Dad, is shelter really a necessity of life?

This morning my youngest daughter asked if shelter was really necessary for life.

Once asked why she asked that she noted that her teaches say the following are necessary for life:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Shelter

(I'd personally add air to that list... but who am I to contradict a teacher...)

I explained that in many places shelter is a necessity... but that shelter can take the form of a hole dug in the ground, good clothing, a cave, or any other number of things.

I then asked my three youngest which of these "necessities of life" they had learned how to provide for themselves in school.

The answer was "none".

I then asked them to consider why it is that if the listed items are necessities for life why they are learning how to provide any of them for themselves.

Do you know why schools don't teach any of the following?

  • How to grow or forage food (and how to store it)
  • How to gather drinkable water (or purify undrinkable water)
  • How to create shelters and/or clothing

Consider that statement... made ages ago.

If people took care of their own basic needs... what would happen to consumerism and the al-mighty GNP?


The teacher forgot oxygen.

Good question from your daughter, glad to know she's thinking.

Shelter, I'd argue, isn't necessary for life, but maintaining your body temperature is, so heat or cooling depending on the circumstances. Of course, shelter is a tool to that end.

Human contact might also be one to put on the list, even though it's not essential in the short term, for most people it is in the long term.

And maybe sunlight should be on the list of long term necessities, too.

This stuff absolutely should be taught in school. Would probably prevent a lot of deaths from people getting stuck out in the elements when driving through the mountains, etc., at a minimum.