Although I hope I will never succumb to outright paranoia, I think that living a survivalist lifestyle of sorts is a good idea for me and my family. (And by this I mean: coming up with strategies specific to our situation; stockpiling some resources; learning and practicing various essential skills for day to day survival.)
1. We will be prepared if anything happens: natural disaster, political unrest, even personal financial ruin.
2. It gives people confidence and security to know how to do basic things like start a fire and identify edible plants.
3. It puts people in closer touch with the Earth to know how to accomplish the basic tasks of daily life without electricity and complicated gadgets. The closer in touch with Earth, the more harmonious the walk through Life.
4. It might bring us closer together as a family to learn and master different tasks together, and to know that we can rely on each other and each has vital skills to contribute to the group. The older kids especially might learn a greater sense of responsibility toward the family and their younger siblings as they realize how much more they are able to do, and how much they would be depended on in an emergency.
5. It is something to pass on to children that can never be taken away from them: the skills and confidence to survive.
We’ve been watching some shows together, such as “Man, Woman, Wild” and “Dual Survival.” It’s kind of funny because there are so many harsh environments out there that they strand themselves in and sometimes have to give up and just say, “Okay, we would have died,” but an episode of “Man, Woman, Wild” we recently watched was set in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, of which we live in the foothills, and it was like a paradise. They were essentially camping and hanging out. Made me feel super confident about our location.
A kind of “reward system” I thought of for the lessons with the kids is to get them each a “go-bag,” which is some type of backpack or satchel that a person would grab in an emergency situation and have all the tools they need to survive.
As we accomplish different lessons, like fire starting, they would then get their own piece of equipment to keep in their go-bag. (Of course, it would be understood that the go-bag isn’t for playing, and that it has to be kept somewhere safe, but they could take it out and practice skills with supervision.
I certainly would guard against scaring the children with doomsday scenarios (I remember how frequently I dreamed of nuclear annihilation as a child), but I would present it more as something fun, challenging, useful for camping, etc.
Anyway, so if anyone has any great ideas, websites or experiences to share, I’d appreciate it. I’ll update on this project as we get started (It seems like we should wait until it warms up some. I’d think practicing in the cold would be more intermediate level, and beginners might be afforded the luxury of not fighting the elements as well as their own ignorance.)