“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:
- 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.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- 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,
- 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),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- 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,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- 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,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- 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.