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Teaching Your Kids The Pillars of Survival, with Toby Cowern

On this episode of Close Quarter Dad, we explore the importance of teamwork, nature literacy, disaster preparedness, communication skills, and male empowerment in fatherhood. Listeners will learn the four survival priorities and how to prioritize them in different situations.

Toby also shares his experiences and practical tips on teaching and broadening urban survival skills, risk management and concepts specific for men wanting to elevate the children's knowledge in self reliance.


  • What are the three things that Dads miss when teaching children wilderness and urban survival skills?
  • What is more valuable to have as a family in survival crisis: a high skill level or good group dynamics?
  • How does a Dad approach teaching survival psychology to children?
  • Why is childhood engagement with nature vital and how can Dads best lead the way?
  • What should Dads prioritize when teaching children about nature?
  • What is the unique relationship parents and kids must have between communication skills and survival?
  • Why is the universal model for survival important to teach young people, and how can it be used to improve their skills?
  • Why is male empowerment and support important when it comes to leading children into safety and survival knowledge?

The podcast wraps up with a discussion on how to create a supportive community for new fathers and what next steps they can take to better their role as a trainer and guide for their kids..

For more information and resources, listeners are encouraged to connect with Toby Cowern:

Resilience Hub



[00:04:14] Toby explains the importance of using models to structure information when teaching survival skills.  

[00:12:19] Training in survival psychology can increase individual resilience and survivability, but it needs to be done right.   

[00:19:39] Start engaging kids in nature from a young age, based on their interests. It's easier to follow their lead than trying to force them.   

[00:24:07] Bird language is part of nature literacy, which can help people reconnect with nature post-pandemic. Children already have the skills, but adults need to rekindle those neural connections.   

[00:27:54] Teamwork is crucial for survival in challenging situations, and group dynamics can be more important than individual skills.  [00:38:49] Conversation has a powerful impact, both positively and negatively.   

[00:47:58] Selko Bergovich is Toby's friend and mentor who taught him his urban survival skills.   

[00:53:01] The importance of being prepared for both natural and man-made disasters is often ignored due to discomfort, laziness, or belief that it won't happen here.   

[00:59:59] There's a culture of male empowerment that needs to be strengthened, with more meaningful conversations around threshold moments and mental health.  

[01:03:02] The model is crucial to structure everything off. People can use it as a reference point to determine what parts they need to work on.  



Toby's unique fusion of teaching background, risk management qualifications, military training and outdoors experience allows him to deliver Wilderness and Urban Survival Skills training of the highest calibre.

Based in Scandinavia, and frequently working deep inside the Arctic Circle, Toby holds expertise in Extreme Cold Weather Wilderness Survival Skills, but also travels extensively to deliver applied Survival Training internationally. When not teaching or studying aspects of survival, Toby also deals with Management and Coaching Consultancy as well as running various highly applied nature immersion camps and seminars, aimed at managing and reducing stress both at individual and organisational level.

Toby is also passionate about using immersive nature engagement to help promote positive reconnection with the natural environment ('Rewilding Yourself') and tapping in to the powerful personal development and growth that can be attained from this.

 Referenced: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partition_of_India



Here’s a complimentary lesson I made for channel listeners on the 3 Discussions you must have with your kids about safety and survival. It’s only ten minutes long, but could be a life saving 10 minutes of your time spent.




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