Jason Schauble is a former Marine who led troops in Iraq and fought in the Second Battle of Fallujah where he earned a Silver Star, a Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device, and a Purple Heart. After being wounded in battle, he helped stand up both the Foreign Military Training Unit and the Marine Special Operations Command. Today, he lives in Austin Texas with his wife and four young boys, aged 10, 8, 7, and 7. In his role as a father, Schauble’s utilized much of his significant training and experience to help his four sons grow into caring, self-disciplined young men who understand that they are part of a team. As one might expect from such a decorated hero, much of this includes never taking the easy way out.
I find that one cause of a lot of problems between parents and children is either being told, “You’re not old enough for that,” or someone just outright lying to them, with few exceptions. So I try to be honest with my kids about everything, even when the topics are very difficult. When they asked me what happens after you die, I gave them a spectrum of outcomes. “Some people believe this, some people believe that, and when you’re old enough, you can figure it out for yourself what you think is the right answer.” That’s a lot harder of an answer to give than “You’re not old enough,” or some assured answer like, “Of course, everyone believes this,” when that’s not really true.
For example, one of my kids asked a girl at school about her private parts, because he didn’t understand there was a difference between the two of them. He’s in the second grade.So the school told me he had done something wrong. He didn’t do anything wrong, he’s just curious and no one’s ever told him. And that’s because our society believes that we can’t talk about this.
So I sat all my kids down, and was like, okay, I guess we’re doing this now. I got the coloring book of the body systems, the nervous system, the central system. I had two kids that were asking all sorts of questions and two kids who were absolutely mortified and blushing and wanted to get the hell out of there as fast as possible. I haven’t had a lot of questions since on that topic. But I was like, hey, this is an example of something where an easy way out is to say, “Go ask your mother,” or “We’ll talk to you about it when you’re 15.” But I’d rather they at least know some version of the truth that is fact-based than going to ask their friend, who is equally uninformed, and then walk around thinking something that is completely wrong for a long time.
We have to be very organized with four kids going to school. Every kid has a color. I have a kid who is green. I have a kid who is blue. I have a kid who is orange and a kid who is red. Their backpacks, their water bottles, their lunchboxes, everything that could be traced back to them has a color on it. That way I immediately know whose shoes were left out, whose water bottle was left out. Everything has a place and it goes back in that place.
Their rooms are all organized in the same way. A lot of this is military equivalent of Standard Operating Procedure. If they’re staying in another room, they know where all the stuff is kept.
I also teach them survival. I teach them about firearms because I think it’s important that they know over time. My kids all shoot bows. I’m in Texas — in some parts of the country, they’re like “Don’t ever let a kid touch a gun.” I’m on the other side of it. Teach a kid gun safety, teach them how guns work, don’t make guns a taboo thing, and your kid will respect it but it won’t be like, “Oh, this is the thing I’m not allowed to touch. I need to touch it.”
I teach them, “This is how a gas mask works. This is how a first aid kit works. Here’s how you put a pressure dressing on. Here’s how you take apart an AK-47.” We do those every weekend. I’d rather they be at least somewhat capable, that they have some idea of how to make a fire.