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Friday, June 10, 2011

Focus on Beneficial LIFE Skills

5 of 6 daughters were in cheer or tumbling
and we were WAY too busy running around.
This summer, our family is focusing more on basic skills like gardening, sewing, canning, dutch oven cooking, and shooting and less on activities that might not be of much use later in life...specifically...Competitive and Performance Cheer.

 While our girls DID enjoy the activity of cheer practice with all the cartwheels, front walkovers, backhand springs and the such, what wasn't enjoyed was the snottiness of the spoiled teammates, the overpriced add-ons (hair bows, makeup kits, shoes, cheer uniforms...and on and on and on), and the price tag waiting at the end of the season if you wanted to travel to another state to watch them compete in Nationals. Did they get exercise...yes. Did they learn a skill that would help them as adults...hardly. Don't even get me started on how much time and gas we spent driving back and forth to practice (two girls on one Competitive Cheer team, eldest on another Competitive Cheer team, 5 year old in Performance Cheer, 3 year old in tumbling).

It was a hard sell at first. Wifey was heavily involved in cheer and dance growing up. She was so good, she won Star Search (you know, Ed McMann Star Search.) She wanted her girls to feel the joy of accomplishment that cheer and dance brought in her youth. After some time, she realized that she had invested so much of her life into cheer because she didn't have anything else to do. Our girls are quite the opposite. They were turning down things left and right because they had an obligation to a cheer team, 2-3 nights each week with competitions on Saturdays. Don't forget the additional "Clinics" on the side. For an additional fee, they could get more one-on-one time with the coach to work on skills. Homework AND chores were suffering and the girls were staying up past midnight on school nights to get homework done.

Crisscross fire next to our chimney starter.
One of our choices this year was to ditch the cheer team and spend more time with the Job's Daughters group that my girls had joined right before cheer started. In 2010, they missed out on being in two parades, going to a circus, a mini beach vacation, a campout and several minor events. This year...they're doing it all! Cheer didn't end until the end of April so they missed the 2011 campout. But we're doing everything else that comes along. The Jobie girls are much more friendly, respectful and genuinely care about each other. There are frequent "secret sister" gift exchanges, numerous service projects and later this month will be a state-wide conference called Grand Session for an entire weekend, including a craft fair. My girls are excited to enter their crocheting and sewing projects. One daughter is trying to learn cross stitching from youtube to complete a pillow case.

And today, what a great day! I spent a few hours showing my girls how to start fires! YES! I showed them how to build the tee pee, criss-cross, and star configured wood fire. We used a butane torch lighter, weatherproof matches, regular lighter, and a flint rod for variety. Then we practiced two ways to put out the fire: cover it with earth and douse it with water. I hadn't thought much of these activities in the past. We were always so busy. I found out today that NONE of my girls could even start a Bic lighter. Gasp! We always told them to stay away from lighters and matches when they were younger. Obviously they did if they can't flick a Bic. Watching them create a spark from the flint rod was fun too. But slowly, they all got it ( the little ones watched Blue Clues with Mommy.)

Half eaten dutch oven cornbread and brownies
I also taught my 12 and 13 year old how to start a charcoal fire in a chimney starter for dutch oven cooking. We cooked homemade cornbread and enjoyed it with our chili dinner. Wifey also made her first batch of homemade brownies. Homemade means ground the flour and made the recipe from scratch. Mmmmm.

Yes sir, the girls are learning some useful skills this summer.  Best of all...we're doing it together, as a family.

Update: The girls brought home three medals (two 1st place and one 2nd place) for their craft projects at Grand Session!  Now they're even MORE excited about improving their skills!

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