In a recent interview with the Radio Times, survival expert Bear Grylls shared his rules for the kids of today designed to help them cope with all the challenges of modern life. Don’t worry, there’s no mention of drinking urine or sleeping inside a deer carcass. It’s actually pretty simple. And that’s basically the point. Taking children back to a simpler, more wholesome way of life without the constant noise and stimulation of television screens and computer games.
Bear Grylls’ manifesto for children
1. Get fit
2. Outdoor classes for all
3. Ban computer games
4. Climb mountains
5. Take risks
6. Community service
“I think kids get a hard time,” Grylls explained. “We go to some tough estates with the Scouts, and I find that kids don’t lack ambition, they lack opportunities. If they don’t have opportunities, they get frustrated, go defensive and the hoodies come up. But when you give them opportunities and take the shackles off, they love it. I take seven-year-olds up the mountains, and I see these massive smiles come across their faces.”
We asked some real mums what they thought of his manifesto.
“This is all great — in theory. I’m not sure how much time I have for taking my kids up mountains. Nor do I think community service is necessary to teach kids the right values. That comes from the parents, which is why it’s normally kids who don’t have great home lives who do end up doing community service.” Thea, 36, mum of four.
“I’d have a riot in my house if I banned computer games. I do limit my kids’ screen time — or at least I try to. They do plenty of outdoor activities, so I guess for me that balances it all out.” Suranne, 29, mum of two.
“I agree with encouraging children to take risks. I think we’re often guilty of wrapping our kids up in cotton wool. It’s natural to want to protect them from the world — it’s a cruel place at times — but they can learn valuable lessons by stepping out of their comfort zones now and again.” Magda, 30, mum of one.
“Personally, I’d like a manifesto for parents! I’d love some more risk-taking and mountain-climbing in my life. I wonder if Bear Grylls would come and do my ironing while I get on with that?” Lou, 26, mum of one.
It appears that marred dad of three Grylls can at least relate to the problems modern parents have wrestling iPads out of their kids’ sweaty little hands.
“We’re all involved in the same battle with our kids, and it’s hard because it’s such a cultural thing,” he told the Radio Times. “But I think that being on the computer all the time erodes imagination. I don’t want to be a woodland bore because I’m not like that, but the best things in life aren’t things.”
Grylls’ latest TV show, Bear Grylls: Mission Survive, sees him take celebrities including Emilia and Laurence Fox, Dame Kelly Holmes and Mike Tindall to a remote island for a 12-day survival mission. It begins on ITV on Friday at 9 p.m.