Training: Prepper Parallels in Everyday Life, by K.B.

I am no expert, but I can share. Contemplating what training or experience I have that could be of value to the community at large in a SHTF scenario, and it appears to be a bit of a struggle to decide what is pertinent. We all have our own experience, patterns, and muscle memory from day to day. I suppose that what I share here is as much an example of the importance of the give and take communication, as it is no matter where one is on a spectrum of learning, they can contribute.

Truly it is important to see the Prepper Parallels in your everyday life. Let me explain. We live in concrete jungles, rural roaming, cloisters, communes, etc. We all feel we have our place, our work, our calling, and our hobbies. The thing of it is…if you have done anything for any period of time you know two important things. (No, two important things is not the ceiling I am touting).

Number 1: You are an expert in something. It is that simple. What is it? What have you developed out of necessity, affinity, boredom, or mentoring from someone you love and respect? Is this viable to your survival?

Number 2: You have more to learn. No matter the level of expertise you have amassed, you are almost surely learning new things everyday or innovating in some manner. This is true because if it is work you have to keep apace or ahead of the game to be competitive. If you are competitive and it isn’t for work…it is a passion and you at the very least have bragging rights on the line, so you are motivated.

These two points of realization are of significant note because there is information you can share with the rising generation or with people in your circle of trust is of great value. Let’s take examples from life…

What is your profession? No I am not quoting “300” here. You are not all Spartans. I classify myself as a Jack of (almost All Trades, Master of some. I had 10 years in the National Guard with significant training opportunity. I was never deployed…It felt at times, as though I had abandoned my friends I had trained and prepared for war with. I had not control over it, I volunteered for multiple deployments was never activated. Twice, a unit I had trained with was notified of imminent deployment within a year after I transferred between states or, most recently, when I was discharged.

The last unit I belonged to was an infantry unit which had returned from deployment a year or two prior to my transfer. I found myself leading men who had experience I did not. I did however find myself tasked with leading lower enlisted soldiers who had less experience in the military by far than me, and yet mountains more combat application of the skills we are trained with. Here is where I found the most unique opportunity to lead and teach. It was simple things, time management, knowing when not to volunteer, knowing when volunteering becomes inevitable, money management…any friend you ever made in boots ends up having a counselor who wore the uniform.

My life experiences were not tactical in practice, but life experience counted and helped at least a few I was privileged to serve with. I had served as a medic prior to this…I was always tasked with teaching the lifesaver course to other infantrymen, utilizing prior government investment in my training to spread thin resources of the one lonely line medic in our company, to double its efficacy. I simultaneously found myself absorbing new army medic doctrine that had been developed since I had originally been trained one and a half enlistments prior. I was able to lead by example on the lowly details. I would point out that a good leader leads from the dirt as much as they lead from the front. That is what I noticed most about good leaders I had, and I strive to do that to this day. I strive to do this with my small children. If I am not willing to do the work with them, no one will, and a secondary effect is likely my children disaffecting from me.

I was no hero to men who had already been in harms way to protect our freedoms. There was no grand gesture on my part to be something more than I was. What I can say without a doubt is that I was real to them, treated them like equals while initiating orders and working towards goals and mission in training. I am and was as human with them as anyone, annoyed, irritated at times…there is little to nothing that appears redeemable or noble about the “hurry up and wait” that happens in the military, All of the Time! But, in the moments where we knew a task had to be done before we got to rack out, sign out, or go out on the town, we buckled down to get our task done and then go to the next squad and see if we can help finish their task…intrinsic though our motivations may be, to get the reward of our own time when duty is done.

One Step at a  Time

I look back at these and many more experiences in the military and I can’t share some golden rule of tactics, or training, and as a beginning prepper either. It is all one step at a time, cumulative information that is put into practice often. I am a nurse now and frankly I repeated steps in medic training so much that the emergency medicine I know bleeds into nursing education we share with patients more often than not. Not because I had to use it, but because I drilled it enough to where it fills in the proverbial blanks that nursing school left. I have made intuitive connections from both disciplines that have become invaluable and in my particular niche of nursing I use that info or share it everyday.

My point here is…be the subject matter expert (SME) my cadre talked about. Be confident in your experience in your niche, as much as you acknowledge that you can always learn more. I don’t care if you are like the Athenians in “300” potters, weavers, farmers instead of career soldiers. I know a large number of soldiers who were trained to adapt in any combat environment and struggle to adapt to civilian life, parenthood, some even struggle to adapt enough to choose a hobby. If you have a hobby, interest, or a critical skill work to develop it. If you are a solid tactical shooter keep practicing, work to hit the “10,000 hours” needed to perfect a skill. Become the master you have imagined you were chasing. I once heard someone explain

Interestingly Malcom Gladwell who immortalized the concept of dedication in an art or a sport requiring 10,000 hours, apparently didn’t interview the scientist he based his thesis on (Anders Erricson). So, there are articles out there that illustrate how he misinterpreted the information, concluding that it is about the hours. In a sense I believe the hours count, but I have been mentored before and often the adage was “perfect practice makes perfect”. I believe this is closer to the truth…but the underlying truth that I don’t think anyone addresses effectively is that the challenges in life or the cataclysms of the world do not wait on us. The timeline for the championship is not scheduled out for the day when I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am a master, that I am ready. Challenges are challenges precisely because one has to adapt in order to overcome. There is no guaranteed victory, in the context of our forum here, survival is not guaranteed. So I determine to share the information I have as often as the opportunity presents itself.

Learning to Communicate

Likewise, I determine to learn from any source that I can and/or feel inspired to, as often as I can…in the moment learning and teaching. I find that I am the type that talks through a problem rather than go completely introspective. If I am talking with someone, I trust I find that sound-boarding and listening to a trusted source are equal partners in my ability to address a problem or a need and start moving toward a solution. I contrast this with my wife who is inherently a student. When we first married, I could ask her a hypothetical question that sparked my interest, after which she would listen to me talk it out, usually with the kind acknowledgement of ideas and showing her interest in my thoughts. Two days later she would return to the subject I had talked about for an hour or more. Her insight was invaluable, but her standard response took time and study to solidify; mine of course solidified before her eyes…or ears when I was waxing philosophical two days prior. We both have moved towards the middle in this aspect of communication, and we are better for it. Nothing she said necessarily weakened the foundations my rambling may have laid in setting my opinion on a matter we discussed. Her opinion after study and reflection, often reflected many points I had made. It was never one of us placating one another, and still isn’t. This adaptation has benefited us both.

Similarly, I find the same type of symbiotic relationship exists with my children in unique ways. My oldest son and I are very much alike, in more ways than I was prepared for, my daughter and I are chaotically aligned, my youngest son is special needs. I, as their parent grow more adept every day at teaching and mentoring them in the way that they will understand irrespective of how I may have taught the same general principle to the others. I also am learning from each of them when I am patient enough to listen…not the least of those lessons being how to see their point of view and cater to their needs.

You Teach What You Know

I initially was inclined to talk about emergency medicine. I could teach almost anyone how to initiate an IV, set a tourniquet on your friend or yourself when bleeding. I can explain the finer points of needle chest decompression and why it works. You teach what you know, right? For good reason. I found that this topic about contributing your efforts, expertise, and enterprise to the group; as a whole, as a service really came out more organically. I ran with this instead of trying to figure out how to combine appropriate use of gauze, tourniquets, and tennis balls (…yes I had all three in my medic bag) to stem hemorrhage on a battle field or in an auto accident, with how military flanking or room clearing tactics will save your life when SHTF. I think those skills though important and potentially connected when the world finally falls into the h*ll handbasket connection, are only a drop in the bucket.

If you can put forth the effort to prep, you can combine that passion and effort with your parenting. You can teach your kids to navigate a map and a compass, how to start fires six ways from Sunday, and how to acquire center mass on the range, all the while establishing your bond with your family and friends; learning more along the way. Even if that learning is distilled down to the category of I have to teach this person differently than that person…or even inevitably the What Not to Do’s.

I reiterate more than anything that gives me peace when I lay my head down, besides my personal faith, (which is another conversation that is reserved only for face to face), is that I am making the most of the two rules mentioned earlier in this message.

Number 1: I am an expert in at minimum one thing…more really. As I am sure most of you readers are also; you know how to wipe your own behind, conduct a passable level of hygiene, you can feed yourself from mere scraps in the refrigerator when you are to tired or broke to go to the store. If you haven’t mastered that last one, did you even experience your twenties? More importantly, there are areas in your life that you have dedicated yourself. It may not be in the same field as the experts you take advice from…that is okay, you are here to learn right?

I had friends in the units I belonged to who often didn’t feel their MOS was very important. I think of some of our radio guys for instance. However they were versed in the most basic radio protocols, the FCC regulations that were pertinent in all domestic environments…but when I was assigned to assist them, they broke out individual satellite dishes and set up a network that would accommodate a battalion in the field in less than an hour and tested it, then put it all away again even more quickly. My point is, find out what your are an expert in, develop it and teach it. Do Not Discount Your Contributable Skills! I temper that rule with, just because you have a skill doesn’t mean your run whole-shot over anyone else’s contribution. Your contribution may be more important in a given scenario…but remember you are in the same group of preppers for a reason.

Number 2: You have more you can learn, and it is a privilege. Learning is a privilege. It helps us hone our craft as well as how we can assist the future generations to do it better than we. Be competitive in your focus and perfect practice, be better than you were the day before, be better than your buddy when a favor or a beer is on the line. All of that competition can help you grow. However, this is tempered by the humility of we are all contributors and needed. I am not on an anti-bullying campaign here, either. It is simply no matter how ego and emotion play a part of how we feel, communicate, and treat one another, if Schumer is really hitting the fan, we must work together to survive and succeed.

I won’t get into the examples I saw in training missions or service projects here. I will revert to the concept that your group you trust and or love are chosen by you. In the military you usually are assigned to a team, you don’t choose who your are working with and yet the mission still has to come first. In prepping you have the luxury of choosing to be a part of whichever group or camp you choose. You have selected like-minded folk for your reasons. Don’t lose that just because “things just got real”. That is a cop-out that you cannot afford…and is likely to come back to haunt you later. Ironically that principle is seamless in its application in everyday survival. Let’s be honest, these concepts in practice keep heads cool when trying to organize the bugout location, duties and schedule just as effectively as they ensure you stay friends with the folks at the water cooler and can survive until the weekend warrior activities begin.

Share It

If you are a prepper, share where you trust and are valued. Your learning curve isn’t over, but your guidance here may save the lives of many others because you opened your mouth when you knew something, rather than hanging back because it wasn’t your class or this isn’t your lane.

Don’t get cocky, but don’t diminish your own value, and if you can, bolster a brother by reminding them not to diminish their own ability or contribution. Knowing someone else cares may be just the right motivation to keep another from quitting.



  1. Critically important article as the vast majority of preppers do not have military or similar experience. It is important to establish, or begin to used these ideas to help the group to grow. If all one can do is find one person you can pass along one of your skill sets, the process has begun. Crawl before you walk, and walk before you run. If you have an skill that is necessary for security, passing that along to another person is very important. If I am into radio, I will try to give an even mildly interested person, some of the basics that can make a difference. I would also want them to have specific information they can disseminate it to others, and refer to it themselves. Write it down for them, so it isn’t lost. Ideally, I would train my replacement. The Special Forces model is the one that works best for smaller groups, and a Chairman approach for larger groups. Security should work for the group, and not run it. As the world looks and feels more unstable, people are becoming more attentive and willing to learn. Use this time to begin or speed up the process.

    1. Sleepless in the Redoubt!! 😉

      To explain. I was up around 3:30 AM with a painful toe that had to be soaked, and checked the comments. TR had just recently posted. So that is why I said “Sleepless in the Redoubt” 🙂

      I hope you catch up on your rest TR.

      1. Lily

        The following is not intended to be medical advice and is provided in the interest of sharing information.

        Sometimes gout can cause terrible pain in various joints, in particular the big toe. Uric acid from the metabolism of purine amino acids are converted to uric acid which is not very soluble in blood plasma. As a result it can precipitate out in joints. The classic is the big toe, which can be VERY painful. Joint involvement can occur in many other joints. Purines are found in highest concentration in organ meats (heart) high in meat from wild game, rabbit, seafood (lobster, shellfish), various red meats. To a lesser extent vegetables are a source of purines, in particular cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower. Don”t forget spinach. The kidney filters out uric acid. As we age the ability to clear uric acid decreases, so as we age the chance of having a gouty attack increases even if we have no change in our diet.

        I had a gouty attack after a lobster meal. I enjoyed broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and a lot of spinach. The lobster pushed me over the edge. I have not needed colchicine or allopurinol. Diet adjustment to aviod these foods was sufficient to bring down my serum uric acid to mid to high normal levels. Caffeine in coffee also has helped since it is slightly uricosuric, enhances removal of uric acid through the kidneys.

        1. The toe in WAS an infected ingrown toe nail, I think… I soaked it four times yesterday and today it feels much better, today No problems here! 🙂

  2. Most outstanding message and content. Thank you, KB.

    From your article: “Learning is a privilege. It helps us hone our craft as well as how we can assist the future generations to do it better than we. Be competitive in your focus and perfect practice, be better than you were the day before….”

    In philosophy and practice, the application of this will carry us all a great distance forward.

  3. Learning is a privilege….yes, sir! Let’s make sure we are passing on our knowledge and skills and craft to others. God will surely bless us, by bringing others into our lives to teach us as well…

  4. Great article! My favorite line was,
    “I was able to lead by example on the lowly details.”
    Since this pandemic hit, I’ve had more calls from my children than ever before. One of them said, “Mom knows stuff”. LOL.
    I finally, with much hesitation, decided to urge my adult children to review their BOB’s (Bug Out Bags) and their GOOD (Get Out of Dodge) plans. I hated to do it because I don’t think anyone needs encouragement to panic further. But, to sit at home and wait for the next shoe to drop is not in anyone’s best interest either. Planning actually can help to calm anxiety because it is an Action, and with action we feel more control. We will follow up with a virtual family meeting. We used to have them regularly. Skills identification within a family or chosen group is important. Thank you for your article.

  5. Great article. It brings out the point… “We assume most everything, be believe many things, we know very little.”…..but what we know we need to share!

  6. Hey K.B., this was a great article. I read it twice today and was ruminating and cogitating throughout the day as I was working on various projects.

    You mention a lot about learning and it really strikes me from time to time how our children who grew up with the internet and smartphones have a harder time retaining knowledge the way us older folks do. When knowledge is just a few key clicks away, it’s harder to convince our brains to hang on to it. In a SHTF situation, those of us who have actually retained much of that kind on knowledge “on board” will be a huge benefit to those around us. Ditto for those of us who possess those old-fashioned hard copies called books.

    I hope your article encourages a lot of the quiet kids in class to share some of their skills and experiences with the rest of us in the form of article submissions.

    Another thing your article made me think of was that we just never know exactly how our experiences and knowledge that we share are going to help someone. We can share with ten people and they will be helped in ten different ways. And five more people may be helped when they share with others around them.

    “If you can put forth the effort to prep, you can combine that passion and effort with your parenting.” Amen! While I wasn’t a prepper when I was raising my children, I was still trying to live a self-reliant lifestyle so there was a lot of overlap. Most of the time there was never a set “lesson” trying to teach my kids something, it was just part of what we were doing anyway and the lesson was part of it. We spent a lot of time in the outdoors so it was only natural to learn to use a compass, build a fire without matches, and to learn to identify all the plants and critters. Perhaps that’s why my kids enjoyed it so much, they didn’t think they were being “taught” anything.

    “You have more you can learn, and it is a privilege. Learning is a privilege. It helps us hone our craft as well as how we can assist the future generations to do it better than we.” I think I could write an entire article on this topic. I was so blessed to get the DNA that I did, along with the home environment, that made learning not just a priviledge, but something more than that. Passion isn’t quite the word either, it’s closer to a Need. I can’t imagine a life without being able to be learning new things on a constant basis. And I have to know things from experience too. When all the wisdom in the beekeeping world says don’t keep your swarm traps out longer than June, well, I gotta know WHY! lol. So I left one out all summer long. Now I know why and I learned some expensive lessons in the process, but now I can speak as an expert instead of just quoting “they say.”

    “You have selected like-minded folk for your reasons. Don’t lose that just because “things just got real”. That is a cop-out that you cannot afford…and is likely to come back to haunt you later.” Somebody could write another entire article (or marriage manual!) on that part of your article too.

    One more thing about kids. I’m always so amazed that my kids all came from the same two parents and yet they all turned out so differently, each with such an amazing set of talents. And that they have so much to teach me. I have so many experts right in my own family I can call on for an amazingly wide array of topics from computers to herbal remedies to designing a book cover. I hope parents allow their children to be experts and draw on them as resources.

    I better stop here. Again, excellent article K.B. Lots of food for thought!

    1. From your post: “You mention a lot about learning and it really strikes me from time to time how our children who grew up with the internet and smartphones have a harder time retaining knowledge the way us older folks do. When knowledge is just a few key clicks away, it’s harder to convince our brains to hang on to it.”

      This is the truth… The neuroscience of learning is a fascinating study, and your comments are supported in what we know about how learning takes place from the standpoint of physical uptake of information, assimilation, and memory or retention.

      Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

    2. St. F,

      I sure like your commentary on the article.

      You picked up the ball and moved it forward: “I hope your article encourages a lot of the quiet kids in class to share some of their skills and experiences with the rest of us in the form of article submissions.”

      Then your acknowledgement of your talented children. I seldom hear or read people saying such kind things about their children.

      Carry on in grace

  7. I spent several years as a schoolteacher living on one of the Lakota Sioux reservations and spent a great deal of time with the traditional people. If you want to meet some ultimate survivors, that’s one place to go. Dysfunctional though their living situation may be, they get by in the most disadvantageous situations imaginable. I attribute it to several things which I would like to share here.

    One is a deep respect for practical knowledge. They would eagerly inquire for more knowledge on “how to” topics, for instance if you knew how to do something faster or more cleverly than they were doing it, they eagerly adopted the new way and were not at all egotistical about letting go of their way, and then they would inquire what else you could show them. This is inherently a survival technique and seems to be built into their culture.

    Another notable quality was a deep sense of pride and self confidence and great good humor, in spite of poverty and oppression. The men particularly are encouraged to display pride and strength, to share stories of their exploits and even brag good-naturedly about their conquests. The women had a fierce sense of dignity and self worth. These qualities give an advantage in trying times, as attitude is so important in survival situations. Our western culture tries to subdue pride as a negative quality but we may want to re-think that attitude.

    They also have an immediate and sincere connection with the Creator and feel their own place in the creation on a real time basis. They don’t see themselves as separate from their environment, at all. Many times they clued me in to my own mental or emotional state long before I was consciously aware of it. Their senses are extremely highly attuned to their environment, to a degree that was almost spooky. Like the proverbial dog who goes to sit at the window a half hour before Pop’s car pulls in, they feel things coming. Best survival skill ever! This quality improves with use and practice. They teach their children constantly to pay attention to their environment, to notice things. Great skill set!

    Imagine a culture living for thousands of years through the South Dakota winters in a buffalo hide teepee. Yes they are ultimate survivors!

    1. Didi,

      That is incredibly interesting! Thank you for sharing about the culture of the Lakota Sioux. I agree with learning to observe everything around one’s environment. 🙂 Remember in the Little House series, how some “Old” Indians went to town to warn the white men that the “Hard Winter” (Laura’s original title) was coming? Pa Ingalls had already been observing some things, himself, so when he heard their warnings, he believed them and proceeded to put his winter preparations into higher gear than before.



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