I still have my Canadian citizenship even though I have been married to an American for 15 years and have two “halfer” children, all of whom I drag up north every summer to visit family. As a Canadian I spent most of my life expecting the Government to take care of my essentials (and non-essentials) if I were ever in need or want. After an accident on Government land I had all my outrageous medical needs completely covered. (One aside for those in favor of socialized medicine – real medical emergencies can be expensive and therefore a burden on the system so if you are too young, too old or too damaged to contribute to that system via work and taxes then it is encouraged to medicate you “comfortably” to death. But remember, it is for the best of the larger system and if you complain too hard, well you’re just not nice and therefore anti-Canadian. Canadians are nothing if not nice and will usually accept the verdict with a quiet smile and a “So sorry”. If one doesn’t want to go down quietly, one goes down to the States to pay for “extra” treatment and life. This is how I ended up in the States and met my husband.)
Like many brides I was completely unprepared for marriage and a different country made it even more challenging. It is not really true that Canadian’s are just unarmed Americans with health care. There are other cultural differences as well. As an exchange student I had been exposed to the Rodney King riots in 1992 and thought, “Oh my gosh, these Americans are violent crazies. Who would ever want to actually live here?” Yes, we have riots in Canada as well but they are generally down played and the participants are rarely armed.
The first 10 years I spent in true American fashion, accruing useless stuff, huge debts and kids. Moving to California five years ago was a real wake up call. Apparently we didn’t have enough stuff, debt, elective surgery or medication for me to be fully acclimatized to this culture. I even had a raging Vicodin addiction as a result of medicating problems away after my accident 15 years before. Living in California just made it so much more affordable and fun. I didn’t realize there was a legal limit to how much Vicodin you could take.
Leaving the Disneyland state 18 months later we had large amounts of useless stuff, huge debt, and a grocery list of medications for everything from depression and pain to the hiccups. That’s when my liver started failing, apparently we had to make some changes. Around this time my husband heard about Dave Ramsey – the “cash only, debt free” guy. So I went out and bought all his books (on credit of course!) It was a long road but we were eventually getting on the same page and started getting rid of our debt. I mention this because we could never have started towards self sufficiency and being preppers and planners with the massive debt behind us. Ramsey enabled us to head towards becoming debt free so we could accumulate practical, real stuff with no creditors coming after us. This was a totally new concept for me. We have tweaked his “Emergency Fund” ideas though in order to include beans, bullets and Band-Aids. Our idea of the Emergency Fund has definitely changed over the last few years.
After we started having problems with my liver my Nutritionist said, “We’ve got to get you off of all this stuff. Besides, when the crash comes, you probably won’t be able to get any of it anyway.” I was stunned. I looked at my hubby thinking who is this crazy, gun toting, the end of the world is coming freak. It turns out; happily, he was all of the above. (We use “freak” as a term of endearment in our family and have enjoyed being labeled as such by those who just don’t get it.) So, for the sake of my body and sanity, I slowly started detoxing off of all the crud my body thought it needed but couldn’t process. This was a tough time on our family, especially since we had started home schooling while living in the People’s Republic of Kalifornia (PRK). It is not always possible to get off all medications but limiting it to only truly necessary meds is a huge benefit when prepping your personal pharmacy. Fortunately, I was able to get off of all my meds after about eight months.
We had decided to home school our children while in California and continued after leaving. We have found that the public school system there goes against every Canadian moral fiber I had left in my body. I am now so relieved we have separated from the system. Without even realizing it, we were becoming Preppers through our process of pulling our kids out of the Public school grid and getting rid of our debt.
Then I had an experience that really woke me up to the need for being prepared for emergencies. Last summer, I had an experience at a Townhall meeting that really woke me up to the necessity of preparing to face the Golden Horde during an emergency. We had taken the children to this meeting as a homeschool field trip to expose our children to the Political process. [The people in this meeting displayed an entitlement mindset, leading me to believe that they would simply take what they needed, in extremis.] I decided I needed a gun to protect my family [from people with this mindset.] I had never felt so personally threatened (including the time I was mugged in a parking lot as a student.) As a Canadian I had only seen meetings like this as constructive, socialized, polite meetings of minds. Needless to say, I was the one educated. My Momma Bear instincts took over and my aversion to guns was overridden with the intense desire to protect my family from the violence and ignorance and “group think” of the liberal zombies. (I have come a long way from being one of them.) I had always thought only cops, robbers and military needed guns for heaven’s sake. Fortunately it not actually became violent but it was close several times as tempers flared. In the end I let my husband buy a gun – and keep it in the house, after an educational safety class for the kids and me.
Since them I have discovered that guns are like jewelry and popcorn, one is never enough. Subscribing to Concealed Carry magazine has made me not just more comfortable with guns, but more educated on the benefits to all of us in society when law abiding citizens can carry concealed. Taking a class at a local shooting range has also made me more confident. My instructor said I was a formidable shot after I repeatedly blew the head off of the paper target. My husband put the target on the fridge and reminded the kids not to mess with Mom. My parents know we have “a” gun, but with the Canadian mentality of don’t ask don’t tell, they have no ideal about our mini arsenal and stockpile of ammo we are developing.
I am not sure when I realized that the government taking care of you meant the government could “take care of you”. Maybe it was somewhere in the home school curriculum about America’s foundation or reading about The Weimar Republic experience. I started to realize that socialism is actually dangerous and that freedom isn’t free. Furthermore, independence (except from God) is a crucial ideal. Rawles has given us the workings to find both freedom and independence. As our free country drifts towards socialism, his books and blog have inspired me to adopt a more pioneer spirit. Perhaps I was born with this spirit, but it had been socially conditioned out of me in Canada. Now with the imminent crisis looming closer each day, I no longer expect (or desire) the government to bail us out. I don’t want them to, because I would feel indebted to them, and I am just now beginning to enjoy debt-free living! I don’t want the government controlling how I educate and raise my children. We’re focusing on raising them to become wise adults and not just “raising children”. Much of our society encourages us to merely raise children, rather than instill an adult level of awareness and self-sufficiency. Young adults must learn to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. Children depend on parents and if they do not mature they will become dependent on the government as adults. This makes it easier for the government to control them. In public education they can teach them whatever they want, including redefining “truth”, “freedom”, and “independence”. Do you remember George Orwell’s novel 1984 and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451? These books seem almost prophetic as we see the rewriting of much of our history, just as the Ministry of Truth did in 1984. Make sure you include books like these and “Patriots“as part of your reading list as you prepare. They have all gradually changed my socialist perspective to a survivalist point of view. Remember to pray for those not so far along the preparedness path and share these books with them. Friends sharing these with me have greatly contributed to my ” awakening”.
One aspect of just being a woman is that’s on my “whiteboard” mind (as opposed to my husband’s “filing cabinet” mind) I view the past present and future all at the same time. I struggle with maintaining a healthy value of the past, which includes scrap booking and history, getting necessities done for the present (groceries and new shoes for growing children) and planning for the future, whether it is a likely crash or college for the children. So I make lists of lists to keep myself and the family focused on priorities. The envelope system we got from Dave Ramsey works great for us, especially since we added envelopes for “Defense” and “Household”. This helps to build into our preparing things like guns and ammo, classes and shooting range memberships. We have also used this to save towards making alterations to our house such as adding shelves and buckets and starting a “Victory” garden. Even my monthly lists are split. Half of the grocery bill goes towards what we eat and need now and the other half goes towards our “secret lab” where we store supplies for the future. This helps to keep it fun for the whole family as we prepare together and we don’t feel like we can’t do anything now because of something looming in the ominous future. We also can’t be so caught up in Ballet and Boy Scouts that we are not prepared for the crisis to come. Even the kid’s electives have an eye on the future, making sure they have skills and are in good shape for the future while enjoying living now. After all, skills and character will be as important as education and supplies when it comes to a career or an emergency. So I now have no excuse to say we don’t have the time or money to prepare. I do it all along with my daily stuff, a little at a time.
We are still catching up, slowly but surely. At some point, post TEOTWAWKI, we might be able to network with some of you because of the paradigm shift I have experienced. We focus more on our family relationships and getting valuable skills then on getting stuff so we can be of benefit to our group when TSHTF. I hope this article can encourage you to not give up on those not quite as far down this road and give you some ideas to encourage friends to get on “The Program” as we call it.