No Man Is An Island, by J.S.

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.” – John Donne

Compared to the seasoned veterans of the preparedness camp, I am a rookie. I have no specific training in any field or category that would make me specifically qualified to write an article on preparedness, but that is why this is so important.

Majority of Preparedness Individuals Are Not Specialists

Odds are the vast majority of TEOTWAWKI preparedness-aware individuals are not specialists in any specific category of emergency or end of societal type skills. Yes, they have a few specific things that they can lean on, as do I. But, in general, they are just the “average Joe” that realizes being prepared is a smart thing to do, and it is fun to learn new things. The reality is that they had to learn from someone else, just like I have had to do.

But nothing I have learned, read, or found discusses the difficulties of dealing with family dynamics. Yes, there are small discussions of how there needs to be plans and everyone needs to be on board and “trained”. What happens if your wife is not part of the plan and your kids are too little to be help, or too old to listen anymore?

You Plan Anyway

Well, here is what I have done– plan anyway. The biggest mistake along the way I have made was to be embarrassed or secretive about what I am doing. My wife may not agree with all my ideas. A good wife makes you better by pointing out your flaws, and you have to be man enough to take the criticism and grow. But she is beginning to accept them. On occasion, she has even found some of the tools and tricks to be useful, like the fact that we have fire extinguishers accessible and flashlights in every room.

They May Surprise You

Also, when someone knows it is important to you, they may surprise you. When I wanted a gun safe, even though she doesn’t even know how to use a gun, she found a 16-gun combination (tumbler not electric) standing safe for $50 on Facebook. I got it that same day.

Eventually They Come Around or Ask Questions

Eventually, they will come around or begin to ask questions. At the absolute minimum, they will have heard about important things that may become useful in an emergency. Make a printed list of all emergency contacts and where it is posted, have a safe hidden place for important documents, note where the extra food and tool storage is and where the firearms are and where to find the combination if you forget, et cetera. (Even if they are not interested in shooting yet, give it time.) These are all inobtrusive elements of necessary planning that my wife has been told. Sometimes she’s told enough where she says, “Yes, I know already.” But that keep us on the same page. There was never a discussion of how to plan. She doesn’t have any desire to do it, so she trusts me to handle what is needed.

Leverage Your Assets

Now I will not take anything away from my wife’s skills, which is a great asset; she is an RN. That right there means I don’t have to do medical, and I didn’t have to prep for that. We have first aid kits. Anytime I want to get medical supplies, there is never a debate on why. (Well, I haven’t gotten that emergency surgical kit yet, but it’s expensive.)

Lean On Your Spouse’s Skills and Assets

So there is another point– lean on your spouse’s skills and assets. Say she loves clothing. Okay, tell her you want to get winter camping clothes together. Maybe it is knitting that she loves. That is awesome. Let her buy all the knitting yarn and what not she desires. You might even want to learn from her. Making clothing is a lost skill that may come back when factories are no longer working.

Do Things With Your Spouse and Serve

Doing things with your spouse is part of a healthy relationship. That doesn’t mean forcing your spouse to go on week long camping or hunting trips with you. Doing that will likely have the opposite effect. Instead, involve yourself in what they like. The natural byproduct of you having fun and serving your spouse will be that they want to serve you. Then you can plan a hike or short camping trip. Embed those necessary skills or tell your spouse outright that you want to learn them. They may shock you by learning them with you.

Build Strong Foundation At Home

Building a strong foundation at home is essential to emergency preparedness and vital if TEOTWAWKI happens. With stress, everything breaks down to the simplest elements and all the problems come out. Think of difficult times and challenging events as a test run of what might come later.

No Money, No Problem

Money seems to be a problem for people. In fact, one of the biggest problems I run into when talking with friends about general emergency preparedness is that they invariably say, “I know I should have a plan” or “Yeah, that is something I have been meaning to get to.” When I ask them what is stopping them, they have no answer or they say money. If it is a good idea, why not make it a reality?

Many Needs and Plans Require No Money At All

The major part of preparing for emergencies is having a plan, and there are so many needs and plans that require no money at all. They require two specific things that are more valuable and perishable– time and skill. They require time to think and imagine what might happen or be needed. And they require skills that have to be learned over time and practiced to either maintain them or improve them. Otherwise, these skills will perish.

Skill Development Takes Time

If you want to develop skills, you have to invest time. Learning something takes time. From books it is a slow and arduous process. That is what teachers are for; they speed up the learning curve. I’m a high school AP teacher. My number one goal is to make my students smarter than me so I can also learn from them. Learning is the greatest immeasurable asset. Through this anyone will eventually move their skills towards a seasoned preparedness veteran.

The Biggest Misconception

The biggest misconception about prepping is that you must go it alone because people will think you are crazy or are uninterested. No man is an island. People are all around you and will be the rest of your life. One must learn to consider people as your biggest asset. They can also be a danger and a problem, so be cautious and learn how to read people. That is a necessary skill for life and even more needed in an emergency. Know how to leverage people for mutual benefit. Before an emergency, seek out people to learn from. This will also create a network of specific individuals to keep in mind if there is a emergency.

Use the Brain and Not the Wallet

Extrapolate this to the prepping world, which means use the brain and not the wallet. Look around and see who is in front of you. There are so many parts of prepping that require little to no money. Instead, they require thought and time. Think of who you know that is a camping person, who likes to shoot guns, and who is in the medical field. Just those three alone are a wealth of assets you can use. They do not need to know your plans. However, sharing an interest with them means learning from them. In the end all the tools in the world can’t build a house, car, or fix a stove. These are skills that take time to learn, and the right person will have the tools. Spend enough time with them. They will likely give you most of what you would need. If they love camping, they have extras. This is how I have acquired most of my gear– from the generous gifting of friends and family.

Another Hidden Opportunity

Another hidden opportunity occurs when there is a necessary expense for life or family obligations, like buying a bigger car due to children growing and doing more activities. Why not discuss the needs for the family with your spouse, including the possibility of getting a vehicle that is also good for an emergency? If you have a gas vehicle, why not buy a second that is diesel? This way there are multiple fuel options. Maybe you might get a car that is a bit oversized to be able to go camping or carry extra gear. If you are already buying the vehicle because is a necessity for the family, make it also an opportunity for potential emergency need.

Protect The Home

I have a family of four and am a teacher. My nurse wife makes great money, but we value her more as a homemaker for our two toddlers. Thus, we have no extra income. Money is tight. But that has not stopped the need to prepare and protect my family. As a husband and father, God bestowed on me the duty of leading my home.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” -Ephesians 5:22-25

Lead By Example

I cannot force my wife to do anything, but I can lead by example. Leading my home means preparing for and keeping the safety and sanctity of our home. I don’t tell my wife what I am going to do; I tell her what I’m thinking because when she comes up with the idea she has input and will do it. So when I do buy something, which thus far has been stored food and books, I tell her my idea so when she goes shopping she gets what I was thinking about.

Look At What You’re Doing

Look around at what you are doing, instead of trying to save up for those needed tools or stored food or water storage. Find free stuff lying around at your parent’s, uncle’s, or friend’s house. Go shooting with that Uncle or Aunt you always mean to spend time with. Garage sales and Craigslist are full of stuff for almost nothing. Most importantly, stop thinking as if you are building this preparedness island where nobody will ever enter.

Work With People

This world is full of people and even after TEOTWAWKI there will be people. Learning to work together is survival, because some you will see as an asset and others you will learn to avoid. This ability to read and deal with people is also a necessary survival skill.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been another entry for Round 75 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
  8. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
  6. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 75 ends on March 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.




20 Comments

  1. Excellent and we’ll written article. The only point I might disagree with is the contention that since your wife is a RN you don’t have to ‘do’ medical. I would argue that everyone needs to be trained on at least advanced first aid, since your wife could be injured and unconscious and you might have to help her. Or did I misunderstand what you were saying?

  2. Its true that you need more than one person in each group or family that needs to be proficient at any particular skill. But you’ve got a nurse brother! Nurses rock! Nice article.

  3. An observation I have made from experience in getting family and friends
    To prep. I have family with a big background in the medical disciplines, 2 nurses, 2 paramedics, 1 EMT, 1 dental assistant.
    But none of them had a medical kit or
    Supplies at home.
    When one of them became a qualified SWAT team paramedic he had to build a medical kit. I got him 2 tactical backpacks and we built them together.
    Then we put together a very large tote box of additional medical supplies for resupply and advance care.
    For Christmas I put together FAK’s for each family household based on those requirements and individual kits for all the large ALICE packs which I also gave as Christmas gifts. Now I have the medical preps I always wanted.
    The lesson learned is that folks that
    Work in a particular field don’t see needs outside of work. Also people only do what is important to them at the time.

  4. If your family really balks at the idea of preparedness, family camping could be a stealth substitute activity. Lots of survival skills can be learned under the guise of camping. Wilderness skills, map reading and compass, how to choose a safe campsite, different ways to build a fire and start it, quietness protocols and signaling, teamwork, safety, first aid, finding water, water purification. Yes indeed, camping could become a positive obsession for you! A lot of camping equipment mirrors survival equipment. You’ll probably need a couple of hunting rifles, too. Maybe you could even find a way to afford a small, remote hunting cabin as a summer camping base, where you could surreptitiously cache some long term food and medical supplies. Everybody wins.

  5. The most pertinent comment I feel was” Majority of Preparedness Individuals Are Not Specialists.” I have always felt that Robert Heinlein said it best:

    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

    Good article, reminding us that it’s trip that’s important.

    -Robert A. Heinlein

  6. Ok folks here is my long list of what we put into a large tactical pack as a immediate casualty medical kit. The pack is always available for emergencies away from our camp during normal outdoor activities. Remember each member has their own self help medical kit.
    1 large tactical pack
    2 1 gt canteens w/ cup
    4 carabiners
    50 ft 550 cord
    4 heat tabs ( fire starters )
    24 Benadryl liqui-gel tablets
    1 bottle Advil
    1 bottle Tylenol
    8 sets nitrile gloves
    1 micro shield, cpr barrier
    1 oral airway
    1 bottle absol
    1 tube oral jel
    4 4” ace wraps
    2 SAM splints
    2 cbt tourniquets
    3 military cravats
    4 tubes triple antibiotics
    1 roll medical tape 1” x 10 yds
    1 pkt burn gause
    2 pkts instant hot compress
    2 pkts instant cold compress
    2 pkts petroleum gauge 3”x 36”
    1 pr EMT scissors
    4 pkts 4” steri-strips
    2 6” self adherent wraps
    2 3” self adherent wraps
    1 military field surgical kit
    1 bag cotton balls
    4 heat tabs ( fire starter)
    1 water filter
    1 3 pack Vaseline jelly
    4 surgical masks
    1 stethoscope
    3 space blankets
    2 headlamps ( spare batts)
    1 BP kit
    1 bic lighter
    1 mil causality blanket
    40 4”x4” gause pads
    1 box (100) butterfly closures
    6 military FA dressings
    8 Israeli battle dressing
    2 packs moleskin
    4 small tubes of superglue
    8 iodine swabs
    1 tube glucose gel, oral
    2 chapsticks
    1 epipen auto injector
    30 bandaids (vari— sizes)
    2 rolls 2” Med tape
    1 8oz bottle hand sanitizer
    1 1” roll cloth tape 10 yds
    1 pr tweezers
    6 large safety pins
    1 pkt Dentemp
    2 8 oz bottles of betadine
    12 disposable scalpels
    4 lg leaf bags
    1 Emi led otoscope
    8 pkgs assorted suture thread w/ needles
    4 chest seal bandages
    1 set of 5pc forceps,hemostats
    1 medical stapler & removal kit
    1 set 6 hemostal pcs
    1 Olsen needle holder
    1 suture removal kit
    1 5 piece eye wash kit
    1 pulse oximeter
    4 3” roller gause
    4 6” roller gause
    2 500 ml sterile saline bottles
    1 glucose meter kit
    1 fingernail clipper
    1 water filter
    8 protein bars
    1 pr safety glasses
    1 small magnifying glass
    1 pencil w/ notebook
    3 pkts quickclot gause

    In the medical tote box is large quantities of backup supplies along with medical books such as, SF medical book, “when there is no doctor” and “when there is no dentists” . Also a complete set of dental tools. We also hold on to all medical eguipment that the family has acquired like foot splints, crutches, litters, wheel chair, bed pans, etc.
    In closing I hope this helps all of you and I am sure I forgot something we packed in the ruck but just ask a mediavac paramedic and a emergency room nurse.
    Various kits are excellent Christmas gifts.

  7. My circle is made up of average joes.. until you need a specialist in electrical work, or the medical field, or a mechanic, or someone to fly a plane..my Machinist friend who is married to a RN .. Average Joes without Skills to make it if SHTF ;-)..

    Other then that, Most of us Average joes hunt together, fish together, Climbed MT. Adams, and MT. Rainer when we were younger and did our fair share of backpacking in the Cascades.. I found most preparedness minded people have outdoor hobbies that they have incorporated into their lives.

  8. This was good. But I still maintain that TEOTWAWKI is not a time and place where all known systems break down and we’re back to the late 1800s. Rather, it will be the day — and subsequent months and years — when you have decided you do not want to be submitted to the global monitoring systems now being developed right under your nose, in your hand holding your smart phone. (And in your smart appliances that talk to and are governed by the smart grid. Or the biometric scanning you are and will increasingly be subjected to, all or purpose of “monitoring to manage,” as the United Nations says in its own sustainable development papers – available to read online.) Then, you will need to have quite a similar community to help you meet all of your basic needs. If you are an outspoken opponent of tracking technologies, where will you buy your clothing when all new clothes are made with threads that talk to the smart grid? Where will you get cash when your bank gets a new ATM and it requires you to use your fingerprint or face scan to receive money? What is your plan for healthcare when your doctor wants you to swallow pills that report to your doctor, via your smart phone? Will you buy a new car when it includes body sensors on the steering wheel? If not what will you drive? (This is the short list, BTW. There’s much more where those came from.)

    This is no tin foil hat paranoia — go read about Planetary Skin. Go learn about the plan for every citizen on the planet to be connected through 5g by 2030, which fits very nicely with Agenda 21/2030, now adopted by EVERY global corporation.

    Build your prepper community, but you if you are going to live outside the global surveillance grid that is well-underway, you might want to start now, and find like-minded folks. My cell phone (a dumb one) died a couple of weeks ago and I am not going to replace it. I’ve already stopped buying new clothing unless I cannot make it or get it used. I pull cash at pay day, and keep using it (so the stores I do patronize have a reason to keep taking it). My garden seeds are started. My doctor is awake, we have a plan to use a constitution-loving health care sharing ministry. I am not paranoid, I am not afraid. I choose freedom, and yes, if my efforts to stop the Anschluss fail, I will accept the sacrifice.

    1. Agreed, whenever someone makes light of my caution I tell them it’s not today’s technology I’m really concerned about. It’s the technology that is being developed and will be mainstream in 5 or 10 years. Just recall what technology was like 10 years ago and compare it to now. For whatever reason people assume technology is standing still as they post photos, voice, and other personally identifiable information online. It’s already too late to “go dark” on social media and a host of other services that anyone has already overshared with. Also, I work in Cyber Security.

  9. Sadly, not only is my spouse not in agreement with me, but she keeps saying how crazy and dangerous this thought process is. She is of the opinion that God will take care of you, and you don’t have to do anything. It doesn’t matter that I have shown her Scripture upon Scripture, and real world events of disasters, she is in denial. It has reached a serious crises point, and honestly, I don’t know if our marriage will survive much longer. Obviously there have been other issues, including to refuse any submission on just about anything I decide. Prayers would be seriously appreciated by all.

    1. Another Anon et al.,
      I will pray for you and your wife; that her heart softens and that you have the strength to be patient. Don’t quit! Love your spouse. Also, be compassionate when the moment comes and your spouse realizes that you were the reasonable one. None of this “I told you so stuff.” :]

    2. Anon, it sounds like time to prioritize your feelings. It’s enormously frustrating to not be on the same page with the world we live in and then to not have support of the one person you need to rely on every day but a successful marriage needs real sacrifice. Cliche i know, but bear with me. This is hard to say, but maybe the sacrifice will be your life and freedom, and pride. That’s the worst that can happen. On the other side of prepping and survival is just more life, more of this— if you’re lucky. There will always be difficult choices to make with your wife, especially after SHTF. On the other hand, maybe you catch a stray round before it kicks off, or happen to be in the epicenter of the disaster. We always want to be smarter, more prepared, but we can’t really be movie heroes. Wanting to save the day is kind of egotistical sometimes. Your wife, like all people, is preparing the best she can for the future she sees, and imagines a different set of critical issues. My suggestion is to offer your life as Jesus did, without regard to what is just. Please do this first, since life is probably pretty good right now, and if you are waiting for the EMP to have a healthy marriage, it won’t ever work. Find out her goals, fears, and vision of the future and do the work to support it. Project an attitude of a plentiful bounty. Be enthusiastic about her thoughts and ideas. If you create this environment, she WILL respond to your ideas because there won’t be the feeling of competing for the same resources and attention. Of course if you knew the exact date it hits the fan, you could ask for forgiveness after rather than ask for permission to do what’s necessary.

      Most preparedness is just responsibly making plans for the future. Having your life in order down to the most mundane detail is a great approach, even without all the cool survivalist toys. With enough cunning, you can sneak some toys in, from my experience 😉 Just don’t tell my wife.

      1. Thank you for the kinds words to Feminist and Cool. As a follow up, at my age and medical condition, I really don’t have grandiose ideas on saving the war, or even the day by heroic actions. My wife’s thoughts? Honestly, she lives for the day, and something “exciting.” Her idea of being prepared is filling up the pantry once every two weeks, then going to the local Wal-Mart when needed. She thinks the stores will always be open, and the shelves full. I have talked to her, in kind words and love, of real world examples of that not always happening, but she refuses to believe it will happen to her. I will continue to do the mundane things, and I told her I am not trying to save up 3 years of food and stuff, just looking for one month’s supply. I think that is a start. I must admit that, like many people in this area, I went overboard at the beginning. I didn’t have a real mentor, just books/articles to read and a couple of people to talk to. I did a lot of soul searching and praying, then realized it had taken my eyes of of Christ. She was right, and I told her so, many times. It is just she is of the opinion that nothing will ever happen to her because it never has before. Thank you again for the kinds words.

  10. It has happened to me that I received so much flack for trying to prepare just for little everyday things that it caused a lot of headache for me. Much division. What changed it for me was a time I wasn’t prepared and everyone turned and was mad at me for not being ready. Good grief I thought! Now I just do my preparing and don’t listen to them. Things go smoother when we don’t run out of things. I wonder if we also have to look at this as the enemy trying to hinder us too. Not every case would be and you must be loving. But let’s face it …there is such a thing as common sense.

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