the world is going to shit, mum: why my boy is learning survival skills

The Little Man (not so little anymore, but always to be my Little Man) has recently developed quite an interest in survival skills.

He’s been shaping a bow shaft and making arrowheads from bits of wood. Whittling knife blades and learning about flint napping. Reading about what you can eat and what you can’t eat in the bush. And learning how to make rope from tree bark and vines.

While driving to Armidale last week, I questioned him about this new interest.

(Seriously, mums of soon-to-be teenage boys – the best place to have conversations with them is in the car. They are your captive audience! Put on a few of their tunes and start a conversation. You might be surprised at what you learn…)

His response was not what I thought it was going to be…

“Donald Trump is going to fuck things up, Mum. And we need to be prepared because it’s not only going to affect America. It’s going to affect us too.”

I took a few minutes to formulate my response, because, to be honest, his answer kind of floored me.

Little Man followed the recent U.S. election with great interest and was as shocked as the rest of the world at the results. He now listens carefully to news reports and reads world news from a variety of sources, obviously coming to his own conclusions from what he reads.

An honest and open conversation about imports, exports, trade agreements and sustainable living – interspersed with our shared love of black humour – lasted the next 30 minutes to Armidale. It was a conversation that made me grateful I have a son who takes an interest in the world at large.  Grateful even more that I have the relationship I do with him.  And it made me realise that having conversations like this with your children are important…

…because you never quite now what another person is thinking until you ask

Little Man and his pocket knife getting ready to shape arrowheads
preparing to make a blow dart gun
the Little Man is not a boy anymore
hammer and chisel blows
hollowing out a section of wood
my Little Man deep in thought

As to his choice of language, we’re a family that allows swearing, which you can read more about here.

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

Do you have regular, deep-and-meaningful conversations with your kids?

And what has been their reaction to the new president of the United States?

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