When we discuss “survival skills” and “survival training”, we are usually referring to the mechanics involved in wilderness survival situations. Survival trainees need to know how to build a fire in less-than-perfect conditions, what supplies should always be in their pack, how to find or build a shelter, and on and on. The amount of books, websites, and videos devoted to survival skills training is growing every day. Of course these are the nuts and bolts necessary to stay safe in less than optimal conditions, and the benefits derived from possessing these skills can be lifesaving. However, there is one intangible aspect to teaching your children survival skills that is rarely discussed, and it is equally as important.
There are enormous benefits to be derived from the actual process of learning and practicing survival skills that are life-changing and ultra rewarding. The survival skills training process reaps great rewards on its practitioners in the form of:
- increased self-esteem
- enhanced self-confidence
- reinforced character
- a greater appreciation for the outdoors
- the ability to be self-reliant and to trust in one’s own abilities
- the ability to calmly and rationally analyze a situation and act accordingly without panic
As a mom whose boys have learned and practiced survival skills for several years, I’ve seen firsthand their intellectual and personality growth during this process. The boost to their self-esteem and confidence has been no small thing. In the rare times that their skills have been put to the test, it has warmed this mother’s heart to see my boys step up to the plate.
Very recently (as in during the middle of writing this article) my boys were splitting and stacking wood when a split log crushed my son’s finger breaking it and opening it to the bone. Without panicking, the boys cleaned it, stabilized it and wrapped it as best they could. When they arrived home, marched into my office, and calmly shoved the mangled appendage under my nose, I will admit that it was mom who panicked a bit. However, my injured son calmly assured me that it was cleaned, stabilized, and likely broken, so I bit back my motherly “OH MY POOR BABY” response, grabbed my purse, and drove him to the emergency room for some proper medical attention.
When I started to write this article, I didn’t except to prove my point with a real world example mid-article, but I guess that truth IS stranger than fiction! Without having to experience this example yourself, keep it mind the next time your kids show an interest in camping out, scouting, learning survival skills or simply starting a fire with a piece of flint. It may be worth considering the long-term benefits. Then, grab the fire extinguisher, make sure the first aid kit is up-to-date, and indulge them in their adventurous spirit a little bit. There may be more to be gained in such an endeavor than is readily apparent. In hindsight, I can say that my calm “we’ve-got-the-situation-in-control-mom-so-don’t-panic” sons did a good job in a less than optimal situation.
Now if I can just find a way keep the broken-finger kid occupied and still long enough to let that finger heal….
You can read more about Bear Grylls new book, Bear Grylls: A Survival Guide for Life on our website. This latest book focuses on the life lessons Bear has learned as an extreme adventurer and survivalist. At jmcremps.com you can also find all types of survival gear, survival books, and resources for parents.