Different Prepping Approaches, by Marlene M.

It’s interesting to see the differences in the way people prepare for the future. We have been reading ‘SurvivalBlog’ daily now for over four  years, and here too, we find different types of people who prepare differently. (One reason why I love SurvivalBlog!) It is also interesting to read the difference between FEMA suggestions, Homeland Security (?) preparedness requirements, Weather Channel Preparedness tips, and different books written on the subject. Then there are the multitudes of survivor shows on television from Les Stroud in ‘Survivorman’ to the man of few words — Cody Lundin in ‘Dual Survivor’ and his new partner Joseph Teti. If you want drama there is always the ‘Doomsday Preppers’ or the older version that really taught useful tips; ‘The Colony’( Season 1 only.) All show different people with different ways of preparing for the future. Some seem genuine and some seem off the top. Some seem to know what they are doing, and other seem to be real nut cases.  Some show the difference between ‘preppers’ and ‘survivalists’, or between people riding the prepper wave and those who have lived a self-sustaining and prepared lifestyle, it’s all different people, different styles, different ways.

My husband and I grew up on neighboring farms in the same very rural farming community. In our day, we were taught to never let anyone else know exactly what we had, from food to money. Never, ever give full disclosure. As we watch shows on television, we cringe at the families who divulge everything to the entire world. We were always taught the surest way to lose what you have is to let others know all about it. We have tried to teach this to our children and our grandchildren, but society is so different these days, rules for living are different. Today’s society makes living so very social, yet survival is so very personal. It doesn’t make any difference how many facebook friends you have if SHTF and you don’t have any preparedness skills or plans.  We believe a society or community is only as strong as it’s weakest link. We don’t want any of our family to be that weak link.

While we grew up living a rural preparedness lifestyle, our children have grown up with a bit more urban lifestyle. Our grandchildren have a mix of urban, suburban and rural lifestyles and now all have different and interesting ways of preparedness. They all have been taught preparedness from their parents who learned from us, however; their various states of prepping are interesting to observe.  We have three grandsons and two granddaughters who are so different, it is hard to realize they are brothers/sisters, cousins or even related. Their prepping habits are equally as different. In our family tree, our ancestors were the roots, we have been the trunk and our children have been the branches and our little leaves of grandkids flutter in the turbulent winds of the present, family preparedness has run thru us all.

Humor me: as proud grandparents, let me tell you about our three grandsons. There is the oldest; whom we playfully call the ‘jelly-roll’ from a time when he was little and always had peanut butter and jelly on his face. He was secretly married right out of high school, however; when the great grandchildren started coming, it wasn’t so secret anymore. He dropped out of college and works in computer programming to support his ever growing family. We commend him, he works hard, he has a beautiful and strong family; owns his own home, has food storage, emergency supplies and a bug out bag ready. He has a home gym set that he used to use everyday, but now only uses two or three days a week. He is young and strong, so we don’t worry about him too much, he and his family are street-smart, bright and aware, true survivor personalities.   

Our second grandson whom we call the ‘Mr. Brains’ is seriously gifted and absolutely brilliant. He is so highly intelligent; we worry about his common sense. Working on his PhD in Nanotechnology Engineering, he is still a dedicated prepper in a community with some members of his research team. He or a member of his group, has every prepper tool known to mankind and have even created some of their own. They have spent thousands of dollars as a group and it literally takes trucks to move all their stuff. He tells us not to worry, as they will take care of ole’ grandma and grandpa, we chuckle and shake our heads. He takes his vacation around prepper training camps and conferences. Whenever he takes trips for his work, he checks out the local prepping community where ever he goes. When he’s overseas at conferences, he checks out preparedness supplies in that country. He exercises every weekend and practices his bug-out with the group once a month. Him we worry about, we are concerned he may be out of town or out of the country when SHTF. If that happens, we know he will at least have enough brains to keep himself safe.

Our youngest grandson is now finishing high school; we call him our ‘little eagle’. He has been in Boy Scouts since kindergarten where he started dreaming of getting his Eagle Scout Award, which he achieved just after his 14th birthday. He too believes in prepping but in a totally different way, he believes survival is in knowledge. He is self-confident and has learned to survive on nothing. His bag is a cord bag on his back, his knowledge of primitive survival skills (along with weapon training) is outstanding. When he heads off to college next fall, we are all confident he will survive both university life and some TEOTWAWKI event. He runs or walks everyday to excess; he started running everyday about a year before his Boy Scout troop went to Philmont Ranch in New Mexico, over three years ago and has never stopped his training. Some days after school and band practice he runs, some days he hikes a trail at the local Historical Park and some days he just walks circles around the house. Sometimes he does it in full pack, sometimes carrying two five gallon buckets full of something, sometimes he carries the huge family dog in a fireman’s carry over his shoulder and sometimes nothing. But he consistently does it every day. He will be physically able to handle any situation, however; he lacks supplies for long term survival. We know you can’t just live on nothing, oh, the gifted imagination of youth! We want to shake him and tell him to wake up, but in the meantime, we keep supplies for him. 

Three boys, three different ways, and our own prepping has been shaped by them to some extent. Our children are okay, they have supplies, training and knowledge. If SHTF our kids will be fine, we have added extra to our supplies specifically for the grandkids and great-grandkids, a whole hidden room in-fact. I’m most concerned about my two granddaughters. Unlike their brothers, they do not prep and think it is stupid. One, our oldest granddaughter, whom we call ‘Missy’ now a hairdresser in Miami has asked me to teach her to shoot while she was here over Christmas. That is a major breakthrough, as she usually doesn’t want to spoil her nail polish. She has now been on her own long enough to see the need for self-defense training. Both the girls just don’t want to be burdened with ‘stuff’ and they think prepping is hoarding and silly. Grandma has her work cut out on these girls.

Our youngest granddaughter whom we call ‘Pumpkin’ has the same attitude that we have seen portrayed by many of the participants on the television show ‘Doomsday Preppers’. ‘Pumpkin’ just wants to find a man who preps who will take care of her. Her; we worry about the most, like her sister, she can cook, home can food, sew, and make jelly but she cannot shoot a weapon. She is still at home with her parents and seems to be filing her time just trying to find the right man and updating her ‘status’. So many of the newer television shows and media represent the men of the family with weapon training, military or camping experience who use prepping as a form of male bonding. The women end up cooking, cleaning up the mess and taking care of the food. We are firm believers that women need to be trained just the same as the men. Each person, male and female need to know how to survive and how to defend themselves and their family, anything less is a neglect of one’s moral and ethical responsibility. A woman’s life is no less significant than a man’s. All of our family consider themselves ‘preppers’; yet it is amusing to note their extreme differences. One maxed out to the umpth degree with stuff, one with nothing but his own skill-set and confidence and one in-between, one with no desire to prep and one with an urge to start learning self-defense skills. What exactly is a prepper? A person who prepares for a future life-changing event, so in some way I guess all the grandkids qualify to be called a ‘preppers’.

Children have to find their own way in the world. Grandchildren (and great grandchildren too!) are bound do things differently from the ways we have, or that we taught. We wouldn’t want it to be any different, but we do want them to be safe. Sometimes, their ways are better ways and they teach us. We see preparing for the future as a way to keep them safe in unsure times, but we can’t be upset if they don’t agree. Each and every person has their own path to follow and their own way to do things. Diversity is key to survival, so we have all learned from each other in our family. Thank goodness they can all still come to Grandma and Grandpa’s anytime and sleep on air mattresses in the living room and pile up on the couches and in the extra bedrooms. Our home is the ‘final destination’ for family bug-outs. Family and loved ones are a key to the internal drive to survive.  Ask yourself, do you really want to be a sole survivor if there is no one left to laugh with? Maybe yes, but it will be a lonely, desolate life. It’s the same question older or disabled people often ask; “do I want quantity of years” or “do I want quality of life”.   We have decided on ‘quality’: we want family, friends and loved ones or not at all.