The Survival Mom » Parents http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:00:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Survival Survey: Are Your KIDS Prepared? http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-survey-kids-prepared/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=survival-survey-kids-prepared http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-survey-kids-prepared/#comments Sat, 07 Jun 2014 17:00:32 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=14864 The issue of whether your spouse is on board has been discussed, but how about your kids? Are your kids prepared? Growing up in an earthquake zone, my kids grasp the basic need to be prepared, but my 2nd grader Read More

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kids preparedThe issue of whether your spouse is on board has been discussed, but how about your kids? Are your kids prepared?

Growing up in an earthquake zone, my kids grasp the basic need to be prepared, but my 2nd grader recently became extremely interested in preparedness, even earning the Boy Scouts’ Emergency Preparedness Award. He has made his own First Aid kit, which he wants to carry to school, and is excited to read Andrew Skurka’s book The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide from National Geographic.  (I bought it for myself – silly mommy!)

What sparked this heightened desire to learn? The reality TV series Dude, You’re Screwed! on the Discovery Channel. Survival experts are dropped at an undisclosed, remote location and have to find their way to civilization.

The boy ate it up!

So, are your kids prepared? Are they preppers? How old are they? Do they live with you or on their own? Who or what convinced them? What steps have they taken?

P.S. The Survival Mom herself recently interviewed Andrew Skurka for The Survival Mom Radio Network. You can listen to that podcast here.

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February Survival Mom of the Month: MilkweedMama! http://thesurvivalmom.com/february-survival-mom-of-the-month-milkweedmama/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=february-survival-mom-of-the-month-milkweedmama http://thesurvivalmom.com/february-survival-mom-of-the-month-milkweedmama/#comments Sat, 09 Feb 2013 14:07:23 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=11119 The winner of the Survival Mom of the Month (February) is Faith, aka MilkweedMama.  Faith has an inspiring story to share as well as some fantastic advice!  Faith wins a copy of Survival Mom, a $25 Amazon gift card, the DVD Read More

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The winner of the Survival Mom of the Month (February) is Faith, aka MilkweedMama.  Faith has an inspiring story to share as well as some fantastic advice!  Faith wins a copy of Survival Mom, a $25 Amazon gift card, the DVD set of, “Grow Your Own Groceries,” and a PurifiCup Portable Water Purifier.  Congratulations, Faith!

Be sure to nominate yourself or another Survival Mom for our next Survival Mom of the Month, and don’t worry if you have fewer resources, less stocked up, etc. We’re looking for women who are being proactive and will share what they’ve done.

What possible emergencies are you preparing for?

Haiti Relief 2010

Image Credit to Samaritan’s Purse

As a young child I moved to Florida from Portland, Oregon and encountered hurricanes for the first time. I also encountered evacuating for the first time.

Although I believe I was born with “prepper” tendencies Florida life certainly caused that prepper seed to sprout! My first memory of evacuating was during the 1964 hurricane season when 12 tropical cyclones, 6 of which developed into category 3 hurricanes, caused havoc in the U.S. Three of these hurricanes slammed into Florida and two were noteworthy enough to have their names retired forever. During one of these particularly fierce storms my parents reluctantly decided to evacuate for higher ground with a neighboring family. Thinking back, the only thing I remember my parents packing was booze and a cocktail shaker for their “hurricane party.”

When we arrived at the vacant house that we were using as higher ground we had no electricity, no running water and no furniture. Even at my age I had thought to pack pillows, blankets, food, and a lawn chair for my 82 year old grandmother to lie on which turned out to be a good thing as the hard wood floors didn’t offer much in the way of comfort.  Although I don’t remember much else, I do remember my parents being utterly amazed regarding what I had thought to pack in the back of our station wagon. And I remember being utterly amazed as a young child at what my parents had not thought to pack after spending a miserable night and day in our “shelter”!

Fast forward to several stints as a volunteer Registered Nurse in the remote regions of Haiti and my prepper fate was solidified. I left the Haiti experiences more determined than ever to be prepared. I also left more thankful than ever to live in a country where we have the resources to be able to prepare whether we think we do or not.

When you live and work in a third world country you have a tendency to focus on the basics of survival rather than the cause that generates the necessity for survival preparation. I rarely focus on hurricanes, nuclear blast, or pandemic scenarios. I consider myself more of a generic prepper focusing on the basics. Enough food. Enough clean water. Shelter. Medical care.

Recommended Prepper Resources:

I have to say YouTube and the internet in general has been my favorite tools. Any question I have is answered right at my finger tips. I taught myself how to can by watching YouTube. I taught myself how to raise chickens reading various blogs on Google. I do a lot of researching and I spend a lot of time researching a vast number of subjects. If I find something I find particularly useful (like how to can butter that lasts for two years) I copy the article and put it in my homemade prepper notebook.  The notebook contains everything from how to make a solar oven (I have one!) to how to make saline nose drops. I started this in case we have power outages for lengthy periods of time and my beloved internet is not available for quick references.

Fiction:

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank made a huge impact on me when it was required reading back in the old high school days. It is still one of my favorite books.

Nonfiction:

When in Haiti I picked up a copy of “Where There Is No Doctor.” A must have for everyone in the medical profession.  (Editor’s Note: Free copies are available for download at Hesperian Books.)

I have a copy of The Physicians Desk Reference that I picked up at a thrift store. As a nurse it’s imperative that I am able to calculate correct medications doses in times of extreme emergencies if the medications are available.

The Complete Book Of Home Preserving is the home canners Bible. I love mine purchased used on Ebay

TV:

I am drawn to shows like the Discovery Channel’s Dual Survival and National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers. I am always fascinated by peoples focus in certain areas and their skill sets. Jericho was an awesome albeit short lived tv series, as well, that cut to the quick regarding what is important and what is not important during a survival situation.

Websites:

Craig’s List and Freecycle are my all time favorites. I don’t have a lot of money to spend on preparation so these sights are invaluable resources for free and cheap items like rain barrels and firewood. Meetup.com is a great sight and you never know what groups are available in your area. I found a great Urban Homesteading group and a permaculture group in my city.

What have you done to prepare your home and family for these possible emergencies?

I am also the mom of three adopted special needs children so my medical focus is a little out of the “norm” when it comes to preparing for disaster. Because of my kids complex medical conditions we are way beyond simply storing up band aids and Tylenol in our family!

My son has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bone disease) so I have adequate pain medication and splinting and casting materials on hand in case of fractures which are part of our every day life. They all have asthma so in addition to their multi-dose inhalers and rescue medications I have a battery powered nebulizer which also works off a car engine. The girls have cerebral palsy and one is unable to ambulate and uses a wheel chair. I am always cognizant of the fact that I will not be able to carry all of them if we are bugging out so having the chairs ready to rock and roll and/or having a wagon or, bike handy to aid in transportation is imperative. Jogger strollers are also handy on rough terrain and I have one that a friend of mine built from discarded parts of other strollers.

I do the usual food storage and have it shelved according to expiration dates and am always looking for dates that give me the longest shelf life. I also taught myself to can last year by watching YouTube videos and take advantage of seasonal produce and utilize local farmers and markets.

This year we added four backyard chickens and are getting 4 eggs a day now. I compost their coop shavings and manure and use it in our organic garden.  We have bins of red wiggler worms to help dispose of scraps and they make wonderful compost for the garden as well. Nothing is wasted.

In the garden this year I’ve branched out and added some fruit trees that don’t take up much room such as figs, Pomegranates, Surinam Cherry and bananas. My goal is to make my backyard into an urban homestead.

Last year I added bug out back packs in the closet near our front door. One for each family member including one for the dog, cat and chickens. I copied birth certificates, social security cards, and pertinent medical records and placed them in each backpack in a plastic, water resistant bag. The originals are in a small fire proof, water proof safe which I can easily toss into the van if we have to leave quickly. Periodically, I go through them and make sure I don’t need to add or remove anything. Each child has an identification necklace and whistle to wear around their necks.

What advice to you have for new Survival Moms who want to prepare their families as well?

Start now and quit procrastinating. None of your excuses regarding having plenty of time to get started or not enough money to prepare are legitimate. Even the poorest family can afford to buy one small bag of cheap rice a month and store it away. And don’t even get me started on people who tell me they can’t afford to prepare but go to Starbucks everyday or frequent fast food drive thrus.

Do not think the government or local cities are going to be able to feed, cloth or rescue you during times of extreme disaster. We are so inclined in the USA to rely on bailouts that it is hard to get past that mentality and that is dangerous mindset. People in this country are not used to waiting in long lines or delaying gratification. Prepare to be as self sufficient as possible as soon as possible because our microwave society can blow at any moment. Start simply if you’re not a prepper by nature. Make your own laundry soap. Put up a clothes line. Purchase some canned goods. Stock up on medication. Start thinking outside of the box.

When I was evacuating during Hurricane George I thought I’d stop by a local chicken place and pick up a couple of buckets for my gracious host who was putting us up in her non-evacuation zone home. I noticed the guy in front of me peeled out and gave the employee the finger.

“Welcome to our restaurant. May I take your order?” When I ordered the chicken she replied, “I’m sorry. We are out of chicken.” Everything I rattled off they were already out of so I asked her what she did have?

“Soda.”

It only takes a couple of hours for a grocery store or fast food place to empty out. Even during times of “impending disaster” food disappears fast and tempers flare. Do yourself favor and avoid the trip, the lines and the irate people by being prepared.

Build community relationships. Start in your own neighborhood. When you are preparing think beyond your family to that elderly neighbor down the street or that single mom. There is strength in numbers and everyone has something to contribute. There are preppers who do not feel the necessity to share anything and would turn you away in a heart beat. I am a firm believer in the fact that we will reap what we sow. Prepare ahead of time so you do not feel compelled to sow selfishness.

Don’t think you need a tremendous amount of money to be a prepper. Utilize free stuff. Re-use. Re-purpose and re-cycle.

Get started today!

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Home Protection: Fire Safety http://thesurvivalmom.com/home-protection-fire-safety/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=home-protection-fire-safety http://thesurvivalmom.com/home-protection-fire-safety/#comments Thu, 07 Feb 2013 13:00:45 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=11100 Guest post by Thomas Bryant, a licensed Fire Protection professional, who blogs at Cube 2 Farm Protecting and defending your home has much more to do with your family than your possessions. The lives inside your home are the most precious Read More

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Guest post by Thomas Bryant, a licensed Fire Protection professional, who blogs at Cube 2 Farm

House fire

Image by Ada Be

Protecting and defending your home has much more to do with your family than your possessions. The lives inside your home are the most precious gifts you have. So, how do you protect them from the most prolific danger out there?

First and foremost let me emphasize how important it is to involve and engage your children in the family discussions and activities regarding fire safety. Let them know it is normal and OK to be scared. Fire is scary. Arm your children with knowledge, tools, and confidence so they will act even when they are afraid.

Create a Fire Escape Plan

FEP Preparation
  • Purchase escape ladders for each upper level bedroom. Two story KL-2S and three story KL-3S models available. They can be purchased at home centers and Amazon. These ladders range in price from $30-$75 each.
  • Purchase fire extinguishers for each level of your home -5lb minimum size.  For the purpose of a FEP fire extinguishers are for clearing a path for escape and NOT for putting out the fire. Click HERE for interactive training from Tyco.
  • Purchase and properly install smoke detectors.  I recommend interconnected smoke /carbon monoxide detectors with voice alerts.  All interconnected detectors will go into alarm if any one detector senses smoke or carbon monoxide.  They are wireless and easy to install.  Test monthly and change batteries twice a year – during Daylight Saving time changes.

Create the Fire Escape Plan (FEP) with your children and everyone living in the home.

  • Draw out the floor plan of your home – all floors and basement
  • Identify two escape routes from each room
  • Make sure doors and windows open easily and everyone knows how to operate them.
  • Walk the escape paths with everyone
  • Identify a meeting place outside the home. Everyone will meet at this spot.
  • Practice your plan and practice using escape ladders (from a 1st floor window)
  • Conduct fire drills every month. Actually set off your smoke alarms and execute your fire escape plan. You may look silly to your neighbors, but your family will be safe
  • Practice with lights out and/or blind folded. Smoke is thick and dark and will impair your vision. Practice crawling the escape routes as well. You may have to crawl below the smoke during your escape.
  • Have your kids explain the fire escape plan to their friends sleeping over.
Your Fire Escape Plan must include quick access to a cell phone and car keys at an egress point to take outside with you.  Always keep one vehicle outside of an attached garage.  Also consider keeping a backpack in that car with a change of clothes and flipflops/slippers/shoes for each family member.

There is no time to grab necessities on your way out. You only have 3 minutes to escape the fire before toxic fumes and gases reach fatal levels. In 5 minutes the smoke and heat will sear your lungs and your home will be filled with deadly thick dark smoke – you are no longer able to breathe or see. Your home will be fully engulfed in flames within ten minutes.

ESCAPE QUICKLY AND NEVER GO BACK INSIDE A BURNING HOME to retrieve valuables, keepsakes, or pets!

Call 911 after everyone is out of the building safely and at the designated meeting place.  Put kids in their carseats while you wait for emergency personnel to ensure they don’t return to the house.

TommyFor more information and resource links check out Tommy, the RockstarDad, at Cube2farm.  Tommy is a licensed security and fire safety professional with 20 years experience designing, installing, and maintaining residential, commercial, and industrial security, fire protection and life safety systems. He has obtained the highest certification level from NICET in Fire Protection Technologies.

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32 Survival Skills Your Child Should Know and Be Able to Do ASAP! http://thesurvivalmom.com/32-survival-skills-your-child-should-know-and-be-able-to-do-asap/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=32-survival-skills-your-child-should-know-and-be-able-to-do-asap http://thesurvivalmom.com/32-survival-skills-your-child-should-know-and-be-able-to-do-asap/#comments Tue, 25 Sep 2012 21:19:49 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10287 This list by Becky P. was a finalist in our List Contest. Thanks, Becky, for an excellent entry! Knowledge is something that takes time to develop, so we need to start teaching the next generation now.  In case God forbid, Read More

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This list by Becky P. was a finalist in our List Contest. Thanks, Becky, for an excellent entry!

image by vastastateparkstaff

Knowledge is something that takes time to develop, so we need to start teaching the next generation now.  In case God forbid, our children are left to fend for themselves or we are injured or even just to make your family more apt to survive, every child must learn these survival skills so they can pull their own weight and contribute as much as they can.  If your family learns now to be a well oiled machine, you will be more likely to survive any type of collapse.

  1. Grow vegetables from seeds
  2. Have local edible and medicinal plant foraging skills
  3. Knowledge of dietary needs and how to meet them using wild plants and game
  4. Make a fire and know fire safety
  5. Cook on an open fire
  6. Open a can of food with and without can opener (rub can lid ridge on cement and then pry open with knife)
  7. Be able to tell if food is too spoiled to eat
  8. How to safely use a knife
  9. How to shoot a sling shot
  10. How to hunt small game with snares, traps and sling shot
  11. How to fish and hunt-bow & gun when old enough
  12. How to clean fish and wild game
  13. Find water and identify if it’s safe to drink
  14. Filter and boil water to drink
  15. Basic first aid
  16. Basic hygiene practices
  17. Find or build a shelter in the wilderness
  18. How to stay warm, cool and dry in the elements
  19. How, Why and When to stay hidden
  20. Self defense
  21. How to make a basic weapon and how to use it
  22. Be able to run and walk a good distance and be in generally good shape
  23. How to climb a tree- to get away from predators, get directional barrings, and hunt.
  24. How to read a map and use a compass
  25. How to read the sky for directions, time and approaching bad weather
  26. Know where family and friends live if they need to find them
  27. How to sew so they can mend clothing or any fabric and even make things such as bags or scrap quilts
  28. How to bargain and trade (Kids naturally do this with their toys so teach them at garage sales.)
  29. How to be responsible for themselves and to be aware of their surroundings at all times
  30. Have a natural curiosity and good problem solving skills
  31. Be hard working and a self starter and a family helper not a complainer!
  32. Have a strong faith in God (morals, memorize bible verses, prayers, songs, and have a hope for heaven)

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One in a million. Would your spouse live the off-grid lifestyle? http://thesurvivalmom.com/one-in-a-million-would-your-spouse-live-the-off-grid-lifestyle/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=one-in-a-million-would-your-spouse-live-the-off-grid-lifestyle http://thesurvivalmom.com/one-in-a-million-would-your-spouse-live-the-off-grid-lifestyle/#comments Mon, 24 Sep 2012 12:05:21 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10270 Guest post by Dan of Surviving Survivalism. One in a million spouses, that is, would dare live the survivalist/self-sufficient lifestyle. The thought came to me as I watched my wife, Sheila, sweep the plywood floors of our hacienda style house Read More

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Guest post by Dan of Surviving Survivalism.

One in a million spouses, that is, would dare live the survivalist/self-sufficient lifestyle. The thought came to me as I watched my wife, Sheila, sweep the plywood floors of our hacienda style house and thought to myself, how many wives would even consider living this way?  The plywood floors will be replaced next spring with tapped clay floors – and that will present its own challenges – but really, when you break it down, how many of us have a spouse who would even for  minute consider the self-sufficient, minimalist life style?  Truth is, maybe 1 in a million.

image by Paul Schultz

Just take a look at survivalist single sites.  It’s mostly men looking for a woman to share their cabin in the wilderness with. Women have a nesting instinct (nothing sexist in that remark, it’s just a truth of physiology) and usually seem to know exactly what they want.  Men also know exactly what they want.  Regrettably, the two seldom find common ground.

One of the books of ancient wisdom says, “Two cannot walk together lest they be agreed.”  Unfortunately, we have seen a lot of people trying to do just that – living the off-grid life because that’s what their partner wants, not because that’s what they want.  This always results in failure.  All too often that failure exhibits itself in sub-conscious self-sabotage.

I can’t count the number of times someone has contacted us to ask us to convince their spouse to agree with them about the need to prepare.  Certainly more than the number of times we’ve met a couple who shared the same sentiments about the self-sufficient lifestyle.  And it’s about 50/50 as to whether it’s the woman or the man in the relationship who “needs convincing”.

But the truth is, you can’t – and shouldn’t try – to convince anyone to live a lifestyle that is foreign to them.  All you can do is put the information before them and allow them to do with it what they will.  If that is ignore it or run away from it, then they’ll ignore it and run away from it.  If they ask more questions, perhaps they can face the reality of what is happening and can understand the need to take action after being given a bit more information.  But if the significant other cannot bring themselves to make a life-change, then the next step is to make your decision.  You may choose to go on to a new lifestyle without your spouse – or you may choose to stay where you both are.  Each circumstance is unique and no decision about this should be judged by others outside of the relationship.  But if you make the decision to stay, do it with your eyes open and without resentment of the other person.  Do it because it’s your choice, given all the information, emotional information included.

However, in the infinitesimal number of cases in which both spouses are of the same mind about living the self-sufficient/survivalist life, amazing things can be accomplished by two people who love each other and work together on a common goal.

Certainly, one can survive alone.  But if you are going to live the self-sufficient life with someone, make sure it’s someone who honestly has the same goal as you.

Dan and Sheila are the authors of Surviving Survivalism – How to Avoid Survivalism Culture Shock and hosts of the free podcast, Still Surviving with Dan and Sheila, both available at  http://survivingsurvivalism.com.   

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8 Vital skills to teach your children that will trump an Ivy League education http://thesurvivalmom.com/7-vital-skills-to-teach-your-children-that-will-trump-an-ivy-league-education/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=7-vital-skills-to-teach-your-children-that-will-trump-an-ivy-league-education http://thesurvivalmom.com/7-vital-skills-to-teach-your-children-that-will-trump-an-ivy-league-education/#comments Sun, 08 Jul 2012 00:42:57 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=9901 A few weeks ago I was in a particularly depressed mood. That’s not the norm for me, but this time it was completely justified. I was pondering my children’s futures. College prices have sky-rocketed, far surpassing wage increases. My daughter Read More

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image by vastastateparkstaff

A few weeks ago I was in a particularly depressed mood. That’s not the norm for me, but this time it was completely justified. I was pondering my children’s futures.

College prices have sky-rocketed, far surpassing wage increases. My daughter will be ready for college in five years. Will we be able to afford a college education for her or even pay a percentage of it?  And, if she does go to college, what will she major in that will provide a reliable career in a world whose future is increasingly unreliable?

Perhaps my kids should learn a trade that would provide a rock-solid income, but what would that be? As a mom, I want their futures to be as secure as possible, giving them a chance of achieving their dreams and a comfortable lifestyle.

As you might imagine, it was right around this point that my thinking got pretty muddled. Is there a career that’s EMP-proof? A job that will provide their families with an income even if the dollar goes belly up and America, as we know it, declines forever?

I’m still not sure what path they should take, and of course they have a say in their future plans! However, my brain lit upon something that gave me hope as I contemplated a dismal future.

What’s more important than a college degree?

The future job market may be bleak for professions from A to Z, but people will always, always, look for and need leaders. People who have the skills, confidence, and personality to stand up and lead. Isn’t that what our world is crying out for right now? Leadership?

image by (Blue Sky)

My son could easily become an electrician, capable of wiring a building, knowing electrical code, and also able to give direction, focus, and encouragement to his peers and family. Perhaps my daughter will become a florist, but why can’t she also live her life with goals and a vision and inspire others to do the same? It’s those leadership qualities and skills that may very well trump another person’s Ivy League education.

I believe the future belongs to those who possess leadership skills and are willing to step out and lead. Leadership, though, is mostly taught and nurtured. Skills such as decisiveness, ambition, the ability to motivate and inspire are not taught in the public school. I spent 9 years in the classroom as a public school teacher and another 4 as a school district trainer. Trust me. There is nothing in the public school curriculum that teaches leadership skills. If your child is to become a leader in a tumultuous and unpredictable future, you will have to teach him or her yourself.

What skills and qualities should you begin focusing on? Here are a few:

Communication skills

From an early age, give your children practice speaking to and with adults. At restaurants, insist that they place their own orders with the waitress. Stand back and let them approach the librarian or store clerk with their questions. Be willing to sit and just listen to your child as they put their thoughts and emotions into words. Enroll them in activities that will require them to make speeches or presentations or communicate with the general public. Many adults shrink away from this themselves, but it’s impossible to be a leader without effective communication skills.

Even if there is no need for your child to earn money, getting a job is an excellent way to learn how to communicate with all sorts of people. My first job was at J.C. Penney and I had to work in the children’s clothing department. I learned how to strike up conversations with customers, ask my boss for help when I needed it, and not crawl into a hole when the store manager showed up! All lifelong skills!

Creating a vision

All children have fantasies and dreams for their futures. Encourage them to talk about what they want to be when they grow up, what they want to do, to build, to create. Nothing meaningful on this earth has ever been accomplished without, first, a vision. Our world has been greatly enhanced by people like Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison. They let their imaginations run wild, and apparently, so did their parents!

Setting and achieving goals

image by RDECOM

Once your child has a vision for something, help him or her break it down into smaller parts. Setting and achieving goals is an enormous confidence builder but too many people, including most adults, have no idea of the power of goal-setting. Start with a small goal, perhaps earning a certain amount of money or achieving some specific goal in a school subject. Write out the goal and what has to be done in order to complete it. This teaches kids to know what they want and what has to be done to get it.

Courage in the face of opposition

We live in a world where too few people have courage. They are too willing to behave like sheep and kowtow to the latest version of political correctness. A real leader stands up for what he or she believes in the face of ridicule, prejudice, and rejection. As well, it takes courage to finish a difficult task and overcome obstacles of every kind. Facing peer pressure is another chance to be courageous and do the right thing.

Confidence

Confidence comes with competence. Require your kids to always to their best and to not make excuses. However, don’t expect them to succeed in something without thorough instruction. That applies to school subjects, athletic endeavors, and even household chores. I used to get frustrated at my son’s attempts to load the dishwasher until I realized that I had never actually taught him how to do it! Don’t demand a high level of competency without making sure your child understands exactly how to accomplish the task. Once they are competent and experience repeated successes, just watch their confidence soar!

Ability to encourage others

We all need a pat on the back, a word of encouragement, or a note of appreciation. Let your child see from your own actions what it means to encourage others and give them opportunities to do the same. Perhaps they could write a kind note to a friend who lost a pet or send a get-well card to a relative. Our culture encourages isolation and selfishness, but this will teach your kids a more rewarding way of interacting with others.

Honesty

People will never trust a leader who they know to be dishonest. Honesty brings with it respect and admiration. Reward truthfulness and integrity every time you notice it.

Decision making

image by Ernst Vikne

I have a friend who decided what her daughter should wear each day until the girl was at least 11 years old. Yes, she was always perfectly coordinated, but without meaning to, I’m sure, her mother was teaching her to doubt her own decisions. Part of learning to make smart decisions is bearing the consequences of poor ones. When my kid spend all their money foolishly, I don’t slip them a ten when they see something else they want! Let your kids make decisions. Talk about what they give up if they make Decision A versus Decision B. It’s important to take into consideration the consequences of their decisions and learn to not rush into something without giving it plenty of thought.

How should these be taught?

  • Point out examples of leadership in movies, TV, literature, and real life. Be specific in explaining why that person, or character, is a good leader. For example, one reason many people look up to Ron Paul, regardless of political beliefs, is because he speaks his mind, even when his opinion is unpopular and he stands a good chance of being criticized. It’s important to actually label the specific leadership skill or quality.
  • Ask your child to look for examples of leadership among your circle of family and friends and tell you why that person is a leader.
  • Encourage your child to read biographies of famous people and then analyze their leadership qualities and skills.
  • When you observe these skills in your child, be sure to point them out and praise them.
  • Set family goals and track progress with a chart or a marble jar.
  • Family meetings can be helpful in discussing decisions, conflicts, and goals. They also give each family member the chance to express their opinions and feelings. In other words, they can help develop important leadership skills.
  • Give children an allowance in order to help them make decisions involving money. Teach them how to keep a ledger of income, outgo, and savings.

You and I have no way of knowing what careers will be “hot” in ten or twenty years, but in a way, that doesn’t matter. Young adults facing the future with the confidence that comes with these leadership qualities and skills are ready to tackle anything and succeed, even without that Ivy League education.

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The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 9, Our Favorite Things http://thesurvivalmom.com/the-12-days-of-christmas-day-7-our-favorite-things/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-12-days-of-christmas-day-7-our-favorite-things http://thesurvivalmom.com/the-12-days-of-christmas-day-7-our-favorite-things/#comments Thu, 22 Dec 2011 10:30:32 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=2663 I was never an avid Oprah fan, but every year I looked forward to her holiday episode, “Oprah’s Favorite Things.”  If you haven’t seen one of these episodes, they were pretty spectacular.  Oprah would present about a dozen or so Read More

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I was never an avid Oprah fan, but every year I looked forward to her holiday episode, “Oprah’s Favorite Things.”  If you haven’t seen one of these episodes, they were pretty spectacular.  Oprah would present about a dozen or so products that she fell in love with that particular year.  She raved about it, would sometimes interviews the inventor or designer, and then with a big fanfare, Oprah employees walked in with that particular gift for everyone in the audience.  You couldn’t help but wish you were sitting there!

image by ginnerobot

image by ginnerobot

Here’s a fun way you can replicate that idea in a budget-friendly gift idea.  Put together a collection of your family’s own favorite things and items that represent the best parts of the past year.  These could be favorite foods you’ve discovered, a gift card to your favorite restaurant, photos of some of your family’s favorite memories for the year, a favorite CD or DVD or a product you’ve fallen in love with.

My own box of favorite things for this year will include:

  • a box of Kodiak Cakes mix
  • Patriotsby James Wesley Rawles
  • photos of my kids on their swim team
  • a gift card to Chipotle. On all our family travels this year, we ate plenty of Chipotle burritos and loved it!
  • waterproof matches.  Sounds silly, but the kids and I tested them, and they really work!
  • a pillowcase sewn by my daughter.  She learned how to sew this year and loves it.
  • a gift card to a bowling alley (We re-discovered this fun sport just recently.)
  • half-pound of See’s California Brittle
  • a copy of The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.  Our family has loved the entire Percy Jackson series.
  • recipes for two favorite main dishes I discovered this year

Get the idea?  This can be a whole family project with each person contributing and there’s no limit when it comes to creativity.  The gifts can be handmade or homemade and don’t have to cost a dime, and if you’ll be mailing this across the miles, it’s possible to put everything in a flat-rate envelope. Plus, deciding what to include brings back lots of fond memories.

There’s still time to put this together.  It might be the best gift your family has given!

 

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The 12 Days of Christmas: Day 3, Light Up Someone’s Holiday http://thesurvivalmom.com/the-12-days-of-christmas-day-3-light-up-someones-holiday/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-12-days-of-christmas-day-3-light-up-someones-holiday http://thesurvivalmom.com/the-12-days-of-christmas-day-3-light-up-someones-holiday/#comments Thu, 15 Dec 2011 19:00:04 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=2581 Do you ever get tired of all the beautiful, sparkling lights decorating trees and homes at this time of year?  I never do.  I love watching the faces of our kids when they spy yet another home all lit up Read More

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Do you ever get tired of all the beautiful, sparkling lights decorating trees and homes at this time of year?  I never do.  I love watching the faces of our kids when they spy yet another home all lit up for Christmas.  We’re keeping a list, and checking it twice, of all the homes on our block that are lit up!

Not everyone has the means or ability to decorate, however.  Is there a senior citizen in your neighborhood or a family struggling to make ends meet who would love a strand or two of lights scattered around their front yard?  An inexpensive wreath and window decals can add a touch of extra Christmas spirit to a hospital room or the smallest apartment.  You might even have an unwanted artificial tree sitting in the garage or attic that might be an appreciated gift to someone who won’t be able to afford a real one.

photo by krisdecurtis

photo by krisdecurtis

And don’t forget families who celebrate Hanukkah.  Blue and white lights, a box of Hanukkah candles, and, of course, a plate of homebaked goodies spread the real meaning of the season.

Another way to enjoy the holiday lights is to give a homemade certificate to the “First Place Winner” among all the homes decorated in your neighborhood.  Last year we handed out two certificates, left them by the front doors, actually, to the two homes we thought had the best light displays.  It was fun biking around our neighborhood, and then having a family pow-wow in the freezing temperatures to make our final choices!

This season can be one of beauty, warm memories, and excitement, but this year, there are thousands of newly unemployed people, and more families than ever who won’t have money for gifts and all the other holiday traditions of the past.  This Christmas, more than ever, let’s all look for ways to light up someone’s holiday.

 

 

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Raising Children in a Chaotic World http://thesurvivalmom.com/raising-children-in-a-chaotic-world/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=raising-children-in-a-chaotic-world http://thesurvivalmom.com/raising-children-in-a-chaotic-world/#comments Sun, 27 Nov 2011 10:30:19 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=7829 Guest post by John A. Heatherly, author of Survival Template. The best way to manage an overwhelming emergency or crisis is to break it up into manageable parts. This method of organized dissection improves rational thinking, stress  management and emotional Read More

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Guest post by John A. Heatherly, author of Survival Template.

The best way to manage an overwhelming emergency or crisis is to break it up into manageable parts.

This method of organized dissection improves rational thinking, stress  management and emotional response.

Recently I was asked for my thoughts on the management of a complex scenario that can be extremely overwhelming:  raising children in an increasingly chaotic world.  The question left

image by valentinapowers

me feeling doubtful as I considered some of the painful possibilities that could unfold in the life of my little boy and those of his generation.

This emotional issue deserves to be dissected into manageable parts, and the following is my attempt to do so.  Of course, each of these pieces is complex in its own right, but the process makes sense, and certainly is less overpowering than considering the problem as a vast unknown.  These manageable segments are somewhat in order of priority but also simultaneous and interchangeable.

1) Love and respect the children’s mother.  Many times I have heard the great Lou Holtz say that this habit effectively and powerfully instills security in a child’s mind.

2) Encourage a child to develop a personal Faith – not something borrowed, academic, or dogmatic, but a positive and practical belief system that will shape his or her reality.

image by Tony Tran

3) Choose to personally approach daily scenarios with a positive attitude and a broad, realistic perspective.  My little boy emulates my responses to almost everything, and I need to constantly analyze my own reactions.  This is especially true when choosing to show kindness rather than frustration in small, daily interactions.

4) Demonstrate personal responsibility for outcomes, without constantly blaming other people/organizations or relying on other people/organizations.  A parent’s demonstration of happy self-reliance teaches a child that self-reliance is possible and achievable.

5) Write down goals and objectives and teach children to do so.  It just works!

6) Perpetually focus on the fine things in life: family, friends, music, art, and Mother Nature are a few examples.

7) Seek out friends who share a positive outlook and positive goals.  This is tricky when considering a child’s education, as schools and peer-groups often present negativity.

These seven manageable tasks are certainly not conclusive, and I welcome suggested additions to the list.  Truthfully, my children and your children could create solutions to our world’s chaotic problems if raised in an environment that includes successful role models.  I pray that I can daily live up to the challenge.

Read more about John’s proven system of applying a survival template to goal setting and read his new book, The Medicine Symbol, here.

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INSTANT SURVIVAL TIP: Hold your loved ones close http://thesurvivalmom.com/instant-survival-tip-hold-your-loved-ones-close/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=instant-survival-tip-hold-your-loved-ones-close http://thesurvivalmom.com/instant-survival-tip-hold-your-loved-ones-close/#comments Sat, 08 Oct 2011 20:09:25 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=7536 In times of stress, too often husbands and wives turn on each other.  Maybe it’s the, “If I’m miserable, I want everybody to be miserable,” mindset.  Whether the stress is caused by money problems or just a vacation gone bad, Read More

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image by B Tal

In times of stress, too often husbands and wives turn on each other.  Maybe it’s the, “If I’m miserable, I want everybody to be miserable,” mindset.  Whether the stress is caused by money problems or just a vacation gone bad, it’s easy to forget how important family relationships are to our survival.

Recently, our family had a brush with a very scary medical emergency that involved one of our children.  As we drove to the emergency room, my first thought was, “I have to call Stephen.”  If there was one person I wanted in that ER with me, it was my husband.  Yeah, he would help me remain calm, his being there would reassure the kids, but above all, he’s the only person on earth who has as big a stake as I do in the health, welfare, and happiness of our family.

So what’s my tip?  Recognize the ways stress affects  you and your relationships with your family members and other loved ones, especially your spouse.  Step away, physically, if you must in order to slow down and avoid saying words that will damage relationships.  I’ve taught my kids, “Just about anything you do in anger will be a mistake.”

If tougher times arrive for America, we are all going to need each other, but more importantly, we’ll need the love and support of our nearest and dearest.  Hold them close.  Hug them tight.

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