Today, our generation is skilled at using the technology of our age, just like our ancestors where skilled at using the technology of their age. In todays age, people are very good at using computers, driving cars, using smartphones and so on. The problem is, if SHTF, or the end of the world as we know it happens, all those skills will be useless to us. The skills of our forefathers on the other hand, will never be useless, they are valuable survival skills.
It’s no secret that children today are becoming increasingly less self-reliant, more coddled and timid. The situation is getting so out of hand that trying to teach your kids self-reliance could land you in prison, or lead to an investigation by the child protection services, as is what happened here – Kids are causalities in the war against self-reliance.
This week, I want to share some survival skills that over time, have become less important to the modern day person. These 13 skills will be in high demand if SHTF, and may just keep your kids alive.
1. How Not to Panic
This may well be the most important survival skill you could teach your kids, and it is one Millennials are severely lacking!
When a problem occurs, the reaction is to find some authority figure, and have them solve it. When no authority figure exists to aid with the problem, they simply panic.
A great way to teach your kids not to panic is by using what is called the Problem-Solution approach. Here’s how it works:
Something bad happens (Phone breaks)
Panic (Start to cry or get in a fuss)
Tell them to identify the problem
Ask, “Does crying or getting upset solve the problem?”
How can you fix this problem?
Only once you have gone through the multiple solutions, and none fix the problem, it is acceptable to start crying, but not until then. After all, not all problems can be fixed, and tears over a loss are acceptable, they just arn’t acceptable as a first line of emotion.
2. Lighting a Fire
When I say lighting a fire, I do not mean learning how to light a match, or lighter, I mean learning how to use a Ferro rod, flint, or any other way to light a fire. It is also important to teach your kids how to make a feather stick, find dead standing wood for tinder (no, not the dating app), and even how and where to find dried leaves, grasses or anything that would act as tinder.
Many kids don’t have a clue on how to get a fire lit even if they have matches or a lighter, which leads me to my next point.
3. Building a Fire
Fire is such an important part of survival, that I think is is important to note fire building as its own skill.
The saddening irony is that building a fire is something that would come naturally to children, give them a bunch of sticks, and a brief talk on air flow, and they will soon have a fire going on their own.
Today, we are warning kids the dangers of playing with fire, instead of teaching them the benefits of fire, and how to control it.
Make sure your kids know the basics of fire building, and these basic fire lays.
Kids today are great at navigating, when they have the GPS loaded on their phone, but give them a compass and a map, and they will probably ask you how they plug it in.
A UK Survey found that 4 out of 5 young drivers can’t read a map!
One way to teach your kids map reading skills is by taking them orienteering, it’s fun, active, and a great way to get outdoors.
5. First Aid
If you were to suddenly have a heart attack, would your family be able to know what to do? According to a survey, probably not, as only 18% of people know first aid.
In some countries around the world, first aid is actually a requirement in order to get your drivers license (Germany and Switzerland). If you are going to put your kids behind the wheel of a deadly vehicle, you should teach them basic first aid!
If you want to teach your kids first aid, or improve upon your own first aid skills, you should read the book First Aid for the USMLE
6. How to Use a Knife
Google how to use a knife, what you get is a whole lot of articles teaching you how to use a kitchen knife, not really what I had in mind!
Teach your kids basic knife safety, how to hold a knife, how to carry a knife, and how to store and care for a knife. You never know when your kids will need to make use of a knife in a survival situation, and those basic skills may help to save their life some day.
7. Basic Self Defence
In an ideal world, we would be teaching kids how to block a knife attack, how to dis-arm a gun man, and how to KO someone with one swift blow. This isn’t likely to happen though. Sometimes, football lessons come before martial arts lessons!
At the very least, you should teach your kids how to protect themselves. It is a great idea to teach them where the pressure points are on the human body, where to kick an attacker (e.g. in the groin) or how to get out of a head lock.
8. Purifying Water
We take it for granted everyday, and that is clean drinking water. What would happen if that where no longer available? Millions would probably die from thirst, and others from drinking dirty contaminated water.
One survival skill that your should teach your kids is how to filter and purify water to make it safe for drinking. You never know when they may be in a survival situation and need access to clean drinking water.
9. Locating a Suitable Campsite
Just find a flat spot, and fire the tent up… famous last words.
It’s tragic how many people die due to badly chosen camp spots. Like the 11 year old boy who was killed by a falling tree while sleeping in his tent.
Knowing how to find a suitable camping spot is a vital survival skill. You should know the signs to look out for when in search of a great, safe spot.
- Water source near by
- No dead standing trees near by
- Is the area at risk from flooding
- Is the ground hard enough to support a tent/shelter
- Is the area sheltered
There are many more tips to use when in search of a wild camping spot, you should do you due diligence before setting off!
10. Building a Shelter
After finding a suitable campsite, it’s time to get a shelter built. When I was younger, I used to make all kinds of shelters in the woods, now, kids don’t seem to play outdoors as much as they used to, and they certainly don’t head out into the wood on their own, so I am guessing that they have no idea how to build any kind of shelter.
You should consider taking your kids out into the woods and building shelters with them for fun. Show them different ways to build a shelter, for example, you could show them how to setup a shelter using a tarp, or show them how to build one from the raw materials found in the woods.
11. Food Acquisition
Survival “experts” like Bear Grylls are always promoting the eating of live insects, because they make it seem like it’s the only way to get food when in the wilderness.
Why would anyone want to eat a living insect, when you can cook it? Not only will the taste be better, you will not get diarrhoea from the dose of intestinal parasites you eat.
There are lots of different ways you can gather food in the wild, and depending on what time of year it is, these foods will vary. You should teach you kids what wild plants are edible, such as wild berries and also teach them about hunting, and trapping.
Here are a few areas you should cover:
- Identifying wild edible plants
- Making animal traps
- Making fish traps
- Cooking over an open fire
- How to eat and cook insects
12. Tying a Bowline
Most parents teach their kids to tie their shoe laces at a young age, but why should we stop there?
There are a lot of reasons why it is great to be able to tie knots. Practical purposes include hanging a swing, making your own jewellery, the list goes on. For sports, such as fishing, it is vital to know how to tie a strong knot.
There are a lot of useful knots for survival you should teach your kids, but if you only teach them one, make it the bow line (shown above). It is easy to tie, very strong, and is easily undone.
Last on the list of survival skills you should teach your kids is gardening. Lots of people are now opting to have no garden, and instead have more yard space, or living space. This may well be good, but gardening and growing your own produce is a great way to teach your kids some basic survival skills along with how to care for plants, and become less reliant on the system, and more self sustainable.