Friday, February 22, 2019

Teaching your kids to not only to Survive but to do well in Life

I took my 10 year old to the movies this past weekend. We saw “Alita: Battle Angel” (liked it, good action movie and true enough to the comic).

So we’re sitting there, waiting for the movie to start, when I see this kid walk into the theatre.  He must have been about ten years old too, same as my boy. But this kid was easily twice his size, maybe more. The boy had no neck, just a giant roll of fat and a belly like a 9 month pregnant woman. Boobs like one too, printing through the loose basketball tank top he was wearing. He really did NOT need the large soda he had in his hand and whatever junk food he had in the other. The kid climbed the steps towards the row of seats in the back. Half way there he was already short of breath and you could hear him gasping for air. This ten your old literally struggled to walk across a room and climb a few steps.

The movie started and it was quite good. No, thankfully it wasn’t a liberal girl power mess but rather similar to the original Gunnm: Battle Angel Alita of 1993.

Driving back home I found myself again thinking about that kid, how bad his parents had clearly screwed up and how, while not perfect, I do pat myself in the back about how mine are turning out. My wife had asked our paediatrician about our ten year old being too thin. He emphatically told her not to change a thing in the boy’s diet, that he’s perfectly healthy and that she has no idea how many children are overweight and the many problems they have because of it.

Being a good parent isn’t always easy but it’s not rocket science either. It’s not that most parents out there didn’t read the right parenting book. It’s simply that they don’t care and that they’d rather be doing something else than spending time with their own children.

It’s easier to stuff a kid full of junk food than to teach him to eat fruits instead and explain why those are better for him. Or why even in Halloween he can only have so much candy because large amounts of processed sugar are terrible for him. If you let them eat an entire bag of candy they’ll let you watch TV or check out your Instagram in peace which is what most people want these days.
I’m no Dad of the Year but these are a few things I do with my kids, so that they are healthy, strong of mind and body.
  • Be there. Be a damn Dad. Do as much of the stuff you’re supposed to do. For some people its hiking, for others its camping, fishing, hunting, shooting but have some bonding activity and try to teach them valuable skills while at it. Above all, make those quality time moments happen. If you can’t be bothered to actually make them happen, then maybe you’re not Dad material and are better off not having kids at all.

  • Teach your kids to eat. The morbidly obese kid in the theatre is not something you see very often around here in Spain. Come to think of it, the movie was in its original language (English) and people going to these are mostly English speaking foreigners so there’s a good chance that’s exactly what he was. But its all about the food. Moving, walking, running, that’s all great for a child but a child is fat not because he’s not hitting the gym enough but because he’s eating garbage instead of real food. The same goes for adults. If you teach your kids well from an early age, they wont even be inclined to eat much processed food and downright find it unpalatable compared to real homemade food.

  • Teach your kids to fight. Knowing how to stand up for themselves is vital. At a certain point a kid has to understand that “tell the teacher” isn’t how the real world works, that they have to face their problems themselves. Standing up for yourself against your peers is a rite of passage for every boy. Most people fail at it, others succeed, and at the end of the day there’s a lesson there as well. My teenage son had to face his bully when little and successfully dealing with that hurdle noticeably changed him for the better. Recently my ten year old had to experience that as well, how sometimes violence is the only solution. It’s an important step and your child will remember it forever, for better or worse. Feeling scared, too afraid to fight back, its soul crushing for a 10 year old (bet it is for and adult as well). At the same time if they do find the courage to put a beating on them, the results are just as drastic. There’s an euphoria in fighting back, in beating your adversary, in winning. Nothing compares to it. You know you did well when the former bully now chases your kid wanting to be his friend instead.

  • Read with them. Every night, a few pages just before going to sleep. It’s sad how many kids have never read a single book other than the few short ones required for school. Once a kid starts appreciating reading, they will keep doing it on their own.

  • Teach them to think for themselves. Explain to them that what their teacher says, what they see on TV, its will most likely be agenda driven depending on who’s saying it and what interests it represents. You want your kid to be a free thinker, not another marketing target zombie that thinks and talks like everyone else in their social circle.

  • Support and incentive that which they are passionate about. For my oldest son, that’s computers and programing, so gifts are usually PC related, programing books and that sort of thing. For my ten year old its survival stuff, fire starting and fantasy books (he’s read all of the Harry Potter books and is now starting with The Hobbit, all of them in English)
Once your kids know what they are passionate about, then encourage them to be good at it. There’s a chance that either directly or indirectly, it may become a way or earning a living for them. If that’s the case, when you do that which you are passionate about, then they wont work a day in their lives and that goes a long way not only towards professional success but also happiness.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And, do whatever it takes to NOT send your child to the government for their education.

Government is to education what socialism/communism is to liberty.