things every dad needs to survive

5 Things Every Dad Needs to Survive

One of my favorite reality TV series is Alone. In this show, contestants are stranded in the wilderness. The whole point is to see if they can outlast the other contestants. It’s an interesting study of how far humans will go for money.

Each contestant can bring 10 items. I’m fascinated by what they decide to take—things like ropes, rice, and a knife. The decision to take certain things and leave some behind can be life or death. As a dad, what would you pack to brave the elements? Here are the 5 things every dad needs to survive.

1. Shelter

On any episode of Alone, you’ll find the first thing the contestants do after being dropped off is find some kind of shelter for the night. It may be temporary, but the point is to find solace for the first night and be as safe as possible. 

As a dad, where do you find peace? God is my shelter. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble.” In the midst of frustrations, failures, and the chaos of life, he hears, listens, and comforts.

Where do you find shelter? 

2. Fire

There’s something powerful about a fire. Not only is it warmth and protection, but it’s life and energy. When we feel alone, a fire will literally warm the soul. Fire is like a passion, a purpose, a goal to run toward. And we all need one. It could be a hobby or work. What are you most looking forward to right now? What is making your heart come alive? Find it, because it’s one of the things every dad needs to survive.

As dads, it’s easy to get lost in marriage and family and forget yourself. While it’s great to be selfless, we must guard against not having passions of our own. What wakes you up, causes you to work harder? Find your passion and pursue it. Imagine your kids seeing their dad living on a mission.

What’s motivating you right now?

Jesus said, ‘Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

3. Food

In one episode of Alone, I watched a guy struggle so much to find food that he lost too much weight and was forced to forfeit. The show kicked him off because it was dangerous to live without food for so long. He had lost so much weight he was risking heart failure.

There comes a time when you need nourishment. Just like one can’t go too long without food, I’ve found I can’t go long without the guidance of God’s Word. Jesus said, “Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” As dads, we need the wisdom found in a steady diet of Scripture, for ourselves and for our families. Treat it like life and death.

Where do you point yourself and your kids for wisdom? 

4. Tools

I’ve seen contestants on Alone who didn’t pack fish hooks as one of their 10 items and had to create a net from twine and wood to try and catch fish as they swam downstream. 

As dads, we will often study many things related to our jobs or hobbies. But we seem to think fatherhood is supposed to happen naturally, without any work or study. Thankfully, there are tools out there for surviving as a dad. One such tool is our quick, daily encouragement for becoming a better dad that’s delivered to your inbox. 

What tools are you using to survive? 

5. Community

If you’ve never watched Alone, you might not know that most contestants stay in the wilderness for many days. They usually know how to hunt, survive in the elements, keep warm, and occupy their time. Some talk to the cameras while others create things they can talk to—like Wilson from Castaway—after being alone for so long. 

But no one was created to be alone. So in every case, even the hardest, most knowledgeable survivalist goes home when his or her emotions get the best of him or her. People simply get tired of being alone. In some cases, the winner is out there for 90+ days. But, eventually, the lack of social connection is too much to bear. 

The craving for family and friends is powerful. Community is one of the things every dad needs to survive. Whether we realize it or not, we all need a team or network of friends in our corner, especially in difficult seasons.

Do you have a community?

Sound off: Of the things every dad needs to survive, which one do you need most right now?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How can I improve as a dad right now?”