By “The Coach” (Contributing Editor)
Our grandchildren and children are our future. If we do not teach them what they need to know, other people will, but it may not be what you want them to learn!
I remember my grandpa very fondly. I still love him very much and miss him greatly to this day. He taught me about knives, firearms, camping, hiking and many, many other practical things. As grandparents and parents, it is our DUTY to pass our knowledge on to our grandchildren and children. Many parents and grandparents just do not have the time to do what we should. I often wonder how much information has been lost because it was not taught to us by our grandfathers and fathers.
I have written and read many, many articles on prepping and survival. I have read how people are prepping for a “TEOTWAWKI” situation and what they think may or may not happen. Many companies sell everything that we are supposed to need in order to survive the next coming major disaster. There are hundreds of manuals on how to do just about anything except one, teaching our grandchildren and children what they will need to know in case we are not around to help them during a “TEOTWAWKI” or major disaster.
Teaching children something is VERY different than the way an adult is taught something. An adult’s time span is short. A child’s attention span is even shorter. Do not try to sit a child down and in one day try to teach them an entire subject.
First, if a child does not want to learn something, forget it. No matter how hard you try, they will not absorb the information. They must want to learn what you are willing to teach them. No matter what you enjoy doing, DO NOT try to force learning something on your children or grandchildren. What do I mean? Let’s say you love to ride motorcycles. You want your son to love motorcycle riding as much as you do. You try to teach your son how to ride but they are not interested. If you try to force how to ride a motorcycle on your son, they will never love riding as much as you do and may learn to hate it.
I have two (2) grandsons. One of my grandsons is 13 years old. My other grandson is 10 years old. They live with my daughter, their mother, a single parent in southern Mississippi. Both of them have heard stories of how I have gone camping, hiking, fishing, boating, etc. their entire life.
You have to find a way to have them want to learn a topic. They have to come to you and ask you to teach them what you want them to learn.
So how do you accomplish this?
Like most kids their age, my grandsons like to play Zombie and Combat Action video games. They like to watch Zombie and Combat Action movies and TV programs. We can talk about the pros and cons of violent video games and movies at a later date. By my grandsons playing those video games and watching those TV programs and movies they started to ask me questions about survival and combat tactics. I explained to them that there is a big difference between video games and movies and real life situations. Until that time, they believed that what they observed and did on the video games were what they could do in real life. I explained the difference. Sure enough, they both asked me to teach them some real life ways that they could survive in a bad disaster. I need to explain that both of my grandsons have been in an evacuation shelter and have experienced hurricane “Gustave” when it hit southern Louisiana and southern Mississippi.
All three of us sat down, with my daughter in the living room, and discussed what they wanted to learn. Below is a list of topics that they came up with, after that discussion:
- Safe knife handling and sharpening
- The many uses of a knife
- Field sharpening a pencil
- 550 para cord handling and its many uses
- How to cut and melt the ends
- Knot tying and their uses
- Square Knot
- Boland Knot
- Half Hitches
- Surgeons Knot
- Land Navigation
- How to use a compass
- Map reading
- Orienting a map
- Camp fire making and camp cooking
- Basic First Aid
- Hyperthermia and Heat related injuries
- Staying hydrated
- Mylar blankets
- Trash bag rain coat
- How to treat and bandage basic cuts
- Importance of repelling Mosquitos, Ticks, etc.
- Hyperthermia and Heat related injuries
- Picking a proper camp site location
- Widow makers
- Tent set up
- Sleeping bags/their usage/their repair and maintenance
- Hatchet safety and proper usage.
- What is a “P-38” and how to use it properly?
- Bandanas and their many usages
- Trail marking
- Why wear hiking boots and not tennis shoes.
- Being observant – snakes, spiders, Poison Ivy, etc.
- Hiking Staffs
- Tarps and their many uses
- Quick shelters
- Breaking the wind
- Ground cloths
- Pistol Shooting (Air Soft pistols)
- Firearms Safety
- Sight alignment
- Trigger pull
- Proper grip
- Breathing control
- Laser Rule
Then we sat down and planned a week long camping trip with the idea to teach them all of the above to my grandsons.
We set the date for the camping trip, the second week in July. When the time came, we packed up and left. My daughter DID NOT come with us.
I did NOT let either of my grandsons bring ANY electronic device. No cell phones, no electronic games, no I pads, no lap tops, nothing. The ONLY electronic device that I took was a battery operated radio to listen to the weather.
I did not let my grandson pick what they wanted to learn each day. I picked the topics from the above list. I picked one topic and taught them only the basics. I DID NOT go into any depth on any topic. In depth instructions are for a later time as they get older. When we completed one topic, we went onto another. My grandsons were learning sponges. (The photo to the left is my two grandsons putting up a five person dome tent by themselves. They read the instruction and set the tent up by themselves without ANY help from me.) We accomplished every topic on the above list except one, basic camp fire making. It rained every afternoon and all of the tinder for BASIC kids’ camp fire making was soaked with rain water. Yes I know, they need to know how to make a fire in any weather. However, that is an in depth topic and is better suited for when they get a little older. You do not want to attempt to teach them a topic and have them board. They will retain very little, if any, information.
On the final day, I asked both of my grandsons if they enjoyed themselves and did they learn anything. Both of them told me they learned a lot and totally enjoyed themselves. They both asked when we could go on another camping trip. I told them of course we could and would.
On the last day of the trip we packed up everything and I brought them back home to my daughter. My daughter told me later that they did not stop talking about their camping trip for two days. That they were so excited about everything they had learned, they kept telling her stories.
I am so proud of both of my grandsons. They, not once, complained about anything. They never said they wanted to play a video game or want to go home. Not once did they say they were too tired or board and did not want to learn any of the above listed topics. However, they did ask a thousand questions, all of which were relevant and related to the topics I was teaching them.
If we do not teach our children and grandchildren what they need to know, who will? The street gangs and the TV!!! They are NEVER too young to start to learn!
“Be aware of that which makes you strong; for if used unwisely; it shall make you weak”.
Marshall G. Bryant, Sr.