Sarah Latimer: Inspiring Family Unity and Heroic Identity- Part 1

We’re preparing to see lots of green, and I don’t mean money. Irish Americans and actually Irish everywhere, as well as many who aren’t Irish but enjoy the celebrations, are gearing up for the annual festivities of St. Patrick’s Day, so “green” items are in all of the stores and either are or soon will be in the ads as well as notices about special events. So, what does this mean for us in the survival community?

Well, I was thinking about the ethnic and national pride surrounding this day. On this day those in our communities who we had no idea were of Irish heritage will wear green, shamrock hats, and buttons saying “I’m Irish” or something similar. Sometimes the garb actually borders on the ridiculous, but it is all part of the fun and pride in passing on the tradition. It’s as if the Irish come out of the woodwork and those who have any connection, regardless of how remote, to Ireland proudly exhibit their connection. For some, it is also a religious connection. They may point to God’s intervention upon a nation and His work to cleanse and protect a land, as the legends tell us of how St. Patrick cleaned Ireland of snakes and such. Regardless of the reason, shamrocks are the image; green is the color; green beer/ale is the beverage; corned beef is often on the menu; and music, dancing, and celebration are in order, not only in Ireland but across the United States and around the world. However, many Americans are not of Irish descent. Whatever our heritage, it’s just as important.

Why is our heritage important in these troubling days and in relationships to survival? Well, it is often in looking at history that we find answers, hope, and courage for the present and future circumstances. It is in unity with coordinated efforts that we are most likely to survive. In looking at how others survived and overcame obstacles, particularly those with whom we have connections (through family, community, faith, or even national or ethnic ties), we are able to teach our children and grandchildren that they belong to something greater than themselves and that they have the strength to also survive and overcome obstacles. We seek to find unity in our family and group and to have a godly pride, which means that we have good character and reflect well on God and others in our “group”.

Where this can go wrong is in teaching that any particular group is innately superior to others or that other groups are inferior. We’d do well to remember that nations rise and fall. We must remember that we are ultimately judged as individuals. None of us can take credit for choosing the ethnic group in which we were born or the nation where we were born. It seems to me to be ridiculous for a person to build their sense of self-worth upon their skin color, whether black, white, brown or anything else, since none of us have anything to do with that aspect of ourselves. However, we can look for the champions within our families, ethnicities, and nations and find inspirations within them because of the choices these individuals made and then teach our children and grandchildren about these individuals and the noble characteristics and choices they made. We can teach our children to look beyond and realize that they belong to something greater than themselves and to choose role models who are wholesome and good, while also respecting those who are different. In doing so, we encourage them to greatness and to see that even in hard circumstances, there is a future and greatness can be had.

If the United States recognized a national holiday for every ethnic group represented within it, we’d probably have one every day. However, we don’t need to close down a business to celebrate our “memberships” in the various groups to which we belong.

Survival “Membership” and Mentality in Family

We can celebrate our SurvivalBlog “membership” by publicly supporting it with a vote on ***LINK** top prepper website so others will know of the blog’s appropriate prominent position for reliable, original survival information. We can contribute articles and letters to the community resources, and we can gather with like-minded people in our communities to share ideas, discuss resources and scenarios, and practice our preps with bugout and bugin rehearsals. We can have regular family and group meetings to discuss and practice our preparedness training. Even the children can take part by practicing to use the manual resources they will need to use when SHTF, depending upon their age and ability.

To prepare and encourage your children, consider naming your survival group/family and/or developing a motto, jingle, or cheer for your survival work that keeps morale up. Children respond to music and reinforced phrases. So, for your little “Smith” (insert family name) children to keep them moving toward preparations and encouraged when things get tough, come up with something like “Smith’s gonna survive somehow, cause Smith’s got guts and know-how”. Then, read some stories of survival to them that are age-appropriate. The Swiss Family Robinson is a popular book for youngsters. Another, generic book for boys who overcame obstacles is Boys of Grit Who Became Men of Honor. A good book for girls to exemplify perseverance and integrity is The Basket of Flowers: A Tale for the Young. Keep them focused on the goal that “this family” can overcome obstacles with God’s help and a lot of hard work as well as some sacrifice. It can be fun, too! This little cheer/jingle is just one way to make it so.

We don’t get to choose our skin color nor do we usually get to choose our family either. However, some do choose their national citizenship, as that can change. Most significantly, we can choose to be citizens in the greatest kingdom– the Kingdom of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob– through faith in His Son. In our belief and following Jesus, we become family of God and must fervently love our brethren of all colors and nationalities.

“And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:…Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:…”I Peter 1:17-19, 22

This heavenly family is most certainly the group where we have the most to gain from being a member and where membership is a choice. Let’s talk about how we impart the idea of group identity onto our children, whether we are talking about our physical family or our spiritual one.

Celebrating and Imparting Group Identity to Younger Generations

Teaching our children and grandchildren the importance of family membership cannot be overemphasized! God instituted the family from the beginning and set it up as the core of civilization. It is the breakdown of the family and proper roles within the family that I believe is to blame for most of the societal crises we are experiencing. I don’t want to delve into that in this article, but I want to emphasize that devotion to family and roles in family is paramount. Teaching our children to honor their father and mother and to look out for one another and remain loyal to family, even to make personal sacrifices for the good of the family, is noble and expected. Using history is a good way to train them in this. Here are some ideas of hands-on activities to do with them while discussing their “membership”:

  1. Read and discuss bible stories, which are real accounts of actual occurrences, with your child/grandchild. The bible is the best teaching tool! The stories of Noah (Gen. 5:28-9:1), Joseph (Gen. 37-47), David (I Samual 17), Esther (Book of Esther), or Ruth (Book of Ruth) are great places to start. They endured ridicule, threats, hardships, and the first four were used to save their people by being obedient to God. All five had some hard work to be done and sacrifices to make that ended in reward and salvation for them and their people. These are great stories for us, as preppers, to discuss with our children, as these people had to work, do things differently than what others were doing, take some risks, and most of all trust God by following His instruction even when it didn’t seem to make sense to them. Remember to emphasize God’s power and authority and how we can trust Him, as He is still in the business of doing mighty works!

    In Part 2 of this article, I will detail some hands-on activities for both younger children and older children to help them explore the truths found in these stories. While we, adults, can tell them things, it is more personal and memorable if they can explore, participate in discovering, and then create something. Whether the end result is a picture, a mural, a shadowbox, play dough sculptures, dramatic presentation, music/song, poetry, a paper, a speech, or something else, if your child (or you) begin by asking God’s Spirit to give you understanding, truth, and proper application of what you read in His Word, it will have far greater impact on their lives than you simply telling them the story and summarizing its implications. Let them spend time on it and be creative, as God made us in His image, and He is most certainly a creative God! It doesn’t matter how perfect their sculpture or picture or paper either. What matters is the concepts they grasp from their efforts and that they do their best. Help them where they need it, but let them ask questions. Encourage them to do some research. If you don’t know the answer, dig deeper in to the Scripture and pray for knowledge and understanding. Through teaching and answering the questions of others, I am blessed to be encouraged to also learn what I otherwise might not. Moms and Dads, you have a great privilege and commandment of God to teach your children God’s instruction:

    And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. (Deut 6:6-8) (Emphasis added)