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I've been hanging out on this board since the beginning. I've always had a fascination with worst-case scenarios and how people act, and react, when things fall apart. I am not expecting a "hard crash" scenario like a nuclear war, asteroid strike, or worldwide plague. I do think we are in severe risk of a financial crash a la Argentina. I also feel the need to prepare for major storms (e.g. hurricanes) and similar area-wide disasters (e.g. regional power failures). I usually refer to these as TSHTF scenarios. Anyone who's been to post-Katrina New Orleans or post-Ike Galveston understands how ugly a major storm can be.

A major complication for my TEOTWAWKI plans is that I am the head of a household with two young children. DD is in elementary school now; DS is a preschooler. Part of my preparations have been teaching them skills and values that would benefit them in a TEOTWAWKI scenario.

It's gotten too hot to camp now, but this spring we spent many weekends camping at Texas's many state parks. The kids got to practice pitching a test and sheltering out-of-doors. We demonstrated techniques for building a fire, including one memorable evening trying to build a fire in the dark during a howling windstorm. We cook over a camp stove and over the camp fire, to practice cooking in improvised situations. Sanitation is also sometimes improvised; DD now knows how to site and dig a cat hole. She also knows to pack her own TP because there probably won't be TP wherever she is going. Finally, we've practiced filtering ground water using a few methods, from fancy filter rigs from REI to an improved filter made from a flower pot (!) and chemical germ-killers. The camping gear is stored in two storage totes in the garage for easy bug-out loading. If we ever have to bug out and live in a tent for months on end, the kids are well-prepared.

We've always gardened. DD has gotten more involved in the gardening this year. If nothing else, we want the kids to know where food comes from. We practice organic gardening and pest control for the benefit of the environment; it's cheaper, and also good practice for a true TEOTWAWKI scenario where pesticides will not be available. Both kids love to harvest tomatoes and peppers, and bring them in to cook. This teaches them how to select food from the garden and what to discard. We've not been able to practice canning yet but would like to introduce DD to that as well.

Kids love to cook. We've spent a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking for ourselves from scratch. DD has learned the basics of preparing poor cuts of meat into delicious meals. She now knows the value of a good marinade. She understands that "low and slow" cooking can turn tough meat into "perfect pot roast" (her words!). We make a lot of baked goods from scratch, including bread and pizza dough. "Pizza night" means gathering around the kitchen table and making your own pizza, starting by spreading out a wad of pizza dough to make a crust. This has rapidly become the kids favorite meal. The main lesson we've been trying to impart is that dinner doesn't come from a box, or from a restaurant.

More important than a particular skill is a mindset. Both kids have already learned that we get what we want through hard work. They see this role-modeled for them around the house and in my work outside the home. DD gets a good-behavior allowance and she saves this up for what she wants. When she is close to a goal or needs extra money, she is always hustling us for additional chores or tasks she can do for a dollar. I think this will serve her well in life, TEOTWAWKI or not. Both kids have learned that "practice makes perfect." DD has become an accomplished piano and chess player through practice. DS is mastering soccer. Both cases have involved a lot of repetitive practice. It is delightful to see that "ah ha!" moment in their eyes, when they finally "get it" and what was impossible becomes easy.

So why did I write this epic saga?
• I wanted to share what I had been doing to prepare young children for TEOTWAWKI without scaring the daylights out of them.
• I wanted some feedback, suggestions on other things they might need to know, and just a general idea as to whether I'm on the right track.


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