Thursday, July 9, 2015

3 Survival Skills You Need to Pay for Your Children to Learn

Well hello there!  Thanks for being here.  Today I have an interesting post about certain survival skills you should pay (or will need to pay in some way) for your children to learn.  I realize many of you are riding the frugalist wave, and would rather not pay for many things you feel are not necessary; when it comes to your children, certain expenses are necessary.

1.  Swimming Lessons.  I learned how to swim the old fashion way.  My dad taught me.  While still living in Meoqui, Chihuahua, Mexico, my family would go to the Rio San Pedro on hot summer days to cool off.

Learning how to swim there would pay off later; our first place in America (circa 1983) was a one-bedroom apartment in San Jose, and the complex had a pool.  We swam in it like everyday it seemed while it was open, sometimes without parental supervision.  No lifeguards were present either.  It's a miracle no one drowned.

Many of us were taught how to swim by our parents or relatives.  After attending my first swimming lessons last week at the YMCA for Ajani (2) and Rehani (3.7), I've come to realize I don't know enough about swimming to teach someone else, my children especially, the true art of this survival skill.  My wife, Jessica, and I are spending a mere $32 (Ajani was free) for a two-week class at two times per week (30-minute sessions) and so far the instructors have taught me a thing or two about teaching children to swim.  We'll be paying for more sessions for sure.

You may know how to swim, but when it comes to teaching your children, just pay up for lessons people, even if you don't live near a body of water.

Too many teenagers in this country die each year because they never learned how to swim.  Now here's something else you should pay for if available: a class on water conditions for rivers, lakes, and oceans.  It's not enough to be a strong swimmer, recognizing the dangers before getting in the water may save your young adult's life one day.

2. Riding a Bike. stink at teaching your kids how to ride a bike.  You'll get them through the initial stages, overcoming fear, and then learning the basic skill, but then many of you stop there, believing your mission is complete.  If I had a nickel for every time I saw a kid riding his/her bike to school (I have been driving to school the past 14 years so I know) without a helmet, not wearing gloves, on the wrong side of the road, etc.  There are more cars on the road then when you and I learned how to ride a bike!

I'm a cyclist.  Been riding a road bike since early 2007.  There's not a ride I take where I don't avoid getting hit by car at least once with my heightened safety senses, anticipating what idiot drivers will do, like block the bike lane, come out a street for a left turn and not see me coming, etc.  Once you teach your child to ride a bike, do not let them ride to school without first taking them to a bicycle safety course.  The class may be free or it may cost you a bit, but it is more than worth it to pay.  Also, shell out the money for a good helmet ($40-$80) and not a cheapo one.  These protect your child's brain!  Buy your kid bike gloves ($11-$20) too.  The first body part that contacts the ground usually is an open hand...abrasions!

Helmet, gloves, and a fine tuned machine...don't forget to take your kid's bike in to the bike shop for a mechanical inspection.

3. Driving Ed Lessons/Driving School.  Similar to riding a bike, you can be a great driver yourself (most likely you're over-confident) and teach your teen how to drive.  If you've ever gotten a ticket, you're probably not fit to teach your young adult to drive.  Sorry.  You'll spend just enough time with them to learn the skill, take their test, and get their license.  You'll then feel like you've done your job as a parent.  Wrong!  Teenagers are horrible drivers!  

You should pay for a driving school to teach your teenager how to drive.  These schools and their instructors are up to date on the latest driving laws.  They will know driving tips you may not have in your repertoire, like always looking to your left prior to entering an intersection even with a green light to anticipate red light violators.

Driving Ed classes may be necessary in your state.  Most are around $20 for online versions.  Driving school sessions are around $250.  You should also find the local Sheriff's department and see if they offer a free "scare" class on driving, the type you'll need to be present for where they show images of dead teens who died while texting, doing something they shouldn't have been doing while driving.  The high school I worked at used to offer these to students and two San Diego Sheriff Deputies were the presenters.  I've worked with thousands of teens over fourteen years at the high school level...they don't think!  Trust'll need a battery of different people telling your teen about the dangers of driving to get them to begin to take it seriously.  Don't make them pay for this stuff on their own, with their part-time job money.  They won't want to do it.  Just fork over the cash already!

Lastly on driving...if you can get your child to learn to drive a stick shift, then give yourself more great parenting points.  You never know when your son or daughter may be in an emergency need to drive an older vehicle for help or to get away.  If it's stick and they only learned automatic, then what?

It's okay to be frugal on most things, but when it comes to survival skills for your children, just spend the cash, people.  If you want to go further than the three above, here's a great resource by Primal Survival.  I have cotton tails foraging in my backyard.  I may have to teach Rehani and Ajani how to set a trap (we'll let it go obviously) but the lesson is important.  

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