Taken at face value, most people would think that the Vikings were ruthless, villainous, blood thirsty raiders who pillaged, killed, raped, and destroyed whatever they wanted, when they wanted. This general view has been re-painted time and time again through movies, television, and even comic form (Hagar The Horrible, anyone?). However, as we definitely know from our current time in history, the story is always told by the victors. So, I wonder how much of the story of the Vikings is historically accurate, and how much of it has been propaganda from the victors (religions, empires, or time itself)?
If I had to guess, which is something I excel at, I would say that they were a people who lived in a tough part of the world, and they had the courage (and/or need) to explore other areas and take what was required to supplement what they were not able to get at home. They wanted to provide for their families. They wanted to live a good life that would make their Gods proud. They wanted to be happy. Is that really any different than any other group of people in this world, today or in the past?
As I have been thinking about what I believe the Vikings wanted in a lifetime, I have also been considering my own areas of interest for my own life. With a new son, and as a new Dad, providing for him and leading him to be a good man are obviously large concerns. So, I will list the areas that I want to improve in my own life, and also draw a comparison to how the Vikings lived.
- Dad Fitness: I am extremely overweight and can barely climb 2 sets of stairs without breathing so heavy that I can’t carry a conversation. While my health parameters are in acceptable ranges (except for the body weight, etc.), my fitness is definitely sub-par. This needs to change.
- Viking Fitness: Vikings were fit for more reasons than just going to war with others. By all accounts, the Vikings hailed from an inhospitable region that made raising animals difficult, and farming even more difficult. Travel was typically by boat or by beast or foot overland. Considering what I know from my own travels in Scandinavia, walking over mountains and down cliff sides ain’t no joke, so fitness had to be top notch. And they didn’t even have Crossfit!
More areas to follow, but I would be interested to hear about areas that you feel are critical to being a great Viking Dad! Feel free to leave your ideas in the Comments.