TEOTWAWKI: Getting Folks to Recognize the Possibility, by M.G.K.

This article is about something that many preppers think about, convincing friends and loved ones that TEOTWAWKI could happen at any moment.  For most of us this idea hadn’t occurred to us until we stumbled across it or a good friend hinted at it.  The important thing to remember is that we had to come to believe it ourselves for it to make an impact on our lives.  I think the greatest fight all of us have is getting people that we love to actually consider that TEOTWAWKI can happen and that it is a reality that looms in front of us.

I am not a long time prepper.  For the most part, I used to think that people that did this kind of stuff were backwards and slightly paranoid.   I became a believer about six months ago.  As a science teacher I have the summers off so my last month has been spent in reading, reading, and more reading about prepping.  My mindset has totally changed and I actually think about the future and becoming self-sufficient day in and day out.
For myself, the idea of an economic collapse has always been at the back of my head but I always thought this could be survived with little preparation.  What changed it all for me was the idea of an EMP burst over North America.  As a science teacher, this idea came across to me as very plausible as I know the ids myself was no.

This has changed my mind set into prepper mode.  I turned to my wife that day and told her about what an EMP burst could do.   We talked about it and within a minute she became a prepper too!  God, I love that woman.  As fiercely independent as she is, she can understand sense when she hears it.  Over the next month I started thinking about my immediate family and started making short term plans for if it happened tomorrow.  Then I made plans for if it happened in three months, six months, a year, and so on.  My wife and I, being at a flexible point in our lives, have made plans to move to the country sometimes in the next one to two years and onto a wooded property in the country that we can farm, defend, et cetera, should the SHTF.  Needless to say, every day that passes I will be a little bit more prepared.

Enough of my short history, now let’s get to the heart of the letter.  Right now, most of us can think about extended family members that have very little or no knowledge of TEOTWAWKI and are woefully unprepared.  If you’re like me this probably makes your stomach turn a little as you picture them when the SHTF and what life would be like for them.  How do you and should you approach them with this knowledge?  As much as it kills me to write this, not all of my family members are mentally prepared to survive and would be a total hindrance in a survival situation.  I must think of my wife and my four kids before I think of them.  Deep in my heart, I know I am the kind of person that must warn them, whether they are mentally prepared or not.  I will tell you my story of trying to convince my family members of TEOTWAWKI.

I used different tactics for each of my family members.  For the ones that were money-minded, I approached them with the idea of a total economic collapse.  For the ones that are science-minded, I approached them with the idea of an EMP burst.  I learned these two ideas as best I could so I could field and answer any questions that were thrown at me.  Finally, my parents passed away years ago but I still have three sisters, and one brother that I could warn.  This is my story and their reactions, from oldest to youngest.  Remember, to everyone my attempt to convince was very low-key and I was not standing with a “The End is Nigh” sign on a soap box.

1.) My oldest sister and husband are money-minded and very well-off financially.  They would probably be able to build whatever and buy whatever if they could be convinced.  I was laughed at by my brother-in-law.  He is convinced that the financial doomsayers just want to sell gold.  I warned them, smiled, thanked them for their time and went away never to mention this again.  I do not think they will ever be convinced that the world will ever change from the current situation, until it is too late, that is.

2.) My brother is overweight and aged beyond his years.  Despite working in a shipyard his entire life he is very sedentary and because of this he has major health problems.  He accepted the idea of an EMP burst but he and his wife said they are convinced that the military could stop this.  His reaction was to totally bury his head in the sand, convinced the government will protect us no matter what happens.

3.) My middle sister is five years older than me and is the closest to me.  I came straight out and told her what I believe and she believes now too.  She and her husband have actually been prep minded for a long time but had no idea what they were preparing for.  I told her husband to Google “SHTF”. He and I now have regular discussions.

4.) The youngest of my sisters is a tragic story in my family.  Although she is 42, because of drug usage she looks like she is 65.  Her daughter, my niece, is the fourth child in my family and we have full custody of her due to the situation.  The only reason I approached her with this was because of my niece.  Being drug addled it just turned her paranoid and I had to wash my hands of it and leave.
This does more than just warns the people involved, it clears my conscience if TEOTWAWKI does occur.  They all now have an equal chance to prepare, lose weight, get off of drugs, etc.  I was able to convince 25% of my family members and now include that sister and her husband in future plans to survive when the SHTF together. 

If you plan to approach family members with this, here is some advice:

A.)  Make a mental list of family/friends that you want to warn.  Family members were a priority but now at this point I shall move on to close friends.

B.)  Think of their interests and decide which TEOTWAWKI scenario to approach them with.  Know all about it.  My family members are all very intelligent and will “what if” you to death, so you have to know your subject matter back and forth.

C.) Do not beat them over the head with it, introduce the ideas in a casual conversation, plant a seed, answer questions, and let them come to conclusions.  You know your family members and can gauge how to approach this.  I suggest approaching family members one by one with these ideas.

D.)  Be prepared for reactions that range from being laughed at to being believed.  If you are laughed at, don’t get angry, just tell them that you love them and just thought they should know the possibility exists.  At this point, wash your hands of it.  You tried to tell them.

As mentioned earlier, my wife and I will purchase a country property within the next one to two years.  My four family members listed above will know where it is.  I will let them know that they are all welcomed there should the SHTF when they meet the following conditions:

1.) They have stored three months supply of food for every member of your family on our property or they carry that quantity in their vehicles when they arrive,

2.) They are willing to defend the retreat property.

3.) They, and all members of their family, will be assigned duties and accept as heavy a workload as their health allows.

As sad as I am to say this, if a family member shows up at our property and cannot agree to the foregoing, I will give them a pack with one week’s food in it and send them on their way.  Will this be hard? Yes, indeed!.  I refuse to let my wife and four children go hungry for the benefit of people who were warned and simply refused to listen, family or not.  These are adults I am dealing with and as adults they should be able to make informed decisions. 

Will I give up on the family members that refuse to believe?  No, I have their e-mail addresses and will send them links to continue to encourage them to prepare for the worst.  If they come around to the SHTF mindset and begin preparing, then they are more than welcome at our retreat.  In the meantime, I share my survival books with my brother (who like me, has always liked this kind of stuff) in hopes that when the SHTF, maybe something in there will help him and his wife survive.   As long as I know I have tried, then I know I will be able to sleep at night.   Good luck convincing your own family, and God Bless.