What are good basic skills for our domesticated life?

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White bear (Admin)
Apr 16, 2003
I was wondering what opinions you lot have on what skills we should know/teach our kids etc that will be generally useful in this modern age. I notice more and more that less people can navigate without a phone and google, I see more people wearing daft clothes in bad weather etc.

What skills / knowledge do you think is good for the basics and to enhance common sense etc...


Jan 23, 2004
Southampton, UK
I think you're right, it scares me sometimes how my wife's nephews wear clothes purely for the name that serve no practical purpose at all and then complain they're uncomfortable.

I think knowledge of how to be comfortable in different conditions, including urban, is quite important. I fully intend to teach my kids to read maps and use compasses. They're already fire aware and help manage the fire when we're out in the woods and I'll be teaching them to use knives and tools. I was also planning on going through basic engineering for vehicles and maintenance around a house to reduce the constant reliability on others.

We'll see how it goes.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jun 15, 2010
NE Scotland
I try to teach my kids it's ok to make a mess, be loud and that rough play [within reason] is acceptable and it is ok to make mistakes. I'm trying to get them to take some more responsibility for their stuff & tidy up a bit more - a slow hard slog but a useful one I think.

A really useful skill for life is how to cook. No-one really taught me, I watched my mum occasionally and baked a little in school but it was when I went to university that I really started to learn, mostly through trial and error. Even now I don't really like to cook, it's not my thing - just something I have to do to keep on living.
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Full Member
Feb 19, 2013
Stockton on Tees
A rounded education in social skills, basics of wilderness living i.e. shelter, fuel, food and cooking etc and also to embrace the technological age as it's one they will be living and growing up in, that should serve as a good footing, my kids are up now but the first of the Grandkids will be out with me as of next year :)


Full Member
May 23, 2014
Forget outdoor bushcrafty skills. For the love of god people teach your kids to feed and clothe themselves, manage money, and clean up.

I see kids at university where buying and cooking dinner is a grand new adventure. I dispair i really do

Checking fluids and changing a tyre on a car

Payday loans are not sound financial solutions

This is a hammer.....this is a screwdriver.......or some real next level stuff, this is a tape measure!!

This is mud/grease/general dirt.....don't panic, it does wash off and you wont die

This is slight difficulty and/or discomfort.....again, you wont die, just ignore it and crack on


Jun 22, 2009
South Wales
How to communicate properly via typed messages. I think this is a very undertaught skill and ever more essential in the modern world. I see too many kids with free and anonymous internet access posting offensive and aggressive comments. It's rapidly becoming an acceptable culture and there are knock on consequences that a lot of kids don't understand. It's important that kids are taught the difference between fact and opinion in both what they post on the internet and also in what they read.
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Full Member
Learn to think critically. This means evaluating the worth, accuracy and bias of information from all sources.

Take a pride in being self reliant and independent. This attitude will lead to the acquisition of the necessary skills.

Develop the habits of cooperation and be ready to help those further back on the path towards independence. Be ready to help those who through no fault of their own who cannot achieve, or are no longer able to be, independent.

Distinguish between want and need. And also between what you need and what you wish you needed.

Keep on learning throughout life. Remember that there is always someone out there who knows more about something than you do.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 25, 2011
North Yorkshire, UK
Making repairs with what lies to hand; you don't need to go to B&Q to buy the replacement part, make do.

Cooking, lighting a fire, sharpening.

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
First Aid!
Accepting the fact that life is not always fair and the world does not owe you anything, never mind a living...
Self reliance - it is not someone else's job to pull you out of the Deep and Smelly when you drop yourself into it


Nov 17, 2014
Poole, Dorset. UK
Teaching kids to plan and think ahead. Making contingencies for if things don't quite go to plan rather than hoping they can just wing it. (Or that dad will come and sort it out.)
I'm battling through that one with a teenage daughter at the mo.
Just the basics, taking a jacket, even though they can't be bothered carrying it. Or having a backup plan of what to do if the phone battery dies, or there is no service.
And having a low tech backup for all the things that you rely on.


Full Member
Dec 31, 2012
Penwith, Cornwall
How to get up in the morning is normally a great one; switching off the bloody lights in the house when they've finished is a common one in my house! The eldest has 'lost' the use of light in her bedroom for a whole weekend so far!!

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Oct 24, 2017
Question everyone and everything always remembering that there are two sides to every story and the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Too many people today accept that what they are told and what they read is correct, honest and truthful, the skill of gathering information and challenging/debating via the use of normal conversation is being lost. People may hear what is being said but they do not actually listen to what is being said.

Hope that makes sense.
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