There are two kinds of survival skills that I like to call “soft survival skills” and “hard survival skills.”
Hard survival skills consist of those abilities that a person or family needs to survive in an extreme situation, such as a disaster or a riot. Hard skills include things like basic first aid, and being able to build a fire, shoot a gun or grow a garden. They’re obviously important, but they may not be as important as the soft survival skills.
Soft survival skills are those things that people need to know to survive and thrive in the everyday environment of modern America. Soft survival skills may not help you if civilization collapses, but until it does, the soft skills – that is, modern survival skills — can help you do things like put food on the table and a roof over your head.
The really frightening thing is that large numbers of Americans and Canadians are ignorant of many of the soft survival skills. They cannot perform these tasks, so they find themselves challenged when faced with a dramatically changing world and economy.
Soft Survival Skills That Everybody Needs to Know
There are lots of soft survival skills, and the number is growing every day. Parents, in particular, need to be aware of these skills and make sure that their children know and understand them. If they don’t, the kids might not be able to get by in today’s society, let alone tomorrow’s world.
Basic soft survival skills include:
- How to cook a basic meal from scratch in a modern kitchen.
- How to balance a checkbook without a computer or the Internet.
- How to keep track of expenses online.
- How to use a washing machine and a dryer.
- How to work for tips.
- How to iron clothes.
- How to sew.
- Basic computer programs such as Microsoft Office and Microsoft Excel.
- How to do an online search and surf the Internet.
- How to pay a bill online using electronic bill pay.
- How to check your bank account and credit card balances online.
- How to order something over the Internet.
- How to type.
- How to drive a car.
- How to search for a job online.
- How to apply for a job online — even many retail stores now require this for applicants
- How to operate a cash register.
- How to use a smartphone.
- How to check a book out from the public library.
- Basic car maintenance such as checking the air in the tires and changing the oil.
- How to operate a chain saw.
- How to operate machinery such as forklifts or bulldozers.
- How to hold down a basic, working-class job.
- How to get around town using the public bus or transit system.
- How to book an airline ticket online.
- How to do basic math.
- How to send an email.
- How to scan a document.
- How to use Facebook.
- How to text.
- How to use a digital camera.
- How to vote.
- How the government is supposed to work.
- How to use an e-book reader.
- Basic law such as the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the workings of the court system.
- How to apply for government benefits.
- How to buy an insurance policy.
- How to open a bank account.
- How to save money.
- How to use a credit card.
- How to use a checking account.
- Why debt is bad and savings are good.
- How to invest money.
- What an insurance policy is and how it is supposed to work.
- How to start and operate a small business.
- How the free enterprise system is supposed to work.
- How to negotiate a business deal.
- How to negotiate for better prices.
- How to sell items on eBay.
- How to read a map.
- How to write a shopping list and follow it.
There are probably a hundred or even a thousand other soft skills that everyone should know today. Unfortunately, many of these skills are not taught in schools and are not passed on to children by many parents.
Kids Not Learning Soft Survival Skills
Don’t assume that your kids are learning these things in schools. Schools often do a bad job teaching such skills. Most children learn little or nothing about money while they are in school and less about the financial system.
Even many well-educated Americans with college degrees are completely ignorant of business and the financial system. Many more are ignorant of the law and the values upon which it is supposed to be based.
Large numbers of Americans, including many young people, are largely ignorant of computers and how they work. Don’t assume your kids know how to use a computer simply because they can play video games or chat over their cell phones.
What’s worse is that schools often teach the wrong lessons. They show kids how to use the computer but not how to use the basic programs they’ll actually use in a real job in the real world.
Prepare Now for Tomorrow’s Emergency
The best place for kids to learn such skills is from their parents. Make sure your family has the soft survival skills because they might be more necessary for your survival than the hard survival skills.
A prime example of the need for such skills is the number of people who graduate from college with a mound of debt. These people cannot find a job, and they end up helpless in today’s economy. Many of them would do fine and get by if they had just a few basic “soft” survival skills.
In today’s world, survival is a constant battle whether you’re in the wilderness or suburbia. Those who aren’t prepared with the basic soft survival skills will fail and find themselves with nothing. Make sure everybody in your family has basic soft survival skills and understands their importance.
What skills would you add to the list?