- February 14, 2012
- 2 comments
Growing up with a dad who served in military Special Forces gave me a little bit of a different upbringing than most other children. Learning survival skills and self-defense training beginning at the age of 5 seemed pretty normal to me. I thought everyone my age was learning how to extract water from cactus, defend against various predators, and navigate through dense forests without a compass. It was a fun adventure for me. I didn’t know any different until one day, when I was 6. My teacher asked me to describe something fun I had done over the weekend, and she became concerned when I talked about skinning an alligator gar (a fish with hard, diamond-shaped scales, having a long jaw and needlelike teeth). This might have gone unnoticed in other parts of the country but didn’t go over very well in the Los Angeles school district. Needless to say I was identified as having morbid thoughts and labeled as a “High-Risk” youth, though it was later cleared up.
Besides the obvious benefits of being able to assist with emergencies, there was the secondary gain of feeling confident and learning how to be resourceful in everyday life
I eventually realized that I was a little different than everyone else in my class and learned to keep quiet about that stuff. Fortunately, I had a best friend in the class, who did not have a similar upbringing but with whom I could relate. What was a little weird growing up turned out to be very helpful and pretty cool as an adult. Actually, it guided me and cultivated my passion to pursue the medical field in order to help others. Besides the obvious benefits of being able to assist with emergencies, there was the secondary gain of feeling confident and learning how to be resourceful in everyday life. I’m the gung-ho guy who’s always over-prepared on camping trips just in case somebody else didn’t bring adequate supplies. I’ve also carried that into my day-to-day life where I believe that practice and preparation are the fundamentals of survival.
Nowadays, I try to find a happy medium so my kids don’t look at me like I’m crazy but where I can teach them the essentials and benefits of survival skills. This includes the fun stuff like fishing, purifying water, locating edible wild foods, self-defense, etc., as well as CPR and First Aid. CPR and First Aid are not taught or offered at most schools and tend to fall off of the radar for most families. Unfortunately, it often takes a tragedy or emergency (See our Playdate article on Emergency Readiness) to wake people up and get prepared. My suggestion is to pick a day for reviewing emergency procedures specific to your family and arrange to take a CPR and First Aid Course together. You can sign up for these at your local Red Cross or YMCA. You never know when these skills might come in handy and at the very least having skills will give your family a sense of feeling prepared if they are ever threatened by an emergency or natural disaster. Teaching your kids these skills is a perfect excuse to refresh your skills or get out there and learn them for yourself if you haven’t done so already!