Reason #4- Learning Preparedness
When I was little I lost SO many gloves and mittens. My mom would get frustrated trying to find replacements on our way out the door. I remember multiple Halloweens whining to my mom about putting my coat over my awesome Halloween costume. As I got older the whining turned to teenage angst arguments about putting a hat on my head. Which was insane, I spent 30 minutes getting my hair just right! Oh how the tides of time have turned. I have had each one of these conversations with at least one if not both of my children.
I don’t like to fret or stress over the little things. Especially when I only see my kids for a couple hours most weekday mornings. So I have devised a sneaky plan that goes like this. If a glove is lost, someone is going to have cold fingers for a couple days. If a hat is lost somebody is going to know what it feels like to have Nebraska winter wind blowing in their ears. If anyone doesn’t want to gear up just for the car ride to school, you better have the essentials stowed away in your back pack, unless they are otherwise lost. Sometimes kids just need to experience what it is us parents are trying to protect them from.
On weekends when we go out during below zero cold snaps, it doesn’t take long for an eight-year-old to figure out that the one size fits all thin knit gloves, he really wanted to wear, just aren’t doing it. One snowball strategically aimed so the broken bits fall into the collar of a coat where a scarf should be, will teach any teenager that looking cool is being prepared. Also whining about a snowball fight instigated by their mother is not doing them any favors. No one looks cool when they whine about that.
Don’t get me wrong, these lessons do go against all my motherly instincts to protect my children and in fact they may seem harsh to some. But let me tell you the results of this sneaky little plan. My eight-year-old son can get himself geared up to go outside in the cold winters of the prairie ALL BY HIMSELF. Pants, t-shirt, hoodie, coveralls, coat, ski mask, good gloves and boots. He only requests help with his boots, but then again my fourteen-year-old has the same request. I happily oblige.
My youngest also knows he will not get out for recess if he doesn’t have all his gear with him. He has a special bag for this and lugs it all by himself to and from school every day as soon as the ground freezes and snow hits. My fourteen-year-old has graduated from these lessons and now requests to sneak out of the house every morning in the dark to start the car so it’s not so cold. He doesn’t wear a coat but he knows to have one in the car, just in case. It’s one of those ‘pick your battle’ kind of things. But he knows. He’s experienced fingers so cold they hurt. He knows what it feels like to get snow down your warm back and the way nose hairs freeze.
A fierce prairie winter is our teacher and children can learn by their experiences with this powerful force of nature. My hope is if I show my children the tools they need to be prepared, I can rest a little easier and with more confidence that they can weather a storm.
SEE YOU OUT THERE!