room in her home. I can still hear the soft notes of Glen Miller or Steve Lawrence in the background. I know how to sew, and use those skills to mend the clothes we have in order to get a full life from them. Once they are beyond saving, I know how to use it to create something else. And if necessary, I can do it without a sewing machine.
As farmers, we garden and raise our own meat. I know how to preserve those foods, and which methods works best for different foods. (You really don’t want to can purple hull peas, but you can both freeze and can tomatoes). We are learning to milk, and how to turn that fresh milk into dairy products.
There are days when I wear a perfume called Eau de Clean. It’s a special blend of Comet®, bleach, Mr. Clean®, ammonia, and Windex®, with a touch of lemon polish to add a bit of pizazz. My hair looks like a rats nest, sweat is running down my back and face and you can actually hear my muscles screaming for help. But by that time, I have a clean house. Everything is neat and in its place.
I have a budget, and know how to use it. Yes, there are times when unexpected expenses come up, or we decide to go in a different direction and it has to be reworked. But I know how to do it, and it works. Money may go out of our savings account almost as fast as we put it in, but we do have it in case of emergencies. We shop around for the best buys. I use coupons when I can. We provide as much of our own food as possible. And we know the difference between necessity and want.
I love for kids to come hang out at the farm. Given the chance, I teach them something as we have fun. Abby would bring her two down here, and Gabe and Hailey have learned how to plant seeds, shell peas, feed chickens and gather eggs. Abby took that lesson home with her and got chickens of their own. If a child (or young adult) wants to learn to weave or sew I am happy to teach them. Any child who visits the farm is given the opportunity to help with most anything – although feeding chickens and collecting the eggs is by far the most favorite thing for them to do. During the State Fair, I had a seven-year-old who was fascinated with my loom. I sat Nehemiah down and taught him how it worked. His grin was well worth the effort I put into being there.
Your kids may gravitate to some things, and cringe with others, but regardless – these are all things they need to know to be able to function in life. Yes – they can hire housekeepers and take their clothing to the dry cleaners or tailors for mending. Yes, they can go out to eat every meal. But to do that, they have to have the funds to pay for it. And if they are spending their hard-earned money for those things, then what is left over to pay the bills and do the fun things in life? Let’s face it – high paying jobs are harder and harder to get. Keeping a job is sometimes difficult. And the cost of living usually outshoots the income levels. On a deeper level, the knowledge that we can take care of our families and loved ones in an emergency is calming. It helps to remove at least a little of the stress, knowing that you won’t go hungry and your home will stay clean enough to help keep you healthy.
We worry about our children and their well-being. There are some things we just cannot protect them from, like serious health issues and being hurt – physically or emotionally. But we can prepare them to have the best life possible. We can start by providing them a good education by sending them to school – whether that be public, private or home school. We need to encourage them to study hard; to learn science, botany, history, math, art, music, shop, English, Sociology, Psychology and all the other subjects offered. We can ‘school’ them at home by teaching them the basic life skills, including social graces like manners, respect and consideration for others. We can teach them to grow at least a portion of the food it takes to feed their family. We can show them how to prepare that food – whether it is cooking a meal or preserving it for the future. We can teach them to sew, to knit, quilt, crochet and weave so they will have clothes on their backs and a warm bed to sleep in. We can teach them the value of money and how to manage it. And through all of this, we can create a strong bond between them and their families, and provide them with memories and skills that will not only last them a lifetime, but the knowledge of how to pass these same skills down to their own children.
Are you interested in a better world? Maybe it is time we start raising Super Heroes.