Category: children


swat raidLet’s face it folks, with the increasing militarization of our public law enforcement we are now seeing more and more SWAT team style ‘raids’ on homes and businesses. Right, wrong, good, bad or indifferent, it’s a growing trend that unfortunately, I do not see ending but increasing in numbers in the coming months and years.
At a highly regarded blog site that I regularly read, someone wrote in about looking for information on how to prepare children for a SWAT team style raid on their organic farm (yes, it happens because of federal regulations, Mr. I HAVE A PEN and a PHONE loves to use regulations to further his Agenda 21 plans and Fascist policies). But this is a side note. It got me thinking about my own situation about 2 ½ years ago which I have blogged about in the past, when State officials decided to raid my house with the SWAT team and FBI, early one morning due to some content that an ex of mine had posted on his facebook page. Mind you, he was no longer living in the house and I was cooperative with the State Police when they first made contact with me regarding my ex and his behavior. I was and still am deeply effected by the SWAT raid on my home in the early hours of a January school morning. My children however, I don’t think they even blinked an eye about it. So, with this person’s question, ‘how do I prepare my children for a SWAT style raid?’ I had to ask myself why my children were completely unaffected by it and why I am still suffering PTSD from it. What is it that happened before the SWAT raid on my home that allowed my children to emerge unscathed?

Interestingly enough, about the ONLY answer that I can come up with is that we, as a family had run a few drills involving ‘home invasion’ by strangers with guns in hand. Now this may sound strange to you, but at the time I owned a bailbond business and live in the middle of nowhere where the average LEO response time is at least 10 minutes. My ex, who had experience in these matters, set out to teach us how to respond and ‘what to do’. Kinda like a tornado drill or nowadays, an active shooter drill that they do at schools. Think in those terms.
My own children were taught to stay absolutely still unless given a directive by an ADULT when there was a potential threat. We practiced different scenarios on what to do depending upon point of entry and time of day. But the bottom line is and still is: following INSTRUCTIONS given immediately and without question. So they stayed right at the breakfast table without moving, because that is what I told them to do. I had no warning, just the red dots on my chest before being manhandled out of the house and out of sight. Just enough time to tell them to STAY PUT.

To my children’s credit, they remained at the table until they were brought out by a female agent into a ‘safe vehicle’ and actually looked very calm. I will emphasize at this point:
MY CHILDREN WERE AND ARE USED TO SEEING FIREARMS IN THE HOME.

So two things to ‘prepare’ children for a SWAT style raid on your home:
1) Get them used to seeing firearms in and around the home. If it is ‘normal’ to see this and be around them, then most likely they won’t freak.
2) Practice what to do if you experience a home invasion (legal or not).
3) And I should mention, that if you do have firearms in the home, be safe regarding them. But at some point, as a LEO told me, they need to understand how to use them and what they do, seems to prevent accidental shootings in the home and takes away the ‘fun’ and ‘I am not allowed to do this’ factor.

These three things will make it easier for you and them. You practice fire drills, tornado drills, and at school they practice ‘active shooter’ drills, why NOT practice home invasion? It’s a growing trend, both legally and illegally so it makes sense to do this. What you do and how you do this is up to you and your unique home situation, but increasingly, home invasions are becoming common place. So, what’s your plan?

Next, I would like to address the otherside of this equation. Having an understanding myself of the legal system and the steps that have to be taken before action can be taken (though more and more it seems like shock and awe is standard operating procedure) I do KNOW for a fact, that you will have contact with some form of law enforcement BEFORE a SWAT style raid occurs. There’s your tip off, your ‘advanced’ warning. If state police, federal agents or regulatory agents are knocking at your door then your alarm bells need to be going off and my advice, at least for the moment is to be polite, answer their questions and do NOT BE HOSTILE. Cooperate and be beyond reasonable with them. If you appear to be a threat then they will react to you as a threat and their law enforcement training now demands overwhelming force to neutralize a potential threat to THEM. This includes your facebook posts, emails, etc. While it is okay to voice your opinions make sure you are not making threats, or even veiled threats. Trust me when I tell you, they do their homework on threat assessment (ie your potential for violence). In my case it wasn’t about my own personal threat to them, but my ex’s potential for violence and I got painted with the same brush. So its not just you, but who you associate with, your family and those who may or may not be there at the time.
Much can be avoided with clear communication and cooperation. Yes, it can be a hassle boarding on pure harassment and irrationality on their part, but if you want to head off a SWAT style raid, then do all you can to avoid it.

Next, lets talk about home/land security. Do you have motion detectors? Security lights? Cameras? How about a mouthy dog who will alert you if something or someone who doesn’t belong there? You can go as far as you want in this matter including denial of entry type setups. But the main thing is this: you are more likely to face in this day and age a true illegal home invasion than a legal one and THIS is where you should aim your security at. But it will also come in handy ‘just in case’. The point behind all of this is to give you, the adult a heads up and a few precious moments to make a decision. Unfortunately, many people have been killed in their homes because they simply did NOT know who or what was coming in and reacted in such a manner that put themselves and their family in harms way.

And finally, lets talk frankly, the thought that if you are doing ‘nothing’ wrong will keep you ‘safe’ needs to go out the door. Unfortunately this mindset gets people killed. Because you feel ‘safe’ because you are doing nothing wrong, therefore there is NO WAY they would come knocking on your door ergo something happens and you pull out your firearm because only someone intent on doing you harm would kick your door in. WRONG. Go back to the above statements and understand one thing, shock and awe works for them, otherwise they wouldn’t do it. Is it potentially used wrongly? Yes, but on the otherhand see their side of it. Most LEO’s are just following orders and commands from higher ups who most likely will forget to mention that you were cooperative, etc. All they know is they are there and wouldn’t be there unless someone knew you could be a threat. Just saying…that is how it is, right or wrong. Better to argue in court and go broke than into the ground.

On the otherhand, illegal activity of any sort can and will get you into trouble. Stay on this side of the line people. If you have had contact with law enforcement or a regulatory agent, then they perceive something is going on and if you are belligerent, uncooperative, etc. then you become a threat. Regulations carry the force of law and while I in no way support even half of the ‘regulations’ that are place, at this moment in time, tis better to argue in court. GET IT? Tis better to let them do their job, see you are not a threat and then sue their butts off later, than to fight back when everyone is running on adrenaline.
Been there, done that, in the heat of the moment, YOU need to be running your own threat assessment. Which is why I make it a point to suggest that you look for tip offs and get in place an early warning system so you can differentiate between an illegal threat and law enforcement threat. That way, you can make an informed and appropriate decision on ‘what to do’ when the invasion comes.

As a side note, in my own experience, those who entered my home unexpectedly that weekday morning were very professional. While I am still angry and I am personally still dealing with their actions (which I did receive an apology for later on), I can say that they treated my children very well. One agent even sat down with my girls and painted finger nails with them! After I got a grip and figured out what was going on I was then able to do what was necessary in dealing with them being there and my own calm in the moment allowed my own children to feel safe and relaxed which allowed everyone else to feel safe and relaxed.

Seriously, its up to you how you want things to turn out.

Home security first and foremost, situational awareness, making sure your children are NOT scared of firearms in the home, practicing ‘active shooter’ drills and attitude will determine the outcome. Unfortunately we no longer live in Camelot and we aren’t in Kansas anymore. While I see the over reaction and mistakes that get made, I have come to understand that I (YOU) truly have control in whether or not you become a victim and in turn, your children.

Stay safe and aware and prepared.

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Lately I have been taking stock of my ‘stock’ (read that preps). Admittedly, I have included my children in getting prepared, but I didn’t realize just how much THEY did not understand the importance of organization, labeling and rotating. Yes, two are under 12 but one is a teenager who is into prepping. We talk about how to store things, what and why we keep extra on hand, safety, the value of being able to be less reliant on the ‘just in time system’ and a whole lot of other things. And many times we work together getting things done or they see me doing it with some help from them. Prepping with children as a single mom has brought up some interesting things, but when I started making extra room in my house to include another person, whoa! I just wanted to bug out and not deal with it…but, here I am, learning and hope that in my learning you can learn something too, especially if you are a single parent with children.

First, I realized just how much ‘crap’ is in my house that has really no value to me, but that’s another subject. Next, I realized that things had just been put behind closed doors so to speak to, just get it out of the way, and instructions were just NOT followed. And before someone has something to say about ‘kids being kids’ I am going to tell you that I am old school and believe that when an adult gives specific instructions on what/how to do something YOU DO IT. Not that I am trying to turn my kids into sheeple and not that I am not open to their ideas of how to get things done, but when you are told to pour the salt into a particular container and then label it, I expect it to be done. Put it in and label it and then put it in the spot I have set aside for it.

HAHAHA…I started cleaning/reorganizing and I found things stashed away like a squirrel stashes his nuts for the winter. Some of what I found was big bags of RICE just tucked away in a storage closet (seriously, that is NOT a joke). That was my teenager. Instead repacking the rice safely, he disappeared the containers and then stashed the rice.

Haha factor aside, I did not find this amusing at all and then I began to wonder about other things and sure enough, Mr. I Play Video Games, had not labeled salt containers or sugar containers, had just thrown can goods haphazardly into the pantry…sigh…really? And yes, I stood over him and things got done but really? At almost 16 years old I have to do that to make sure it gets done properly? Lets just say a few things ‘disappeared’ on him and I told him point blank that if he couldn’t follow simple instructions and put things away properly then how was I supposed to trust him with a crossbow or driving a car. Anyway…My 9 year old at least knows how to put green beans with green beans and to put the oldest up front. Sigh…so the past two weeks has been spent back tracking. Oh, I also found empty boxes that were never thrown away (so I assumed we had that in stock). Really? My 3 year old know how to throw things away.

There were quite a few things I found ‘out’ about, mostly just annoying things but if the little things like putting labels on buckets (so you know what it is), or putting the rice into mouse/bug proof containers or just throwing away an empty box of something can’t even be done, ohhhh…man, my mind just goes nuts over that one.

So what’s my point?

Everyone has to be on the same page at all times and understand the reasons behind why certain things get done. And just talking about it isn’t going to work with some people. Written instructions, establishing routines and expectations and then, being ‘the leader’, following up every time until you are dead sure that everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing. And unfortunately, having worked in the real world, I have seen this same behavior from ‘adults’. Time consuming? Yes. Pain in the rear? Yes. Should you as ‘leader’ have to micro-manage. No. It would be nice to be able to delegate, but most people are used to ‘getting by’ with little to no consequences to themselves. This go around it was just proper food storage. And we can all go to the what ifs, but it got caught in time. So micro-manage I will until I am sure that we are all on the same page on how things will get done.

Ideas for the micro-management/leader that does work well for both children and adults:

Get a whiteboard…the type you can list ‘to do’ items on daily. Save your breath.

Get another whiteboard…this one won’t be daily but will list chores/responsibilities for the week. Unfortunately, even adults need this (ever worked in a restaurant?).

Have a sit down/write down meeting. In this case, with my 3 children I was able to explain WHY it was important about storing food correctly. THEN a notebook came out and the steps were written down. They took turns writing out the steps and reasons why. In my case it was about food storage, but this will work in any type of situation that you see come up or MIGHT come up, including security tasks. And YES, children can help on that end too. At this sit down ask questions instead of lecturing. You’d be surprised at how well this works.

Don’t overlook abilities. Some people are better at something than others. SWAT analysis is a good thing. Unfortunately, you may find yourself (as in my case with my children) that you have to work with what you got. My case, kids  which means I have to work with what I got, including the attitude.

Have a CLEAR system and keep it simple. Chaos is NOT good! For instance, one place I keep proteins, another certain types of canned goods, another place salt, sugar and another for rice. Its in the same place all the time (that is until someone decides to just do it their way). But I do have a system in place. This allows you to know instantly where certain things are (for instance I have ONE place for all batteries and ONE place for all types of lighting except for candles). By having a few things here and a few things there you wind up wasting time and energy ‘looking’ for things.

Speak up…don’t be afraid, as the ‘leader’ to say what you have to say when it needs to be said. I will admit it, when I found things not done correctly they, my kids, were in the middle of doing homework…guess what? They wound up redoing what they were supposed to do instead of the homework and opps! The homework got done when typically they do what they want to do. Seems to make the impression to just get it done right the first time.

Lastly, DO follow up to make sure things are being done correctly. Don’t make it obvious that you are doing so but just check. If done correctly…give praise (yep, that includes adults too), if not done or not done correctly stop right then and there and do what needs to be done. Food storage case I pulled the bags of rice out, put them on the counter top, called my son into the kitchen and stood there until I SAW him doing it. Then said thank you, walked away and then rechecked a bit later. Done right.

Anyway, that’s my rant for today (well, everyday it seems). Discipline and order and a system and being on the same page with everyone when things are ‘normal’ makes it easier when something comes up later on.

Now, back to clearing out the crap!

 

 

 

 

 

 

One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.1

An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

85% of domestic violence victims are women.

Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.

Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.5

Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.

Witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.

Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.8

Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.14

In 70-80% of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically abused the woman before the murder. 

Less than one-fifth of victims reporting an injury from intimate partner violence sought medical treatment following the injury.

Intimate partner violence results in more than 18.5 million mental health care visits each year.16

The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.17

Victims of intimate partner violence lost almost 8 million days of paid work because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former husbands, boyfriends and dates. This loss is the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity as a result of violence.17


There are 16,800 homicides and $2.2 million (medically treated) injuries due to intimate partner violence annually, which costs $37 billion.

(from ncadv.org)

There is no way to tell for sure if someone is experiencing domestic
violence. Those who are battered, and those who abuse, come in all personality
types. Battered women are not always passive with low self-esteem, and batterers
are not always violent or hateful to their partner in front of others. Most
people experiencing relationship violence do not tell others what goes on at
home. So how do you tell?

Here are some signs to look for:

Injuries and Excuses:
In some cases, bruises and injuries may occur
frequently and be in obvious places. When this happens, the intent of the
batterer is to keep the victim isolated and trapped at home. When black eyes and
other bruising is a result of an assault, the person being battered may be
forced to call in sick to work, or face the embarrassment and excuses of how the
injuries occurred. In other cases, bruises and other outward injuries never
occur. When there are frequent injuries seen by others, the one being battered
may talk about being clumsy, or have elaborate stories of how the injuries
occurred. The truth about the source of injuries will not usually be told unless
the one told could be trusted and/or the one being battered wants help to end
the relationship.

Absences from Work or School:
When severe beatings or other trauma
related to violence occurs, the one being battered may take time off from
his/her normal schedule. If you see this happening, or the person is frequently
late, this could be a sign of something (such as relationship violence)
occurring.

Low Self-Esteem: Some
battered women have low self-esteem, while
others have a great deal of confidence and esteem in other areas of their life
(at work, as a mother, with hobbies, etc.) but not within their relationship. In
terms of dealing with the relationship, a sense of powerlessness and low
self-esteem may exist. A battered woman may believe that she could not make it
on her own without her partner and that she is lucky to have him in her
life.

Accusations of Having Affairs: This is a common tactic used by
batterers as an attempt to isolate their partners and as an excuse for a
beating. It could include accusations of looking at other men, wanting to be
with other men, or having affairs with the man bagging groceries at the local
supermarket. Friends of the couple may observe this at times, but what is seen
in public is usually only a small fraction of what the battered woman
experiences at home.

Personality Changes: People may notice that a very outgoing person,
for instance, becomes quiet and shy around his/her partner. This happens because
the one being battered “walks on egg shells” when in the presence of the one who
is abusive to her. Accusations (of flirting, talking too loudly, or telling the
wrong story to someone) have taught the abused person that it is easier to act a
certain way around the batterer than to experience additional accusations in the
future.

Fear of Conflict: As a result of being battered, some may generalize
the experience of powerlessness with other relationships. Conflicts with
co-workers, friends, relatives, and neighbors can create a lot of anxiety. For
many, it is easier to give in to whatever someone else wants than to challenge
it. Asserting one’s needs and desires begins to feel like a battle, and not
worth the risks of losing.

Not Knowing What One Wants or How One Feels: For adults or children
who have experienced violence from a loved one, the ability to identify feelings
and wants, and to express them, may not exist. This could result in
passive-aggressive behavior. Rather than telling others what you want, you say
one thing but then express your anger or frustration in an aggressive manner
(such as scratching his favorite car, burning dinner, or not completing a report
on time for your boss).

Blaming Others for Everything: The abuse, which usually includes the
batterer blaming others for everything that goes wrong, is usually targeted at a
partner or ex-partner. For example, a simple drive somewhere could turn into a
violent situation if the batterer blames the partner and/or children for getting
them lost. Co-workers and relatives may observe this type of behavior, and it
may be directed at others as well.

Self-blame: You may notice someone taking all of the blame for things
that go wrong. A co-worker may share a story about something that happened at
home and then take all of the blame for whatever occurred. If you notice this
happening a lot, it may be a sign that one is taking all of the blame is being
battered.

Aggressive or Care-taking Behavior in Children: Children who live in
violent homes may take that experience with them to school and to the
playground. Often the class bully is a child who sees violence in his home
(directed at mom, or at some or all of the children in the home). Children who
seem very grown-up and are sensitive and attentive to others’ needs may see
violence at home as well.

https://www.msu.edu/~safe/facts/warning_dv.htm

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Just for today, take a deep breath and clear your mind and relax. Too often in our lives we get too busy getting ‘ready’ and ‘getting prepared’ for what may come that we forget that we have only today in which to live. The past has come and gone and from the past we can learn. The future is not yet here and while we are indeed to get ready for tomorrow it is all for not if we cannot be present in the moment. For truly, we only have today.

Today I am spending the day with my family (in between doing this and that for work) but will include them in getting ready for tomorrow. Having family on board with plans and preparing is a fundamental part of being prepared so I will be including them today in the ‘doings’ of getting prepared. Showing my children (that are old enough) how to cut up food and use the dehydrator and letting them sample the food when it is done. And while we are doing this together it is a chance to make the connections that are needed in order to build a strong family. We can talk about whatever may come up and just be together without the TV or distractions of other electronic media. Just for today, we will be present together as we get prepared for the coming storm. We can go out together into the garden and look things over, and I can take the time to show them what is a ‘weed’ (not wanted in the garden) and explain to them what this or that is. In this way I am helping them learn how to garden and be more self-reliant in the future. But we are also practicing being in the moment and present to what IS RIGHT NOW instead of being caught up in what may or may not happen.

For we only have today, we learn from the past and get ready for the future, but being present and in the moment is the most important skill that we can acquire. It saves us from unnecessary fear, keeps us in balance and focused and helps us to be prepared for when the SHTF really hits, for we will need the ability to be present in the moment in order to survive. The ability to keep the mind focused on the here and now is key to any survival situation. So just for today, I will remain focused on where my hands are at and help to teach my children this skill and in the process make my family stronger by doing ‘things’ together. And just for today, be the example of calm in the storm.

Great leaders know this:

Just for today: I will try to live through this day only,
and not tackle all my problems at once.
Just for today: I will be happy. Abraham Lincoln said,
*Most folks are as happy as they make up their
minds to be.*

Just for today: I will adjust myself to what is,
and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will
Take my *luck* as it comes, and fit myself into it

Just for today:I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study.
I will not be a mental loafer.
I will read something that requires effort.
Thought and concentration.

Just for today: I will exercise my soul
in three ways: it will do somebody a good turn
and not get found out; if anybody know of it, it
will not count. I will do at least two things I
don’t want to do– just for exercise. I will
not show anyone that my feelings are hurt: they may
be hurt but today I will not show it.

Just for today: I will be agreeable. I will
look as well as I can, dress becomingly, keep my voice
low, be courteous, and criticize not one bit. I won’t find
fault with anything, nor try to improve or regulate
anybody else but myself.

Just for today: I will have a plan..
I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it.
I will save myself from two pests: Hurry and Indecision’s.

Just for today: I will have a quiet half
hour all by myself, and relax. During this half hour,
sometime I will try to get a better perspective of
my life.

Just for today: I will be un-afraid.
Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what
is beautiful,and to believe that as I give to the
world, so the world will give back to me.

Have a great Sunday, enjoy your life and your family.

Preparedness and Parenthood

I get strange looks sometimes when I buy big bags of rice, or 4 packages of diapers or 6 12 packs of toliet paper (all at one time), and sometimes those looks aren’t from strangers. The poor UPS guy who delivers in my rural town (who must think I am sort of crazy survivalist) has delivered, this past week alone, a 50 lb bag of organic hard white wheat and boxes from Auguson Farms and 50 lbs of DE (amongst other things like a huge box of diapers, but that was Fed Ex and that guy knows for sure I am crazy). But its all good. I am just doing my duty as a good parent to ensure that my children are and will be taken care of no matter what. I am making sure that they will have what they need just in case something happens to my income or one of us gets hurt and can’t work or something happens that disrupts supplies (think storms, floods, pestilance of the crops, heck even the banks collapsing). Down where I live, when hurricane Isabel came through, they had no power for 10 days…there were reports of people stealing chickens and killing goats after 3 days…yep and that was just a little bitty hurricane. No power, no grocery store. And those great big trees across the road? well, that would kinda keep you at home wouldn’t they? and the county surely has bigger problem than my road, so no deliveries or movement for several days…but I digress…

When you are pregnant with your child you plan. You start thinking of all the things you will need for the precious child that you will be having soon in your life and next thing you know…you are getting PREPARED! You buy the crib, the car seat, clothing, diapers and any number of a million and one zillion things. You are getting ready for a life altering event…the end of the world as you know it right now…the birth of your child. You pick the hospital, your doctor, make arrangements ‘just in case’ this or that happens, you get your family involved (or not). You start making plans for what you will and won’t do after your baby is born, breast feeding or bottle feeding? Stay home or go back to work or even work from home? Daycare? All these decisions are called making plans which is part of you getting prepared for the arrival of your little one. Preparedness can be so much work! But you know these things that you are prepping for make a good parent…planning, preparing, getting things… being ready for him or her when they arrive and your world changes. Next, after the arrival of your new baby you realize just how much you don’t know about this thing called ‘being a good parent’ so you start asking question and doing more preparing for when they begin to sit up, eat solid foods, crawl, walk, talk. You have to get your house ready after all don’t you? Not to mention get all the information you can lay your hands on so that you can make informed and sound decisions about how you want to raise your child…this is all part of being a good parent. It just goes on and on this getting prepared for your child and it changes, evolves overtime to fit, upon demand, the circumstances and stages that you see coming down the road for your family as your baby grows and circumstances change. A good parent has…foresight, knowledge, leadership skills and techniques, tactics and supplies on hand for whatever may come at any given moment and sometimes, in a strange or odd moment…wisdom from past mistakes…Sometimes things just take you by surprise…can you say forgetting the diaper bag anyone? (this why you put a couple of diapers under the drivers seat)…or a fall or accident (speed dial and first aid kit) or someone notices that you are busy paying attention to something else and sticks the half chewed dog biscuit in the dvd player, managing to close it too…(say bad language and a screw driver when you find it later that night) but that is okay, you have thought things out enough to feel confident that when it happens you handle it with grace and ease (or freak out first, quickly regaining a shred of self-control). But my whole point is this…you planned and prepared yourself into being a good parent!

So, I, ever wanting to be a good parent have just taken things a bit further…preparedness is being a good parent. Being ready for when the crap hits the fan, in whatever form it may come to your door step, (think going into labor!) is being a good parent.   Having things on hand ‘just in case’ or for an emergency, is being a good parent (extra this or that, tools) and most certainly having a means to protect your family is being a good parent. It might seem a little strange at first, this new aspect of being a good parent, simply because you haven’t do so before. But that’s okay, you’ll get over it. You will gain a new sense of pride and confidence (hmm sounds just like what you feel as you get the grove of being a good parent!) as time goes by. You will find that you are less anxious and worried about the future. You will find that this new aspect of being a good parent will actually help you become a better parent as you gain skills in being self-reliant that will be passed onto your child…indeed, preparedness and parenting go hand in hand…and it is all part of the job.