Monday, April 6, 2015

Raising Self Reliant Youth - Part I

Convey Awareness | Raising Self Reliant Youth - a Collaborative Post, Part I

Welcome to Part I of II. This post was originally planned to be all inclusive but when I received the submissions, it was a no-brainer. I had to share their content over two posts. I didn't want to compress their content to fit my blog or it would have lost their voices and the overall feel would have been depleted. Part II will be available on Monday, April 13th. 

Let's get started...

Children. When you see them, what do you think about first? Do any of the adjectives in the above picture come to mind ... at all? Gosh, I hope so!

When you talk with children, you may ask them what they want to be when they grow up - isn't it peculiar how we are automatically (generally speaking) always looking to the future and hurrying along this stage in their life (whatever age they're in, you're thinking about the tomorrows). I know I do sometimes when I look at my son with admiration as I think to myself, "I wonder what he'll be like when he's 8 or 11 or 15?" But in our family, we do our darndest to focus on the present moments. 

Besides, what we do today, will have lasting effects into the future. Our children will always be our children but they will not always be young (or little). The shocker: They will grow up and move on / out but if you ask my six year old, he will live with me and his dad forever. And, how I know this reply could change when he's a teenager so I will remember these moments and cherish them. What we say and do today will echo for a long time. Let's work together in raising self reliant youth

Yes our youth needs us while they're young but as their care providers, we can encourage them to soar with the eagles and that whatever they do in this life, to do it with love and compassion for others. 

Convey Awareness | Self Reliant definition

I'm sure you remember feeling invincible in your younger years. You may felt fearless. Maybe you still do! Matter of fact, you probably had no fear until it was learned or experienced. Our youth has the innate ability to create goodness in the world. Do you believe that? You have the ability too! We must walk in this as they are our witnesses and trust me, they're holding us accountable!

Have you ever noticed that children are compassionate little beings? Concerned about those around them - things in nature, children younger than them, maybe they ask to pray about people they haven't met yet because God laid them on their heart? Have you noticed that we can learn a lot from our youth? I bet you and I can agree here that you have never known love until you became a care provider, giver, or parent.

Children are our future. Yes, we have heard that but what does that really mean? It means as their care providers that as they are learning about life in their stage, we are learning along with them. When we stop learning, we stop growing, and when we stop growing, we show them that they too know it all at their stage too (because that's essentially what we are showing them through our actions). 

Will you join us in furthering the cause of raising self-reliant youth? You may not be a parent but you live on this planet and when our time is up, they ("our" youth (future generations)) will be here to carry on. Let's give them a strong foundation. 

Convey Awareness | Raising Self Reliant Youth - Native American Proverb

I have sought permission to share these works and content for the purpose of this two part collaborative post. May you be further encouraged in your journey!

Sodbusting the Next Generation

"For as long as I can remember, I have always had the vision of the Little House on the Prairie home. Maybe more of a ranch house than a hut though… but with all my children enjoying the fresh sunshine and no allergies to speak of. I see my daughters and me hanging up the crisp white laundry out in the sun and my boys working alongside my husband in the more farm life of plowing and preparing the fields. I see rosy happy children playing in the grass that naturally grows and blowing dandelions into the gentle breeze. Isn't that a beautiful picture? One I always see before me; being self-reliant, eating from our gardens, butchering our own food, bartering for necessities. Enjoying life to the fullest. 

Cue reality. The reality is, I have allergies, and hanging laundry can be a sneezing task during the spring time. Instead of natural growing grass under my bare feet (because putting shoes on end up taking more time than I have rushing to the next awaiting task) I have desert dirt under me, in the summer, I can easily get burned. My children are playing cops and robbers as they run through the freshly planted garden beds because they are immersed in their playing.  The neighborhood’s cats love the freshly dug ground and they use it as their litter box.  

While I once had 9 lovely chickens that the whole neighborhood loved and enjoyed, I recently had to cut it down to 2 based on city laws about “health and safety” (please don’t get me started on the fact that my neighbors have 6 dogs and never clean up after them but my chickens are a health hazard). The gist is, it is far from my vision. But that should not, and does not stop me from making sure my children are involved in working on that dream.  Especially as I see a generation so dependent on others that they truly have no idea how to take care of themselves. I honest to goodness had a young new wife ask me how to make Ramen noodles. 

As I said, it is important for me to instill that sense of independence in my children so that they don’t spend life trying to figure out how to live but that they can live in order to help others in life. I am learning about gardening. 

While I know how to go outside and drop some seeds in a hole, it was actually my husband, who spent most of his childhood in the soil, which taught me the best way to yield a good garden. And now, as I learn, I teach and my husband will gently correct and teach the children as well. Not only do we teach gardening but how to use this gardening… my kids know that swiss chard can make wonderful quiche, carrots from the garden taste so much better than the store. They know what kale is and they are learning how a teeny tiny seed can change into something wonderful and wholesome (can you see another lesson here!).  

When the neighborhood children come, my children teach them! They teach them how vegetable scraps composting can make wonderful rich soil that puts nutrients back into the ground. They show how the nasty june bug larva we get are bad for the garden but wonderful chicken food! We learned that not everyone has the opportunity to learn this stuff and it is important to teach, they say it takes a village!  We recently learned about the community garden in our area (imagine that! The middle of the Mojave Desert has a community garden) and I have been trying to make it a point to bring the children to be able to give them the volunteering aspect as well as still learning from expert gardeners. There is so much to learn and so much we can do to enrich their lives.  

The children we raise now will be the adults we seek later in life. Not to sound harsh and judgmental here, I’m not! Each family needs to raise its OWN family; I won’t raise yours and so on.  But my husband and I made it our ambition to show children there is a world outside of the electronic world of video games and that you can’t produce something from it rather than a score. We have a generation of adult people that spend so much time on computers and video games and nothing really to show for it. We need that time to wind down, I absolutely agree, but studies have shown that a well-balanced diet is good for the health and mentality of age. The same should be said for the electronic world and more and more people are realizing this! It’s not just me saying it. That all being said, I want to raise my children up to be like their daddy. My husband is the hardest working man I know. He is involved in their lives; he is their biggest fan because he knows what they are learning since he is involved in teaching it. I want to teach that generation! I do that well when I have their full attention. I am not a perfect mom, I will fail, but I want to bring up my children so that where I fail they have the tools to seek out for themselves a solution rather than just me handing everything on a platter to them."

Convey Awareness | Raising Self Reliant Youth - Sodbusters OwnerChallice Neipp, owner of Sodbusters is the stay-at-home-mother of 4 children working hard on their little home in the city.  When she is not blogging, journaling or homeschooling, she can generally be found sewing, knitting, reading, teaching, gardening, cleaning, and anything related to pastime. Challice is best known for pinching pennies on an almost non-existent budget and loves to share with others what she has found to work in life. 

Display Passion

"I believe that “actions speak louder than words.”  So I also believe that the most memorable lessons come through active participation with a passionate teacher. When a teacher believes in you and has a passion for what they are teaching, learning is inevitable. So in raising self-reliant children, who will build communities and families, we must believe in what we are teaching them and convey it with love and passion. Otherwise we end up teaching actions and behaviors without the passion and motivation necessary to be enduring and successful.

There are three concepts that a young person must learn in order to be self-reliant: generosity, stewardship, and consideration. We must teach them repetitively until learning takes place. Generosity requires giving without the expectation of return. A big-hearted person does things with their whole heart and invests fully. We are all self-centered by nature so this is not an easy lesson, but by sharing love, time, and materials with others the lesson is learned by doing.

Next is stewardship, which in this context, is the careful and responsible management of resources. In order to be self-reliant, you must efficiently manage what you have so it will last. When given a resource we cannot, in fear, dig a hole and hide it in hopes that it will sustain itself and gain worth; this is unrealistic. Be it money, knowledge, skills, or a network of contacts, each must be faithfully managed today in order to meet the needs of tomorrow.  

Finally, self-reliant youth must consider the needs of others. Building sustainable and healthy families and communities require the united efforts of many people. Blind ambition sought in unethical ways destroys the unity necessary for success. “No man is an island” and no island is made by a single man; therefore, considering your neighbor’s needs is essential in building a bright future."

Convey Awareness | Raising Self Reliant Youth - CWOW MinistriesPastor Dennit Goodwin, Jr. joins his parents in providing leadership of the Church Without Walls Outreach Ministries. His church is dedicated to helping meet the needs of residents in the Southern Maryland community who are struggling to survive spiritually, socially, and economically. Dennit believes all people are called to be God’s vessels - handcrafted to meet a specific intent. He enjoys working with people to help them identify, develop, and walk in their God-given gifts. Dennit lives in Maryland with his inspirational and gorgeous wife and two beautiful daughters. 

Responsibility Comes with Great Rewards 

“In a time where the internet rules our day, I question how I was able to raise three amazingly self-sufficient, reliable children without the use of such technology.
Technology has come a long way in just a few years and although I had my children working in the “JumpStart” programs fifteen plus years ago, we did not have iPad or cell phones with tons of learning applications like we do today. That being said, I believe, that not having such distractions gave me a greater opportunity to teach my children by giving them daily tasks and allowing them to receive reward for those tasks. Multiple tasks were given daily with rewards that were not money based. I did not pay my children to do the chores that they would later be expected to do without pay.  

I think that the greatest reward for a child is to see that they have made someone happy; so part of our daily tasks was to help or do something kind for someone—usually outside of the family – that would put a smile on their face, and in turn, put a smile on the faces of my children. Giving my children tasks and expecting them to do their best to complete the things that they were told to, helped them to grow into incredibly responsible, self-reliant adults.   

In the collage below, here are just a few examples of what my children are up to nowadays and the dog park is now open in the city of Ridgecrest! (See the article on this project here.) 

From left to right, dental assistant; built first dog park; and assistant student body president."
~ Cheryl H. 

Convey Awareness | Raising Self Reliant Youth

Choose, eat, and live well! =) 

Stay tuned please for Part II (this link will be available on 4/13 at 6:30 a.m. PST). 

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  1. What a bright light you must be to attract all of these submissions. We also hope that our children grow up to be so strong, that they are able to help others, reach out to their neighbors, and be engaged with a family of their own.