Survival Skills Your Great Grandparents Had That You Don’t

Prepper's Will - Survival Skills your great grandparents had   Our great grandparents were truly survivors and they were able to thrive in challenging times. If we think of our childhood and of everything they had to do, to be self-sufficient, we will realize they had survival skills that, today, we do not have. It is hilarious how we became so addicted to technology and how we forgot some of the survival skills our great-grandparents and grandparents thought us. We now use our phones even for the most basic things, like calculating the tip or learning how to boil an egg. We should look back and learn some of the survival skills our grandparents had.

I don’t have so many memories of my great-grandparents as I would like to, but I realize that some of the things we were doing together when I was a kid, were true life lessons, lessons that I’ve forgotten now. However, I can be certain of one thing: the survival skills they used more than 90 years ago will prove useful for me and my family when everything will go up in smoke and it will be every man for himself.

Here are some survival skills your great-grandparents had, skills that you should learn:

Hunting and Fishing

Everyone in your great-grandparents’ generation knew how to hunt and fish for food, it wasn’t a sport or hobby for them, it was a way to provide for their family and cut down on food costs. It didn’t matter where they lived, if they lived in a rural area or if they lived in the city. Being able to kill or catch their own food was an essential survival skill and it proved very useful, especially during harsh times, like the Great Depression.

Foraging

One of the few memories from my childhood involving my great-grandfather is about us going mushroom picking. Even though back then I didn’t pay too much attention to it, today I understand it wasn’t just a bonding activity. For my great-grandfather it was more than spending time with me, it was about foraging and about teaching me how to find food in the forest. Foraging is the easiest way to procure food when being out in the wild, if you have the basic knowledge of what is safe to eat and what it’s not. It is one of the survival skills you should learn and pass it on to your children.

Related reading: Foraging during summer.

Butchering

Prepper's Will - Butchering survival skill   A close friend of mine told me a funny story about his 5 year old daughter, about how they visited a farm and what his daughter said; “Daddy is funny how there are two chickens, the ones we see here and the ones we eat”. For kids and for most of the teenagers today, acknowledging the fact that the chicken breast they ate comes from an animal they interacted with is a definite NO. Even more, the thought of someone having to butcher an animal and turn it into food, for them is unbelievable. In this modern age, it is unusual to have to chop up a whole chicken at home, let alone a whole pig. Back in the days knowing how to cut up a side of beef or butcher an entire pig was a set of survival skills known by all men and most of the housewives were taking part in it. Women were even dealing with the entire task when it came to butchering an animal. If supermarkets will be gone, most of the people will turn vegan rather than having to deal with butchering. And even if they build up the courage to do it, they won’t even know from where to start.

Bartering

When I was a kid my great-grand mother used to send me to the neighbors to bring them eggs and I was usually doing it once or twice per week. I always thought the neighbors were grateful about the eggs and that’s why they were giving me strawberries or a jar of jam. Without knowing it back then, I was bartering with my great-grandparents’ neighbors and it took me years before I figured it out. In fact, bartering was so common back then that they didn’t had to tell us how it works or why they do it, it was part of the daily life. It was a common thing to trade goods and services with the neighbors and you had the constant feeling of being part of a bigger family. It was a natural thing for people to do, back then. Bartering is a skill that is coming back and it will be something you have to master when the dollar will crash.

Related reading: Barter items you should have for WSHTF.

Repairing and mending

LostWaysToday, if a shirt gets a hole in it, we throw it out and we buy a new one. We are a society that consumes without thinking and this trend is aggressively promoted by the media. Your great-grandparents didn’t let anything go to waste, not even a beat-up pair of jeans and it was a common practice for every other article of clothing they owned. Mending clothes was part of a woman’s chores and they took pride when restoring the favorite clothes of their loved ones. It wasn’t only about clothes, it was about anything that can be fixed or patched up, and it was a sustainable way of living. These are skills that someday might come in handy and you should be able to know how to fix the things you need. When was the last time you fixed something? If you can’t remember it, you’re probably not the handyman type.

Lighting a fire without matches

This was something done every day and their survival skills were improving with time, they didn’t need any matches to start a fire. This skill is practiced today by many preppers and survivalists, as fire is something that we can’t live without. Today it’s much easier to start a fire as there are all sorts of fire starters and other tools. It’s a skill that can be taught without difficulties and you should take some time and teach your kids how to do it. This article will teach you how to make a fire in the wild.

Bargaining

Today we don’t haggle, we argue with people about prices and we leave with a false feeling that we at least tried and we feel good about us, although we didn’t achieve anything. Our great-grandparents were expert bargainers and they managed to deal with local shop owners and tradesmen without breaking a sweat. They always left the store without second doubts and with the feeling they did good business. It might be true that corporate chains control everything nowadays and haggling is becoming a thing of the past, but there are also some good examples that show skill is still alive. This is something that will come in handy during harsh times. If you ever bough anything from Craigslist and you managed to bargain and get a good deal, then there you have it. You were a haggler for a brief period of time. When SHTF, bargaining will be a skill that will save your life and help you thrive.

Knitting

Prepper's Will - Knitting survival skill   I can’t remember a Christmas time from my childhood when I didn’t receive a gift knitted by my great-grandmother. She always took the time to knit and she would always get me a sweater or a pair of socks for Christmas. I can’t say I was found of it back then, but now I wish someone would give me a present that they made themselves rather than receiving something bought from a store. Knitting wasn’t a hobby for my great-grandmother, it was a method of making useful items for our family and it was also a good occasion to socialize with women from her community. You may find it strange that knitting is listed among the survival skills, but if you think about it, survival skills are not only about hunting and foraging, they are about being self-sufficient.

Gunsmithing

Today, for most of us, being successful at basic gunsmithing can prove quite a challenge. We are used to buy aftermarket parts and that’s about all when it comes to firearm modification. It wasn’t the same for our great-grandparents and having a good rifle ready at any time, made the difference between having a piece of meat on their plate or eating a salad. One may argue that guns weren’t so advanced back then and it was easier to modify them, it might be true, but our great-grandparents had something we don’t, they had the ingenuity and knowledge to do it. They didn’t have the luxury to buy a new part for their guns every time they had a problem and they fixed it with what they had. Gunsmithing is a skill that would be searched for in a long term crisis scenario and the more you know about your guns the more you will gain from this knowledge.

Related reading: 5 guns every prepper should own.

Hand Writing

Mastering hand writing was something common for our great-grandparents and it helped them in various ways; from keeping in touch with the loved ones to having journals for crop cycles. Today this skill is dying and it is all due to technology and the habits our kids are developing. If there will be no electricity, tapping your tablet will be in vain, and in order to make a list with your supplies, you will have to rely on your hand writing skills. There is no need to exemplify why writing is an important skill and why it shouldn’t be forgotten. Sure, it might not be a survival skill as many would think, but what if you keep a medical journal that holds the cure for your sickness and the only way to get cured is for someone to decipher your writings. I guess this puts things in another perspective, doesn’t it?

Our great-grandparents and grandparents left us a great legacy, they taught us how to be self-sufficient and how to face life challenges. If you have forgotten what they thought you, it’s better to look back and re-learn their survival skills. The ways of the old days may soon be back and it’s better to be prepared.

Stay Safe and God Bless!

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Other Preparedness and Self-suficiency Resources:

The LOST WAYS (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)

The Stockpiling Lesson (How to make a one year stockpile of food and other survival items)

The Quickest Prepping Plan (Get Prepped in one trip to WALMART)

Liberty Generator (How to gain complete energy independence)

Sold Out After Crisis (Best 37 Items To Hoard For A Long Term Crisis)

Drought USA (Secure unlimited fresh clean water)

Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any crisis situation)

Blackout USA (EMP survival and preparedness guide)

Backyard Liberty (DIY Cheap system to assure food for your family)

Bullet Proof Home (Learn how to Safeguard your Home)

3 thoughts on “Survival Skills Your Great Grandparents Had That You Don’t

  1. They knew how to be self-sufficient and many lived through the depression.Where they learned the value of hard work and making things last rather living in a disposable society.

  2. Dear Bob,

    First, HAPPY NEW YEAR and may joy and peace be yours!!!

    I’m really old and moldy and have great-grandchildren of my own these days and your above observations lay at the very core of my survival books and teachings.

    Although I never knew my grandparent or great grand parents, my mother and father lived through the turn of the 20th century. As a child I grew up on a self sufficient ranch and farm. I was hunting by age seven without supervision and taught how to butcher and cook my harvest.

    My father had a credo that went like this right up to his dying day (1970’s) , “Save it. It may come in handy to throw away some day!” He always repaired something that broke or quit working, sometimes several times until it could be repaired no more. He had a shop and storage barn full of all sorts of things that could be re-purposed, cannibalized for parts or reinvented to something completely different.

    Aside from being a master gunsmith, he was a blacksmith, auto mechanic, carpenter, plumber, electrician, musician, poet and best of all a master woodsman … no … he was more like a true mountainman.

    Unfortunately, as you pointed out, I dropped the torch once I became an adult, moved to the city and began raising a modern family. With deep regret in my heart I have only retained a smattering of fathers mastered survival skills.

    Still, I have 1,000 times the primitive and pioneer abilities of all but a handful of other old curmudgeons like me!

    The way of life you described above is pretty much gone and the reasons are we’ve become totally electricity and technology dependent. Worse yet we have become a “disposable society” and that includes the production of our goods and products (they are intentionally not build to never be repaired; only replaced).

    And, the real demise of that profoundly hardy way of life is the abandonment of our national Christian faith and morals within our society, which resulted in the almost complete demise of the natural, (man, woman) “nuclear family” that bonded us, one generation to another. We now rarely live in the same state, much less city as our children.

    When we were all members of a close knit family, surrounded by other close knit families, traditions and skills were handed from one generation to another and shared or bartered with our neighbors that we trusted with all our hearts. Today, people don’t know who live right next door!

    We have no brilliant, magic bullet answer here. We just know when this depended, self absorbed and instant gratification world collapses, only a few of us will have any chance of survival and becoming “pioneer self sufficient” once again.

    God Save Us All and our Nation,
    Orrin M. Knutson
    Peace Officer Retired
    Survival author and trainer

  3. thank you for your post. I agree with most of it. At one time i would have ate up all of it but i know too much and have thought out some of it as well. Since my teenage years during the 1960s and 70s I have been studying wilderness survival and homesteading preparing for the time when i would acquire land of my own and be able to practice these skills. What has added to these survival skills is faith in Christ which has taught me many unwritten survival skills that have been forgotten and some that not all of our forefathers possessed.

    One of those i am developing a sense of awareness of is community. If we have to have a gun to defend ourselves against our neighbors then how can it it be worthwhile to survive. Eventually our own families will turn against us.

    I lack the skill of bargaining and bartering mainly because it is hard to find others that want to do this. I have long valued the concept of trading my goods and services for the goods and services of others.

    from several years of combat training in the armed forces i have learned a few important facts that take away the romance of surviving a war or a nuclear attack. First the after effects of a nuclear attack will not be pleasant. I agree that the best place to be will be ant the center of the blast being instantly incinerated. The nuclear fallout will be terrible. If we escape radiation poisoning then the climate will be thrown completely off balance killing billions more worldwide but with slow agonizing deaths.

    Then there is the effects of chemical and germ warfare. I have learned of how a person dies from its exposure. A horrifying thought. Many of us know of the germs that can and will be used against us such as the bubonick plague and many other deadly viruses. It is a reality.

    Then there is the psychological and sociological aspects of warfare and martial law. Without government it is every man for himself. this means convicts and psychopaths of all kinds will roam the earth unscathed killing at will without discretion. We may live in community but gangs will from rogue armies that will roam the land raping looting and pillaging at will. If they are mobile they can escape the large cities and raise havoc on the communities nearby. Owning an assault rifle will be beneficial but remember that if you kill one of them they will remember it. You will scare them off for so long until one of them loses the fear and wants to take revenge on their lost comrade. Then they will come after you. The modern automatics and semi automatics are great but remember they are only effective weapons as long as you have ammo. when you run out you cannot shoot pebbles and rock salt. Then the ones you are trying to defend against also have these weapons and even more powerful weapons. They also have the skill and the attitude to kill indiscriminately. They just don’t care.

    I agree with many of my Christian brothers and sisters that we should kill them with Gods love and kindness. But as i just said, some people just don’t care. They will not respond to any measure of love. I call them the walking dead. We need to defend against them. They are not only gangsters but they are in the Soviet and Red Army and the US Army as well. I have met some of them. The best skill we can learn is to develop a sense of community where we can trust one another and know how to deal with those who go astray. A strong community has the best chance of driving these killers away and surviving a holocaust even a terrorist holocaust.

    I will continue learning my survival skills because it gives me satisfaction but the romanticism of surviving and restarting society is gone with me. I prefer to not be here but might be prepared if i am one of the unfortunate survivors.

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