New Year’s Leadership-Part 1, by Sarah Latimer

Resolutions

It is the New Year, a time when most people reflect on the past year and determine what changes they want to make in themselves and their lives during the year ahead. When I think of a resolution, I think of a vow or serious commitment of resolve to see something through to completion. Usually, New Year’s resolutions are merely ideas or desires that people are willing to pursue with varying degrees of effort and commitment. According to Nielsen’s 2015 Report on Top New Year Resolutions, the top eight resolutions of those surveyed were:

  • Stay fit and healthy,
  • Lose weight,
  • Enjoy life to the fullest,
  • Spend less, save more,
  • Spend more time with family and friends,
  • Get organized,
  • Learn something new/new hobby, and
  • Travel more.

Actually, I don’t have a problem with any of those resolutions and could agree with all of those as good goals for myself, too. As preppers, being fit and healthy is important because we never know when we will be required to live without the power grid (cooking over fires, hand washing laundry and dishes, hauling water, cutting wood for heat) and producing our own food, protecting ourselves from thieves and raiders, and so forth. This level of work will require more physical activity and strength than the typical American applies today. Also, if doctors and/or medical facilities are not available, being healthy will prove valuable. Cutting out emotional, spur-of-the-moment purchases and non-necessities in order to save money that can be used to get out of debt or turned into precious metals or land is a great idea. It is amazing how much a person can spend over time when accumulating $10 and $12 items that seem cool when we’re at the store or browsing online but in a year or two will be called “junk” because they’re either broken, of no use, were never used, are rarely used, and are not remotely necessary. My mother wisely and frequently quoted, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Pennies become quarters, and quarters become dollars; dollars become gold, silver, food, ammo, and even land. Being organized is good for preppers, too. In an emergency, we don’t want to have to go through six boxes looking for the wrench to turn off the water when there is broken water pipe nor do we want to hunt for the tourniquet or quick clotting gauze when we have a massive bleeding issue and no medical support available. It may be that you don’t know much about first aid or gardening or sewing or cooking from scratch over a fire stove, so maybe it is time to “learn something new”. If you live in the city, it might make sense to do some traveling into rural areas to look for places that you and your family could relocate and be happy away from the hordes of people who will be scrambling in chaos and violence if/when there is an crisis with limit supplies of food, electricity, and/or water. Of course, living life to its fullest and spending time with family and friends always makes sense. God and people should be our priority and give life value. So, I can see how all of these top New Year’s resolutions could benefit the person pursuing a preparedness. However, Time Magazine reports on the Top 10 Most Frequently Broken New Year’s Resolutions. Guess what? Take a look at their list that follows and see if any of it looks familiar:

  • Lose Weight and Get Fit
  • Quit Smoking
  • Learn Something New
  • Eat Healthier and Diet
  • Get Out of Debt and Save Money
  • Spend More Time with Family
  • Travel to New Places
  • Be Less Stressed

A lot of this list does look familiar, doesn’t it? Is it simply a lack of commitment that keeps us from accomplishing these good goals, or is it something else?

I propose that there may be several factors. One may in fact be that there is a slow commitment level to the stated “resolution”. We just truly are not resolved to doing whatever it takes to achieve that goal because we don’t see that the benefit is worth the invested effort. The objective isn’t important enough to us for us to change our ways and routine. We are creatures of habit, and we like our routines. Whatever is “normal” for us is what is comfortable and acceptable. Anything else is foreign, awkward, and uncomfortable at first, and a change requires determination and conscious effort. Some things, like giving up smoking or sugar, requires much more effort in the form of will power than others. For us to pursue something that requires a great deal of effort, we had better have at least a promise of a perceived return (benefit) equal to or greater than the investment; otherwise, we are likely to quit at the first sign of opposition or difficulty.

I don’t smoke, but I could benefit from all of the other discussed resolutions. I could lose a little weight and be more fit than I am. I enjoy traveling and spending time with friends and family. I could get some parts of my life more organized, and you know that I am always in pursuit of learning new things, including hobbies. However, I don’t see that these are likely to be what saves me in a catastrophic situation. Even though I stated that these resolutions could be beneficial for preppers, I don’t see any one of these things or even all of them combined as being the solution for a happy life, or even a secure, prepared life. Having achieved these things, a person will not be prepared for a catastrophic crisis. They will simply be more prepared than they were before, but they may be preparing in the wrong way since they don’t know what to prepare for.

Prepared for Catastrophe

As we enter the year 2017, we have cause for concern. The U.S.-Russian relations are critically strained; world economies are at the brink of collapse; nations around the globe are suffering from major natural disasters; and here at home we are functioning in an extremely fragile U.S. economy with a president who is spending his final days pulling off every sneaky deal he can muster on his way out of the door, which I hope gives him a good swift hit on the rear end as he leaves, if for no other reason than the fact that he took action against Israel. (On the topic of Obama’s betrayal of Israel, I wouldn’t want to be him when he stands before the Lion of Judah on judgment day.) I also pray that our nation will rectify this soon and stand strong with Israel, for the benefit of the U.S. more than Israel’s benefit. I believe the Bible and that God’s promise to Jacob (Israel) is ever-lasting when he says, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” As of this moment, the U.S. stands under God’s curse, and I only hope that God is holding back His hand of action because of Obama’s soon exit. I surely hope that Trump and Congress will turn this around and will stand firmly with Israel so that we can be the beneficiaries of God’s blessings.

Shifts

In my lifetime, there have been some major shifts in thinking. Some shifts in our culture that have changed in the past half century has to do with money, family, and home life among other issues.

In the 1950s, most U.S. citizens had some form of a savings account. They may not have had much in it, but most every employed person had one. Today, we read that most families do not have a savings account, and while some families do have investments, many families have very high debt. In fact, consumer credit card debt averages out to be in excess of $16,000 per household! This debt is in addition to mortgages, car loans, student loans, and other types of indebtedness. It is absolutely crazy how much Americans are spending beyond what we make. Furthermore, our definition of poverty is absurd in comparison to the rest of the world. Our poor are complaining that their television are too small, when the rest of the world’s poor is struggling to find adequate shelter, water, and food. Do we appreciate what we have? Do we think really need to have every luxury? I’ve lived in tiny, old apartments, and I’ve lived in large, elegant homes. I can’t say that my family relationships were any better in the larger homes. In fact, we may have been more distant, as we had more space and distractions that kept us apart. Be grateful for what you have and consider carefully what it is that you need versus what you just want. Those are two different things, and they should be treated differently. The wants should be postponed a bit to determine if they are beneficial and if their cost is worthy. Maybe there is another better use of that money.

When I was a child, there were a significant number of wives choosing to pursue careers outside of the home, but there were still a large number of women who valued home-making. They knew that their role in preparing and caring for their home (not as much the building as much as the community and function of those living together) was vital to their family and to the community and even to our nation, because they recognized that “family” was core to civilization. The idea of “every man (or woman) for himself” was considered a pitiful and weak way of living, but that’s where we find our current culture today. Even a single person needs relationships and a community. We thrive when we have others on which we can rely and trust. We need to be appreciated also. We, as humans, struggle physically and emotionally when we are in isolation. It’s just how we are programmed by our Creator.

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