The Stuff of Life

The Stuff of Life
For those of us who find nature to be both aesthetically beautiful and life-sustaining.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bushcraft Girls and Why Fathers Should Empower Daughters With Self-Reliance Skills and Knowledge of the Great Outdoors


My Father didn't buy my first car. My father didn't throw me an over-the-top birthday party every year. My father didn't buy me every cool, new toy, gadget or outfit that I wanted. My father didn't teach me that the world centered around me. Why? Because my father loved me non-monetarily and in a way that I can never repay. He didn't love me with "stuff," but he did love me enough to want to empower me to always be able to take care of myself no matter what may come my way.

My earliest memories of time with my Dad are of things like teaching me how to catch crawdads and how to use them as bait. I learned to ride a bike with him running behind me (or so I thought). I quickly surmised, as I was gaining speed down a large hill, that he had entrusted my safety a long time ago....with me. My own safety was now in my own hands. I panicked, but somehow I knew that he wanted for me to succeed and that he wanted for me to do it on my own. I mastered that bike that day.

He taught me everything from identifying dangerous snakes to siphoning water in a situation where you can't reach the water. I learned to be strong, brave, but not fearless. I learned respect for mother nature. I learned that the world, my surroundings and circumstances will not adapt to me, but that I must be capable of adapting. I learned the most profound lesson from my Dad that I have ever learned. I learned that I am capable of improvising, adapting and overcoming stressful or even frightening situations and that I am strong enough to not only rely on my own will and tenacity, but strong enough for others to lean on as well. And, all of the most important "stuff" that my Dad taught me, he taught me in the great outdoors.

I can't thank my father enough for being such a profound influence in my life and for being strong mentally in a way that I deeply admire and have forever sought to be like. For all of those long hours I spent climbing and hanging out in trees, thinking about exploring the world, and considering all of the possibilities in every landscape I encountered, thank you Dad.

Fathers who do outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, shooting, archery, exploring and especially  bush-crafting and survival skills, have a remarkable ability to pass on a legacy that is simple, yet enduring to their precious daughters.....empowerment. You have, within your grasp, the ability to teach your girls to master their surroundings via shelter building, fire-crafting, hunting, fishing, trapping, foraging, knot-tying, cordage making, water purifying, and knife skills. The moment you strap that kit or backpack onto your girl and begin to show her all that you know....you are forever changing her in a way that will empower her to go out and take on the world.

As you raise your "bushcraft girl," you are increasing her odds of success in life. You are showing her that she is strong, capable, confidant and worthy of conquering her surroundings even when those surroundings don't always play by the rules. If you invest the time, the dedication, and the love into your daughters, your daughters will flourish. Your "bushcraft girl" will be less likely to be taken advantage of by others, less likely to compromise her dreams, and less likely to devalue herself. But, most importantly, you leave a legacy with your girl that will last a lifetime and beyond. Raise your daughters to be strong and  independent. Give them a solid foundation in the great outdoors instead of gadgets. Love them enough to empower them with real life skills. I will be forever grateful that my father raised a bushcraft girl.

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