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Reading aloud March 1, 2008

Posted by Joe in Uncategorized.

Many evenings, just before bedtime, Laura or I will read aloud from a “chapter book” that appeals to the kids. Whenever possible we make it a family affair, all gathering around and giving the reader our full attention.

Recently we finished reading Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. It’s a very engaging book about a 13 year old boy who is stranded in the Canadian wilderness. His only chance and tool for survival is his hatchet. As he attempts to provide food and shelter for himself through trial and error, he learns many new things about survival and about himself. It’s well worth the read.

Throughout the book, Benjamin was intrigued about many of the skills the boy learned. How to make fire without matches, why water refracts light and distorts your perception of a straight line, and how to process a small gamebird. At the book’s end, Benjamin was eager to try some of those things for himself.

As it happened a few days later, it was time for Laura and me to process some of our chickens. Laura and I both feel that it is important for our kids to know where their food comes from and the natural order of things that God put in place for man and beast. We’ve tried instilled upon them that it is our charge as stewards of this land and of these animals that we treat both with respect. They are comfortable with knowing that the chicken on our table may have once had a name, but we’ve never pushed them into helping it to get there.

This time however, inspired by what we’d just read, Benjamin asked to process a chicken on his own. He actively watched me as I harvested the first chicken, asking questions and pausing me to get a better look from another angle. He paid close attention to my every move.

Then it was his turn. Without hesitation, he started from the beginning and 20 minutes later he handed the fruits of his labor over to Laura, ready for the pot.

Like the boy in the book, Benjamin learned more than just a new skill that day. He learned a bit about himself, and gained some confidence in the process.

Afterward, it occurred to me that he has now done something at 8 years old that I didn’t do until I was 38! I’m proud of the person he’s growing up to be.



1. Laura - March 1, 2008

In fairness to Rachel, I should mention that she (age 6) also helped, just not from the very beginning. She and I skinned and eviscerated a bird of our own and then a couple of days later, Rachel cooked it for dinner. She’s always been interested in everything I do- she’s going to be a very good homemaker for her family someday.

Since we’ve been raising our own chickens for the table, the children have had a lot of opportunities to learn about physiology. They are fascinated with the various organs and always want to try to identify them and remember what each does. Chicken processing has provided unplanned opportunities for school (and life) lessons.

2. Marci - March 1, 2008

I think this is great. They will be way ahead of the program. It is the most healthy way (both physically and emotionally) to raise a child!!!

3. Dreamer - March 3, 2008

Good job Mom and Dad! You are raising great children.

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