My son and I have a secret place. It’s just across the road from the primary school, a stone’s throw in among the trees, across that old bridge over the stream and you’re there. In the shadow of some old spruce trees, we have a fireplace and we can sit down and watch the roe deers out on the wheat field.
My son is eight, and I’m a novelist and I do most of my writing 4-9 AM. So, I have time for our Monday bushcraft lunch: Every Monday after school, we meet at «the secret place», light a fire and make porridge. Sometimes it gets a bit burnt, but that doesn’t matter. Meals prepared out in the woods always taste great!
We often talk about the fact that we would probably have had a great time if we had to survive on our own out in the woods. We are Viking Dad and Viking Son. We practice axe throwing at some old, dead trees. We make wooden spears. Sometimes, we even do homework.
Now, I won’t say that I am mr Superdad. I work a lot, and sometimes I guess I can seem a bit distant, especially when I’m thinking about the book I’m working on at the moment. But I like to think that up at «our secret place», I’m doing what fathers are supposed to do. There, I am a traditional, old-fashioned father, which for me means a man who spends time with his kids, teaches them stuff and who enjoys the company of his children.
You see, the traditional father is not a man who is away all the time. That is a modern concept. If we look at most pre-industrial societies, we notice that kids spent practically all their time with their parents. I’m thinking we need to bring that concept back and stop separating people by age and life stage. Kids need to be with their parents. Parents need to be with their kids. Our society has developed what I call «age apartheid», and that isn’t good for anyone.
So if you can, take your kids into the woods and teach them to throw the axe. Make a fire. Sit down. Take your time. There is no hurry. The modern world will still be there when you come back.
-Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen