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Teaching Them The Basics

Last week the girls played an elaborate game over several days, involving a trip around the world. Cora was a girl and Maddie was her cat, and they packed a car and went for a global drive. Included in the car was a very comfy carrier/bed for the cat, copious snacks, a reading corner in the back seat (apparently the cat was going to take a shift driving so the girl could read), and some changes of clothing.

And a first-aid kit.

At first I didn’t realize what was in the shoe box they’d packed in the “rear window” of the car, until it came time to finally break the game down and put everything away. When I grabbed the box I said, “What’s this?”

Cora replied, “It’s our first aid kit – everything we need for if we get hurt!”

And I looked in the box.

Right in front of me was a microcosm of all the changes I’ve tried to make in our health and maintenance over the past couple of years. There was a thermometer, a small jar of apple cider vinegar, and a small jar of baking soda (canker sores!). They’d put in a plastic bottle of fennel seeds for indigestion, a homemade itchy stick for bug bites and owies, and a small bottle of manuka honey as our “Neosporin”. Cora had even torn up some comfrey leaves from our herb garden into a little baggie. Some band-aids thrown in there rounded out the kit.

And I know this sounds crazy, but as I looked into that bowl it hit me – kids really WATCH what we do. And learn from it. I don’t lecture on why we do things the way we do – I just do it. And it becomes normal to them, and they take those habits on for their own. Before we reach for Tylenol (and we do have Tylenol – I’m not a martyr) we rub on peppermint oil, and instead of the chemical-laden Neosporin we’ll pack on some medical-grade honey instead. There have been many times I’ve thanked God for antibiotics and modern medicine – don’t get me wrong. We just try the natural route first, if it’s something minor.

A grandmother at my church has been doing some mentoring mornings, giving talks on all sorts of subjects for women my age and younger. And when she talked about parenting a bit, she said that a parent has two jobs: to give her child a living faith, and to prepare her child to leave home.

Looking in the girls’ homemade medical kit, I began to think I might have some hope of accomplishing that second one.


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