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IPFS News Link • Raising Generation Next

Raising Competent Kids in an Incompetent World

• The Organic Prepper by Daisy Luther

It's probably no surprise that the young people of today aren't particularly independent.  Not only does the "education" system take great pains to mold them into a bunch of  terrified, follow-the-herd automatons, society, in general, doesn't force them to do much for themselves either.

I'll never forget when my oldest daughter came home for summer vacation after her first year of college.  She told me that her younger sister, age 13 at the time, was much more mature and competent than many of the kids in her student apartment building.  "I had to show a bunch of them how to do laundry and they didn't even know how to make a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese," she said.

Apparently they were likewise in awe of her ability to cook actual food that did not originate in a pouch or box, her skills at changing a tire, her knack for making coffee using a French press instead of a coffee maker, and her ease at operating a washing machine and clothes dryer.

One girl, she told me, kept coming to my daughter's apartment for tea and finally my daughter said, "I can't afford to keep giving you all my tea. You're going to have to make your own tea in your apartment. The girls said sadly that she couldn't because she didn't have a tea kettle. She was gobsmacked when my daughter explained how to boil water in a regular cooking pot for making tea.

At long last, my daughter admitted that even though she thought I was being mean at the time I began making her do things for herself, she's now glad that she possesses those skills.  Hers was also the apartment that had everything needed to solve everyday problems: basic tools, first aid supplies, OTC medicine, and home remedies.

This got me thinking about how life will be when disaster eventually strikes.

If the country is populated by a bunch of people who can't even cook a box of macaroni and cheese when their stoves function at optimum efficiency, and who can't figure out how to make something as simple as tea in a different cooking vessel, how on earth will they sustain themselves when they have to not only acquire their food, but must use off-grid methods to prepare it? How can someone who requires an instruction manual to operate a digital thermostat hope to keep warm when their home environment it controlled by wood they have collected and fires they have lit with it?

And honestly, we can't just blame the young people of today. We know that these types of skills aren't taught in school, so shere have their parents been? Why hasn't this generation been taught to cook, clean, problem-solve, and handle money? People often praise my kids for being competent but the things they do should not be that unusual. If you never give a kid responsibility or show them how to create a workaround, how do you expect them to magically be able to "adult" just because they hit some arbitrary age?

Let's look at some less dramatic, but more likely, situations. This isn't even about prepping, per se, but about life skills.

Job Loss

In the current economy, it might not even be as cut and dried as job loss – the new generation may never find work at all.  When you have little-to-no money, cost-cutting efforts in order to get by requires certain skills and adaptations to stay fed and clean.  Your kids need to know how to:

-Cook inexpensive, nutritious meals from scratch using pantry basics

-Do laundry by hand and hang it to dry

-Get from point A to point B using public transit or – gasp – by walking

-Budget limited money so that the most important things are paid first

-Mend and repair items instead of replacing them

Power Outage Due to Natural Disaster

We've all seen the aftermath of hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, and superstorms.  California just lost power for over a week to "prevent" wildfires.