Did You Pass On These Skills To Your Sons When They Were Young?

Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason November 19, 2018 06:40

Did You Pass On These Skills To Your Sons When They Were Young?

I’m not in my 20s or 30s anymore. I’m well into my 60s now, and I might have 20 years left or only a couple. What I do know is that things probably aren’t going to get any better than they are now, and I need to have my affairs in order just in case the worst happens. Part of that is working out what I want to pass on, and who to.

Most American families have a few heirlooms, and they’re usually treasured items. They might be sentimental, practical or a bit of both. They can range from a watch or locket to a dresser or boat, maybe even a house, but whatever they are they carry a little bit of family history with them.

Maybe more importantly, families can also pass on knowledge. The classic example is family recipes – most of us have a couple of those. It seems that we don’t teach our kids as much as we used to, though.

Too many of us leave all that to others, and that’s a pity. Not all useful knowledge comes out of a schoolbook, and we might be depriving our kids of skills that would really help them.

When I was a kid I remember following my dad around the house as he did odd jobs, always asking questions.

“Dad, why do you have two different hammers? Why do you sometimes use screws, and other times use nails? What happens if I lift one end of the drywall?”

I’m sure I annoyed the hell out of him, but he was always patient and explained what he was doing (except when I broke the drywall). I learned a lot from that, and when I started doing my own home improvements it always felt like Dad was standing beside me with helpful advice.

I’ve been thinking about that recently, and wondering if I’ve taught my sons all the lessons I have for them. Overall I think I’ve done a pretty good job. Sure, there’s always more to teach, but I’ve probably given them the knowledge they need to get through pretty much anything they’re faced with. How about you? Have you taught your sons these key skills?

Build a Fire

Take your kids camping – or just for some walks – and show them how to build and light a fire. It’s a fun thing to do together, and once it’s lit you can all sit round it, toast some marshmallows or make s’mores, and tell a few stories.

Of course, fire is also a survival necessity. Get caught outdoors in bad weather and you’re not going to make it unless you can generate some heat for yourself.

Related: How to Get a Year Supply of Firewood for $10!

Spend a Night Outdoors

There are a lot of skills you can teach on a camping trip, but how to put up a tent – or, even better, build a shelter from natural materials – is one of the most valuable.

Do the Laundry

If you can’t look after yourself, you can’t be independent. Doing the laundry is a skill any independent man needs. In the best of times you need clean, pressed clothes to make a good impression. In a crisis, clean clothes are much better at keeping you warm and dry than dirty ones are.

Did You Pass On These Skills To Your Sons When They Were Young (2)Be a Good Loser

You aren’t always going to succeed in life. Sometimes things just aren’t going to go your way, and you need to be able to accept that and move on.

Teach your kids games that will encourage them to try their best, but stay on balance when their best isn’t quite good enough.

Related: 6 Essential Differences Between the Greatest Generation and The Ones That Followed

Drive a Nail

Boys like banging nails into things. Teach them to do a good, neat job, and to select the right nail for what they’re trying to do.

If they can do that they’ll be able to build and repair a lot of what they need to get through any disaster situation.

Use a Saw

Nailing bits of wood together is great – if the bits are the right size for what you’re doing. If you can use a saw, you can cut them to the right size.

Related: Tools The Early Pioneers Used on A Daily Basis

Grow Things

Giving your kids their own vegetable plot is a good way to teach them that growing things takes care and effort.

The novelty of seeing their own plants grow will generate interest, and eating something they grew themselves gives a sense of achievement. Along the way they’ll learn skills that will help them be self-sufficient if necessary.

Paint a Fence

Re-enact the classic scene from Tom Sawyer with your son, and along the way teach him to wield a paintbrush effectively. Paint doesn’t just make wood look better; it helps protect it from the elements.

Tie Some Knots

Teach a boy how to tie knots and there’s all sorts of stuff he can make. Rafts, treehouses, hammocks and plenty of other things will benefit from knowledge of a few simple knots.

Later in life the same knots have a load of more practical uses – especially in a crisis.

Use a Shovel

Digging isn’t a glamorous skill, but it’s a useful one. Turning over soil in a vegetable plot is one thing, but shifting a few cubic yards of earth for a latrine, foxhole or ditch is another.

Get your kids used to digging, and when they need to do it they’ll save a lot of time and sweat.

Appreciate Books

Kids these days seem to spend all their time with their eyes glued to a screen. In any kind of major crisis all those screens are going to become useless pretty quickly; even if an EMP doesn’t fry all the devices, the internet that feeds them data will go down.

Books, on the other hand, just work. Teach your kids to value the solidity and permanence of a real book.

Handle a Gun

Firearms are a key part of being prepared for the worst – but they’re a double-edged sword that can draw a careless user’s own blood very easily. Teach your kids to respect firearms from a young age.

Make sure that, before they lay as much as a finger on one, they thoroughly understand the basic rules – assume every gun is loaded until you’ve checked, never point a gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy, and so on.

Teach them to take pride in shooting safely and accurately. They’ll never become accident statistics, and they’ll be able to use firearms effectively when they need to.

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Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason November 19, 2018 06:40
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  1. Silverbullet November 19, 14:04

    Everyone of those and then some. I fear for what those living in a concrete jungle will do then the SHTF. They know nothing. From my Boy Scout days. “BE PREPARED”.

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  2. fliss November 19, 16:04

    cooking and canning are useful too

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  3. Rydaartist November 19, 16:22

    To your Sons??? I’d use your age as an excuse except I am older than you. My father helped fit my first formal dress when I was in high school. He taught us (twins) how to current fish when we were very young. Yes I am a Feminist, as was Daddy. Knowledge and skills don’t have a sex. It takes a human to do that.

    Reply to this comment
    • young prepper March 1, 18:44

      i do not personally know the author, nor do i know whether my theory is correct or not,but i do know that you’re right,in the way of knowledge not being given to one gender and denied to the other (same with any race or ethnicity), but i digress, i do believe that he only used the term “sons” as a generic term,or because most of these skills (stereotypically) are considered “boyish” while (once again stereotypically) skills such as sewing, cleaning,cooking,and other things are necessary in a crisis no matter what race,age,or gender you are,but even so they’re considered (again stereotypically) “girly”.

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      • Grandma marde February 19, 21:18

        Both my sons and my daughters can maintain a vehicle, paint a house, make meals and do laundry. They all hunt, fish, and know how to navigate a boat. I made sure my boys and girls wouldn’t marry someone to be taken care of- but to share with. If the author never had a daughter, that’s his experience- not his bias!

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  4. frosty November 19, 16:29

    one of my favorites is how to use a file. dull cutting tools are NOT safe, so the proper use of a file & proper sharpening techniech can save you time & labor

    Reply to this comment
  5. DG November 19, 16:44

    Aren’t these good skills for all children?

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  6. Allen November 19, 18:19

    Those are all good skills. Unfortunately most people I come across don’t know how to start a fire with out a lighter and BBQ fire starter. Again most people I meet in this city don’t know how to use basic tools like saw or drill and I’m talking about the parents. But I guess it’s OK because if the tool usage isn’t in a video game they don’t want to learn it anyway.

    Reply to this comment
    • young prepper March 1, 18:51

      now im no normal millenial (i’ve been called crazy for prepping,i just laugh when that happens) but i’ve always been fascinated with weapons and tools and how to make them,i am a “gamer” (i play video games a decent bit) but none the less i know how to start a fire with a ferro rod,two rocks and a load of other methods, of course i do have a couple bundles of five lighters and a few bundles of ten books of matches in my b.o.b,but i also have five ferro rods and a couple zip-bags (the ones you get when you buy liquid skin,the liquid bandage) and a few of the tiny bottles (like the little bottles of rum you can buy at some gas stations) full of different accelerants, oh lord i went off on a tangent,but my point is i personally know how to do ninety percent of these things and more,and i teach my friends how to do these things.

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  7. tmc November 19, 18:40

    How to sew.. Need to know how to sew – everything from clothing to leather goods.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Darkstar November 19, 19:39

    I passed all of these skills and others along to all of my children (daughters and son). Two skills not mentioned that they all thank me for is teaching them to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission and changing a tire safely.

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  9. Dr. English November 19, 19:56

    How many folks, young or old, know how to sharpen a knife or any other edged tool/weapon? For that matter how many people still carry pocket knives? These days so many people are discouraged from carrying a pocket knife because of many societal misconceptions. A pocket knife might be deemed a macho affectation from the past or just too “dangerous” or it might make some people be suspicious of one’s intentions. Add to that a couple of generations of men and women who won’t or can’t abide a “knife” on their person due to how society/school/politics has programmed them. Having a tool like a pocket knife your pocket, purse, car allows you perform many tasks without having to search for a knife “substitute”. But that is for naught if the simple task of sharpening a blade or tool edge has failed to be learned.

    Reply to this comment
    • Rydaartist November 20, 02:12

      I live somewhat remote in Northern California. A good knife (and sharpener) can help simplify a chore. Screw lose, use back of blade & tigthen…no need to stop and go look for a screw driver. Package arrived, cut tape. Etc., plus in an emergency a knife can make a simple difference between living and dying. Happy to read your remark.

      Reply to this comment
  10. IvyMike November 19, 23:54

    More important is what they learn from you when you are not teaching, the way you conduct yourself in your daily life. I learned a lot from my Dad just being around him. To say Yes sir and No Sir to whoever you are talking to. To take responsibility for your actions instead of making excuses. Never to trust Authority. Don’t believe what you read. Have faith in the fact the Military is always lying to you. Don’t return anger for anger. Never buy anything besides a house on credit. Racism is extreme ignorance. How not to grill (the man couldn’t even make a damn hot dog taste good over a wood fire).

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  11. PB- dave November 20, 03:08

    there is something to be said for Scouts, explorer groups, Civil Air Patrol, summer camps, industrial arts classes in schools……. to augment the knowledge passed down by parent figues

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  12. Sam November 20, 12:34

    That’s exactly why girls want to join boy scouts. We get the apron and they get to know why there are different hammers. Pass the secrets down to sons. We will just have to invent a better wheel. When you are using all of your survival skills, by yourself; we will knit some socks. When all you have is daughters, remember that’s not our fault, either.

    Reply to this comment
    • Allen November 20, 14:44

      I’ve been a boy scout back in the 60’s and in the 80’s I was in the Marines survival course. BIG BIG difference in what you need to know for survival. In comparisons it be like a driver fixing a broken car only know’s how to put gas in a car or air the tires. versious a mechanic that can fix it.

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      • Rydaartist November 20, 16:47

        Well there are at least 3 that think of life skills should be passed on to their children..regardless of sex. I will add, live a honest and consistent life. You are always being watched, return a dollar when over paid then cheat on your taxes? Daddy when he died asked that a Poem be read, “The Man in The Mirror.”

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      • Sam November 21, 15:57

        Even in the scouts, I’m embarrassed for how many leaders can’t tie a knot. Survival skills are no different from day-to-day skills. They are all the difference between living and dying. If you don’t know day-to-day, you must rely on extreme. Boys need Home Ec just as girls need Shop. If you want to wait until you are in the Marines to learn, so be it. These skills need to start earlier so they are second nature and you aren’t dealing with adrenaline, too. The military can’t be counted on by everyone for learning survival skills.

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        • Allen November 21, 17:30

          Like I said I did learn the basic survival skills as a boy scout. I thought I had it down packed until I was faced with it as a Marine really doing it. Not under controlled scout methodes True survival skills are a big difference than what I thought I had earlier learned. Yes they where beneficial under hiking conditions. But survival the Scouts learning just don’t/didn’t cut it. Sex was not considered an issue

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      • Sam November 21, 16:05

        And I rebuilt engines to pay for parts for my own car. Women built aircraft while men were in the trenches. I’m sure you agree that we are worth more than pumping our own gas. I’m older than you, too; so I’m a little sorry for the can of worms we’ve opened for you, but only a little. I hear they are high in protein. Enjoy

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        • Rydaartist November 22, 06:01

          Actually no, a lively dialogue is always worth while. Exchanging ideas costs no money, stirs the blood and keeps brain cells happy and humming. Hey for all! Happy Thanksgiving.

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  13. UpstateNY October 14, 18:23

    This applies to girls also. When my daughters were old enough to pick up a screw driver, I taught them how to use it. Both went to college with a kit of proper tools, not the $1 specials. These also made them popular. When my youngest was in college, a group traveled one weekend to Vermont. The car had a flat tire. The boy owning the car did not know how to change it. My daughter had to lead the job. My oldest joined a co-ed fraternity in an engineering school. She wound up with the job of head of maintenance of the fraternity house.

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