Go Fish: The Importance of Learning New Skills

My son hit me up the other day with, “Dad, will you teach me how to fish?” After I scolded myself for not thinking to teach him this life-lesson myself, I realized there are literally hundreds of things I need to teach my son (and just as many that I need to learn myself).

I didn’t grow up fishing, for a variety of reasons. I didn’t live close to water, and my dad wasn’t much into fishing. He thought it was boring to sit around half a day in a boat (or on shore) for the chance to catch a couple fish.

The few times he did take me were a lot of fun. I enjoyed the down time because with it came the chance I might just catch something. Apparently my son has that same love of anticipation, so I should foster it.

Yesterday we struck out on our first fishing expedition, and yes, we did strike out. Not one catch. But we had a lot of fun and spent nearly three hours talking and bonding. I showed him how to tie a knot to hold his hook on the line and we reviewed the various types of lures and gear. Since we are both starting from scratch with regard to rods and reels and gear we are both sort of learning as we go.

There is a long list of things I’d like to teach my son, but high on the list are skills that I think will become more valuable in a SHTF scenario, such as mechanics, carpentry, gardening, first aid, and yes, fishing.

Why are these skills valuable? It’s hard to imagine a world without computers and stocked food shelves on grocery stores spaced a mile apart, but things could be quite different in the future. Imagine if the United States experiences anything like what’s happening elsewhere in the world, such as Greece.

If our system is turned on its head mechanics will be more valuable than computer programmers. Having the ability to build a fence may be more valuable than knowing how to build a website. Being able to hunt, fish and garden could be the difference in keeping food on the table and going hungry.

How and Where to Learn New Skills

One of the best ways to learn something new is to try it. For instance, I learned how to install laminate flooring by trying it – along with the help of YouTube and an old book on home remodeling. There are plenty of sources available for those willing to learn, and willing to try.

This spring I have plans to close in our porch with screen and install a screen door for access to our yard. I will insist my son is involved in the project as it will provide ample opportunity to explain how to frame out a room, measure wood for cutting, operate various equipment associated with carpentry, etc.

He may gripe about finding the work boring. That’s OK; so did I back when I was helping my grandfather build furniture, or add planks to his attic. But I was learning, too, and those skills have helped me make numerous repairs as a homeowner.

A local community college offers classes on small engine repair and basic mechanics. I plan to sign up this summer, and will then pass along what I know to my son. we may even buy an old project car to practice (or better yet, an old EMP-proof truck built pre-1979).

Our local home improvement store often holds “How To” clinics for making home repairs and building or gardening projects. These are valuable resources where both my son and I can attend and learn from others.

Keep adding to your toolkit. Keep learning new skills. Keep thinking of ways to make yourself more valuable, not only in this economy, but in an economy where everything is upside down. Then pray it doesn’t happen to our own economy.

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