I work in a high rise building downtown. The other day I had the terrifying experience of getting trapped in an elevator with six other people. It was lunch time and two out of four elevators were not working. A crowd was forming to get on the two remaining elevators. When I finally got my turn, six other people came in with me. I already felt closed in, being in such tight quarters. The doors closed and the elevator proceeded to move down. The elevator suddenly stopped and everyone started looking around uncomfortably. People started shuffling their feet. It was a terrible feeling – what if this lasts a long time? The guy closest to the emergency button pressed it and a loud buzzer sounded. It felt like an eternity, but after about three minutes the elevator started moving again. I got off the next stop even though it was not my floor. I had uncomfortable shoes on, but I took the stairs 10 floors down.
This happened on a regular day, and it was scary enough. Imagine if there were an emergency, power is going on and off and everyone is trying to get off the upper floors all at once. The elevators would be jam packed and overweight, exceeding the weight limit. There would be more chances of a breakdown.
I realize even if you are one of the first to leave there are still lots of others trying to leave at the same time. People may be orderly at first, but that is until someone starts to panic. Panic spreads quickly and before your know it, chaos can ensue.
Get in the mindset to prepare in case of emergency and you find yourself at work.
1. Know where the stairwells are located and where they lead.
2. Stock your desk with bottled water and non perishable food just in case.
3. Keep a pair of comfortable shoes in your desk drawer, just in case you have to run down the stairs or have to walk home.
5. Assemble a small First Aid kit for your desk. Include personal necessities such as contact lens solution, extra pair of glasses, asthma inhaler, or other prescription medications etc. just in case you are unable to leave for a day or two.
6. Plan a walking route in case the parking lot is inaccessible and have to walk home.
7. Have alternate routes home, and paper maps to guide you if your GPS is not working. Of course, you already have a car survival kit right?
8. Be aware of what’s going on in your area – check the news on TV in the break room if you can, read the news online if you have access.
9. If there is an impending natural disaster, or bad weather has already started early in the morning, consider staying home from work and taking the day off. Sometimes the best precaution is just to stay away.
10. It is a good idea to know who among your co-workers live in your area, so you can share a ride in case of emergency.
11. Trust your gut. Don’t hesitate to leave your office if an emergency happens and your gut tells you it is time to leave.
12. Know all the exits out of your office, the building as well as parking garage exits.
Make a plan on how you would handle a disaster at work now before an emergency occurs. Thinking ahead will help you avoid panic and stay calm no matter what happens.
The Spartans were renowned throughout the ancient world for their military prowess and disciplined lifestyle. They did not win every battle, but they did beat back larger forces to defend their homelands time and time again.
This ability came down to their dedication to preparedness, their whole society was geared towards it. Spartan men and women were trained from a young age to respect the community as a whole and dedicate themselves towards its preservation. This included training in warfare, foraging, adaptation, and conditioning oneself to hardship. They were in effect a nation of preppers! No wonder they were respected by their fellow Greeks!
Today we idolize the Spartans for their strength and discipline in books, movies, slogans, and more. But what can we learn from their culture of preparedness?
Learning To Survive At An Early Age
At age 7 Spartan children left their families to join the Agoge. This was a training program for both boys and girls that tested their strength and wills as well as taught them the skills they needed to serve Sparta as they came of age. The Agoge was renowned throughout the ancient world and powerful families from friendly nations vied to secure a place for their own children for 1-2 year stints.
Male Spartans had to endure thorough physical training to prepare them for war campaigns and the hardships of living in the field. Looking at the Agoge program that every boy Spartan had to pass through gives us some great insights into their mindset of preparedness. There are a lot of elements within it that we can draw upon when looking at how we prepare today as well as how we instill this mindset into our children.
Hardship was the norm
An especially important element of Agoge training was being taught to endure pain and hardship. Students were often made to suffer hunger, thirst, cold, fatigue and lack of sleep. Spartan boys were made to walk long distances without shoes, bath at the cold waters of the river Eurotas and wear the same piece of clothing year round. This was meant to condition them to the realities of wartime and is a valuable example for us today.
When prepping, being conditioned to hardship is a valuable asset. If you have to be on the move day after day evacuating from a disaster or terrorist act you will you be slowed down because you are cold, hungry, or your feet hurt? Are you ready for the hardship imposed by the removal of everything that is comfortable in your life? In order to be truly prepared we have to ready ourselves for such deprivation.
Flexibility and using the environment around them was expected
To be a Spartan boy going through the Agoge was to always be tired and hungry. In addition to the harsh physical training, they were constantly being underfed. To get the nutrition they needed the boys were encouraged by their teachers to forage from the world around them and steal from the kitchens. However, if they were caught stealing – even though it was encouraged – they were severely beaten as a punishment for failure.
For modern day preppers this shows how important it was seen to be able to feed yourself while on the move. Would you be able to feed yourself in the absence of a grocery store? Do you think you could liberate food from a watchful source without being caught if your life depended on it?
No rest for the weary
Even if they were able to fill their bellies, they still had an uncomfortable night ahead of them. This is because in their barracks, Spartan boys were not even allowed to have blankets to keep them warm at night. They slept on top of straw and reeds, which they gathered without knives from riverbanks, strengthening (and scarring) their hands in the process.
While this requirement would toughen up their limbs it would also show the value of using the environment around you to make what you needed. For us today we can look to our shelter building skills to emulate the Spartans. Are you able to build a shelter by hand in the wilderness? Keeping warm and dry after a day of hard walking gives you the opportunity to recuperate so you can be mobile again the next day. Shelter building with scavenged materials is an essential skill that all preppers should master.
Females Spartans were held to high standards as well
Female Spartans were trained in a variety of subjects both mental and physical:
Athletics – running, dance, gymnastics
This program was aimed at building female Spartans into good citizens able to serve the state. Additionally their training prepared them for the mental hardship of being separated from their fathers, brothers, and children while they were off on campaigns.
Physical Fitness Was A Big Part
If you are ever caught in a situation where you have to bug out you will surely be put to the test physically. Just having your bug out bag packed and ready to go will not be enough, you need to actually be able to carry it until you reach safety.
The Spartans put a huge emphasis on physical fitness in both in the Agoge training and throughout their entire culture. Both men and women were expected to maintain their fitness during their entire lives.
This emphasis helped define the Spartan soldier and enabled them to march for longer and fight harder, even against overwhelming odds. The Spartans won a great many of the ancient Olympic Games due to this commitment to physical fitness.
Students in the Agoge were constantly encouraged to compete against one another to weed out weaker members and push everyone to constantly improve. Female students would even be encouraged by their instructors to observe and mock the competitors to drive them even harder at their tasks. Agoge students were expected to gain proficiency at:
How Can We Train Ourselves?
So, how can we use this as inspiration for our own prepping? As with any challenge we need to train harder than we expect to have to endure when the test comes. This may mean taking your bug out bag for a walk on weekends to condition yourself to carrying it. If that proves difficult try just going for a hike without it until you can build up your strength to carry the load. My old mixed martial arts coach used to say, “sweat in the gym so you don’t bleed in the street” which captures this mindset perfectly.
A Lifetime of Dedication
For Spartans, their dedication led to a lifetime of service. All males who passed through the Agoge lived in state owned barracks and continued to serve in the army until age 60. They continued their own training and once experienced, the training of the next generation for basically their entire lives. From age 7 to age 60, ALL Spartan males would relentlessly dedicate themselves to the prosperity and preparedness of their nation.
Today as a nation we are obviously very far from this single minded focus. But, on an individual level can we seek to emulate this dedication? Would you start training your children at age 7 to serve the interests of your family day in and day out until age 60? Can we instill the proper mindset and pass essential skills and knowledge on to them in the face of our own distractible and fragmented culture? I know I will be trying to do so with my own children, it seems to be an immensely worthwhile investment. I will try to lead by example and show them the way.
Our Own Preparedness Mindset
Looking at these examples we can clearly see why the Spartans were respected among the ancient world and are still looked up to today. Their level of dedication and preparedness was truly impressive. The rigorous training they practiced and widespread commitment would be impossible to replicate for most modern day Americans.
It is however this mindset that preppers seek to emulate. In the modern world we can still train our bodies and minds to endure hardship, overcome mental and physical obstacles, and pass these values on to the next generation. Dedicate yourself to this as the Spartans did and you will be able to face any challenges that get in your way.
Do you have a way of preparing that would make the Spartans proud? How do you prepare yourself physically and mentally to face hardships? Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!
About the Author:
Chris writes the Bug Out Bag Guide website. He created this site to help ordinary people prepare for the uncertainties of the modern day world. This may mean making a bug out plan for you and your neighbors or simply packing some EDC items to take to work with you. Either way a well prepared society is the best safeguard against any natural or man-made disaster.
Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.
First, my updates…
Add your “two cents!” For our avid readers, our giveaway for A Time to Endure by Kyle Pratt is still going on. Read the review and sign up for the giveaway here. All you have to do is enter your answer to the following question: What threats are you most concerned about this 2015? What steps are you taking to prepare? There seems to be a common thread in the answers so far. Add yours and I will do my best to post articles regarding your most pressing concerns.
When getting out of debt is a goal Like many of you, I too have some credit card debt that I am resolving to pay off. Although I am frugal and have been careful with spending, I have some old debt from the last downturn that is still hanging around.
Whether you have old debts or new debt incurred from recent Christmas spending, you know that feeling that comes over you when you JUST KNOW you need to do something. But just like prepping for the first time, planning to get out of debt can be overwhelming.
What first steps can you take to when you want to get out of debt?
1. The first step is simple but requires self discipline: Stop using your credit cards! Do whatever you need to do to get out of the habit of using credit.
Don’t keep your credit cards in your wallet within easy reach-leave them at home.
Store the cards away in a safe deposit box.
Some people freeze their cards in a block of ice, or take the more drastic measure of cutting them up.
Even if you cut up your cards, don’t cancel the cards because some creditors will immediately expect you to pay the debt in full, OR, your credit rating will be negatively affected by the loss of credit.
2. Check the balances for all your debts, interest rate and monthly payments so you know what you are up against. Knowing this number will stop you from being in denial about how much you really owe.
Once you’ve done the two steps above, you’ll need to track and slash your spending and make a budget. I am doing various cost cutting measures and will write about it in a future posts.
Please share your favorite money saving tips in the comments!
If you live in a large city, the risk of a riot is always present. Riots can be triggered by many reasons, from rowdy festival goers, the aftermath of a big game, , dissatisfaction with a verdict or official actions, and many others. Even people who are lawfully congregating or holding a peaceful protest can unintentionally be swept up in a riot.
How do you avoid getting hurt in a riot?
There is no telling when a riot can happen. Because of the unpredictability, it is not one of the risks that people really think about when preparing for a disaster. But there may be ways to avoid getting yourself or your family hurt if one erupts in your vicinity.
Consider the possibility. Never think for a minute that this won’t happen to you. If you live in a city, it can happen.
Stay calm. If you start seeing things escalate in a crowd, resist the urge to panic.
Always be aware of your surroundings.
Don’t be one of those people who are tethered to their phone and never look up.
Listen to the news and know what’s going on before you venture out.
Scope things out, even when things look normal.
Know all the exits wherever you are.
Avoid the area
Don’t be a lookie-loo. A lot of people get curious about what’s going on, and instead of avoiding the area, they will be tempted to go check it out, drawing them closer to the line of fire.
Resist the urge to take pictures.
As soon as you become aware of something developing, start moving in a calm, orderly fashion. You would not want to stumble and get trampled
Move in the same general direction of the flow of traffic, until you can veer off to a safer area. Moving against traffic will be much harder, attract attention, or make you a target.
Don’t attract attention
Keep your head down
Do not get involved. You may agree with one side or other, but if you are trying to keep yourself or your family safe, now is not the time to get caught up.
Stay close to your companions
Kids can easily get separated from their parents in a riot. If you have kids with you, keep a tight grip on them. You may have to carry the smallest one. In shopping malls, have seen parents doing a fast walk with kids struggling to keep up behind them.
If you are with others, try to stay close or within earshot of each other.
Items to have on hand
Have cash and change at all times so you can arrange for transportation if you can’t drive or get to your car.
Keep a pair of comfortable shoes in your car or in your office.
Many stores shut down if they are in the middle of an afflicted area. Have a week to two weeks worth of food and water in your home, same as preparing for any disaster.
If you are driving
Know alternate routes home – it would best to avoid main roads and instead take side streets.
Lock your windows and doors.
Watch out for pedestrians – there may be a lot of people milling around or trying to stop traffic.
Always keeps your gas tank at least half full – you don’t want to have to stop for gas at the worst possible moment.
On a beautiful day such as the one pictured above, it’s hard to even imagine a natural or even a man-made disaster disrupting things. If you even mention something about being prepared, your relatives or friends will say “you are just being paranoid.” I have heard this so often among people who want to prepare; even one of our readers has brought it up in a comment.
Should you forget about being prepared because your partner and your family do not support you? No! I think there are a ways to get around this issue.
Understand the other point of view
We have to accept that the majority of the population is not concerned about preparedness. Even when faced with facts and news about what happened to other people who had been in disasters, they refuse to do anything to prepare. There are a lot of reasons for this:
Ignorance: Many people are not aware of the threats to infrastructure, and what would happen if trucks stop delivering goods.
Fear: Afraid to admit a lot of things can go wrong. People do not want to feel threatened and may get turned off the idea
Consumerism: Would rather spend money on shopping for clothes, gadgets, expensive vacations
Someone will save us: Belief that someone (government, family) will be always around to help
Normalcy bias: Belief that things will always be as they were before; refusal to admit something could go wrong even in the face of facts.
Once you understand the reasoning for their resistance, you can start working on your approach.
What NOT to do
Do not try to get preachy or argumentative. If they are already resistant to the idea, getting into an argument isn’t going to change their mind.
If you get confrontational about it, the person may just “dig their heels” even more or become hostile about the idea.
If you sense that your family has objections, you will need to start slowly, with baby steps to get them used to the idea. Introduce the idea during appropriate times, such as while watching a zombie movie, TV show or hearing about a disaster in another state (that could happen in your location).
Approach the idea in a way that is not threatening but as a conversation piece “What would we do if that were to happen?” The type of responses you get will determine your next move.
The easiest things to prepare for are regional perils that your family may face. It is easier to justify your efforts because of probable threats.
If it’s hurricane season and you are in a hurricane area, you have a good reason to gather supplies and set it aside “just in case.” Then you can slowly build your stockpile.
If your wife or husband loves to shop for the latest and greatest, but you’d rather spend money on emergency supplies, come to an agreement on spending. Some couples agree on a certain amount of “fun money” per pay period that each one is free to spend without judging from the other. He or she may want to spend “fun money” at the mall, but you spend yours on supplies.
Other non-threatening approaches
Convenience: If you have supplies, you do not have to be constantly running to the store to restock. Every new parent knows panic when their baby runs out of formula late at night and they have not gone to the store. That is something to avoid. Even running out of everyday items such as sugar or toilet paper is a big pain if you have to drop everything and go to the grocery store for one item because you left it out of your list one day.
What matters most Everyone has things that he or she feels strongly about – , things they would not want to run out or lose access. The wife or husband who feels you are just being paranoid won’t be so critical if you show you are “doing it for the kids.” No one would want their kids to suffer in the event of an emergency. Teens may be concerned about losing power on their smart phones – get them a solar charger. If your teen daughter is concerned about never running out of tampons, then by all means, stock up on those items.
Cost-Cutting: You can start your stockpile without raising a lot of eyebrows by using frugal techniques that help your household save money. Start using coupons and taking advantage of “buy one get one free” offers. When questioned about buying multiples of one item such as canned fruit or granola bars, emphasize what a great deal you got so you stocked up.
Hobbies and skills: You can learn survival and self sufficiency skills like bread making, canning or wood-working without making someone feel insecure by labeling these activities as hobbies. I once had a long conversation with a mom at church. She was describing all her husband’s hobbies- gardening, archery, hunting, fishing, and even metal working. The family, who lives in a nice neighborhood, even has a mini foundry in their garage where her husband crafts swords! These sound like great survival skills to me, but no one had a problem with it in the neighborhood. These activities are all considered “hobbies.”
If you feel strongly about becoming prepared and getting some degree of security for your family, it is important that you get started. Don’t alienate your significant other in the process; instead, frame your activities in a common sense, practical light.
Here at the Preparing With Dave homestead, we keep tightening our belts around here figuratively in preparation, ahead of any possible disaster that closes the stores and strains emergency services. Nothing severe in starving, but merely changing the sources of food we eat and the need for many conveniences, both in supplies and stimulation of the mind.
This action is to lesson the amount of strain on our minds and bodies in the event of drastic change in our social and infrastructure environments. Yes, government services such as emergency services are an environment of sorts, as much as power and water systems. They are human-created environments of convenience. In there absence, many people will suffer and possibly die without supplied water, power, and emergency services of many types.
There are many areas of life that are human-created environments that are experienced by not only the needs of the body, but also of the mind. Humans do not live in closely social structures as much anymore. We are in our own houses, our own phones or computers, and many other types of technological environments we travel through and live within.
Let’s look at some areas where we here, are simplifying our lives and Tightening the Belt in Preparation Ahead of any Possible Disaster…
Simplifying Food and Supplies:
In the food and supplies area of our lives, we have simplified our diet in many ways to incorporate nutritionally and protein packed powders we use in smoothies to acclimate our bodies and minds to this way of eating prior to any disaster. Doing so, we have also become more healthy in the process of this action. Our cells of every part of our bodies are healthier, our probiotics are at high and diverse, and our immune systems are much stronger to fight off infections, bacteria, and viruses.
Powders are also lighter lighter than canned and jarred food, so if we had to relocate, more could be carried even if we were forced to travel on foot. We could actually carry one-hundred pounds of food in dry form and a small straw filter to survive for some time. Just find water, filter it, add the mix of powders, and drink. Simplified survival. Not total nutrition, but survival nutrition that is packed with vitamins and protein.
In other areas of supplies, we are making our own toothpaste and deodorant. The toothpaste is very simple to make with just baking soda, Himalayan Salt, and peppermint oil. This toothpaste can also be placed in the emergency pack, along with a bottle of peppermint oil that is also good for many other uses, including keeping insects away. I haven’t used shaving cream in many years, and my wife keeps it very simple yet beautiful in her grooming and make up.
Many foods that are normal in households, we do not have in our’s. We do not have potato chips, soda, candy, gum, ice cream, chip dips, frozen dinners, packaged pre-measured food mixes, cereal, rice, grains, bread, cake, pie, refined sugar, iodized salt, potatoes, and more. Our home is quite boring for anyone used to these items. We avoid grains and have relieved much inflammations and stomach discomforts. We hardly ingest any sugars, except those starches found in the fruits and vegetables we eat. We actually shop in about 2% of the grocery store now. Quality over quantity!
While our food and supplies are more basic than most regular lives of other people, the less we have the more relaxed and happy we have become. Less, has actually become more in the area of freedom and happiness in our lives. Less processed food and more naturally grown and prepared at home food, has given us more quality health and less pain and discomfort. Less manufactured products has given us more free money to use in other prep areas.
TV, Media, News Print:
Television is one of the largest tools to program and alter the thoughts, consciousness, and overall personal traits and actions of people, along with their belief system. The quality and overall character of the shows and programs has diminished in very fast in the last fifteen years into a drama fest and attacking of many healthy traits of character and discipline. We choose not to expose ourselves to dysfunction, there by, staying functional in reason and accountability to our beliefs of character and values.
Exposure to any outside influence will not only alter a person’s mind, but the drama aspect is like a sticky substance of addiction that will make some people feel uncomfortable without the drama in their life. Drama causes certain endorphin chemicals to be released into the body and can become an addictive situation.
Instant Gratification Syndrome:
People in modern societies of the world are presently living in an age where almost anything that is desired can be had almost instantly. There is no longer a waiting period of any substantial amount for anything, as long as you can or are willing to pay for a faster service to get whatever it is you want to you when you want it. A person can have almost anything, anywhere in the world, delivered to them overnight.
Even any news or information is raced to the people that want it, in a competition frenzy of the medias around the world. “You heard it first here”, is the cry of many networks. People are being programmed to feed on drama, and without it in a quieter survival situation of simply food, water, and shelter, a person might actually go insane from exposure to peacefulness. They will be driven by an internal programming force to actually create drama, in order to have a more familiar and comfortable environment that they are accustomed to.
As a prepper, we should be letting go of this dramatic technological programming, and be preparing our minds for a simpler life. That is the most severe scenario, where we are living off what we make from the earth and nature around us. Many people, including preppers, are not going to be able to easily handle the more simplistic lifestyle of TEOTWAWKI or SHTF scenario, where all power and technology is useless to pursue, due to the lack of people to maintain it and the more serious priority of securing food and water daily.
For this reason, we should be spending more time away from the use of technology, and use manual devices to do our work as much as possible, while limiting ourselves to only a minimal amount of artificial forms of entertainment. We should also be limiting our need for instant gratification in as many ways as possible, as lack of patience can affect our hunting, security, and even our safety in doing everyday survival chores. Frustration due to a lack of patience, can make a person react anxiously in there daily survival efforts, and possibly suffer a life-threatening injury from an inappropriate action.
This is why people describe off-grid living as “a slower pace of life”. If you hurry in the wilderness lifestyle and you get hurt, there is not a hospital a few blocks away. Thinking is a serious part of life in off-grid living. You must plan your moves wisely, to avoid injury or damage to what you have. A mistake in this way can ruin food, damage needed hides and make them useless, or cause you an injury that will limit your ability to due what is needed to survive.
We that are serious preppers must train for the worst and live happy lives, knowing that we are ready for however severely life changes for us and the world. That’s what prepping, or preparing as I like to say, is all about. Preparing for lifestyle changes brought on by a serious event of disaster, whether natural or unnatural. To wait until something serious happens, to start changing our overall mindset, is a recipe for insanity and not prepping at all.
It’s Not Just About Food and Water:
I always say this, because it is a fact. We all must preparing mentally, physically, spiritually, and in skills. Those skills are also mental skills, physical skills, and spiritual skills. If we do not train the mind, it is unprepared. If we do not train our bodies, they are unprepared. If we do not train our spirits and build a close relationship with them, we are not prepared closely together.
To train our minds, we must avoid drama-technology as much as possible. This exposure actually ruins the rational thought processes of the mind. Most of the shows on TV today are geared towards playing fun at dysfunctional living. They will not serve to grow a healthy thought process or a mentally stable and sound mind. We must consider real-life scenarios of disaster, conflict, and survival where we stay in the solution, rather than how TV dramas only stay in the problem. Hence dysfunctional!
To train our bodies, we must step away from all technology and have a physical relationship and respect for the thing that carries us around and helps us lift and utilize many everyday items, including bring food to our mouths. A living off-grid lifestyle requires a body that can accomplish many chores daily just to survive. More chores depending on the weather or terrain. If we wait until something happens, thinking that we will get in shape as we go, then we are not preparing. That is unless we are preparing to die.
If we are not building a relationship with our internal spirit, then we are not preparing to have that internal power drive us forward through severe adversities, comfort us through any craziness, or give us courage to walk or run through fear when we need to and fight for our lives. We must spend quiet time with our spirit to build a solid relationship, with our creator as our guide, or whatever your beliefs is in any specific or general way. The spirit of the universe or mother nature for example. To me, God is all the same with all people. Just different ways to say it. Same feeling and same origin inside where we communicate with that power.
We must learn many skill, at least in a general way, or we will be handicapped in the wilderness no matter how good of shape we are in with our bodies. We are not going to survive with just the clothes we have now. We are not going to survive on just meat alone. We have to learn plant, both edible and medicinal. We must learn to hunt and process even the smallest hides for shelters, bedding, clothing, and footwear. We must learn team skills with others, and bartering and trading skills, as well as basic mannerisms to avoid conflicts that can lead to long term battles.
We Must Let Go:
We as preppers, must let go of technology as much as possible. Networking is great, but we must also do our own time in prepping our minds, bodies, spirits, and training in our skills of mind, body, and spirit. We must let go of convenience as much as we can, even if we start small.
As we have done this in many areas of our lives, we have experienced healthier and happier minds, more peace in our hearts, more available money for preps, and an overall feeling of more freedom in general with life. Less shows to keep up with. Less money spent on foods that are unhealthy. Stronger thought processes that would be deemed as high intellectual ability. We have also become healthier, stronger, and leaning more towards going off-grid, because we are more prepared for the life-style away from technological convenience.
About the Author: Dave writes preparingwithdave.com. He created this page to share his experience, knowledge, actions, and continuing path with others. He hopes your tour around the website is informative and you continue to visit for updates and sharing of your comments. Please visit Dave, on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/preparingwithdave
If you have any questions, ideas, or comments, please feel free to message him on facebook
Today we are looking at something different: Prepper Pete Prepares, by Kermit Jones, a children’s picture book about prepping.
Upon reading the book, I thought it would be a great addition to our AP Book Feature. I must say even adults who are “in denial” about the need for prepping would benefit from reading this book. I sent Kermit a few questions related to kids and prepping and he graciously sent us the following responses:
1.When do you feel it is appropriate to start getting kids involved in prepping? Is there a specific age or maturity level?
Starting with your second question, I firmly believe it is the latter of the two. That is, parents should know the maturity level of each of their children and make their own decision. It is vital to not simply equate age with maturity (they are not synonymous), but with that caveat aside, I generally propose that the younger, the better. Many parents mistakenly assume that when something happens, their kids will simply fall in line, but that’s only going to happen if they’ve been consistent in their expectations until that point. Whereas age appropriateness is key, more discussion will generally lead to more understanding.
It also happens to be the point of “Prepper Pete Prepares” in that it provides a launching point for discussion that isn’t designed to scare kids. Instead, it prompts the opportunity to see where each child is in the process, and engage them from that point forward. The depth of discussion should be tailored to each child in question, though I readily admit that parents often don’t give their kids enough credit for what they are able to understand (assuming the information is presented properly).
The primary warning would be that parents should keep in the back of their mind that kids sometimes can’t easily distinguish between possibility and reality – they should be clear that there is no immediate danger or reason to be afraid. I think Prepper Pete’s signature quote really hits home: “Some people prepare because they are afraid. Our family doesn’t have to be afraid… because we are prepared.”
2. A number of people generally get worried about getting kids involved in certain prepping activities, while some get them involved at a young age for things like fishing, hunting etc. What activities do you recommend parents involve their kids?
That is a great point. Skills like hunting and fishing can serve a dual purpose of both hobby and Prepping. Many people who don’t consider themselves Preppers engage in those activities, and they can be useful in both everyday life and a TEOTWAKI scenario. I recommend that parents realize that the best prepping skill they can teach their kids is critical thinking… and that will serve them well throughout their life, regardless of circumstances.
That means recognizing and understanding that Prepping skills can be both generic and useful in a variety of situations in addition to Prepping. The biggest advantage, however, is that it helps prevent kids from freezing due to fear. They gain confidence in themselves so that they can, in fact, act. And simply acting is often what saves lives. The old adage applies – you can’t steer a parked car. I also recommend teaching kids other skills such as how to build a fire, garden, can veggies, use weapons, defend themselves, and much, much more. Reading books that engage critical thinking skills and imagination are great Prepping activities, even if they aren’t obvious on the surface. And for the record, anything that encourages responsibility (such as assigned chores, etc.) should all be considered part of “Prepping.”
My philosophy is that Prepping should be a lifestyle – not an event. Parents shouldn’t let learning opportunities pass them by. They can even teach fun skills independent of “Prepping” and link it back at a later time. For instance, they can teach their kids how to build a fire without matches for the purpose of making s’mores. Obviously, it could later save a life in the cold.
3. Preppers generally like to keep their prepping as private as possible; however, kids may not understand the importance of “loose lips sink ships.” What is the best way to explain secrecy/privacy to young kids without scaring them?
Operational security, or OPSEC, is definitely a concern. Unfortunately, parents often explain “what” their kids should or should not be doing, but they fail to explain the “why” of it. Kids (and adults, for that matter!) need to be able to connect actions with motivations. Again, parents should be age appropriate about this, but I think many parents simply fail to sit down with their kids and have a conversation on the topic. They should talk about it with their kids – and talk about it often. Taking time to ask kids questions and see what they think will often clue parents in on the approach they should take.
If someone has multiple kids, the older ones can really help get the point across to the younger ones, as well. When my ten year old daughter tells my four year old something about the importance of “keeping a secret,” it carries a different (and in this case, positive) weight than when it is just mom or dad saying it. It becomes important from a “peer perspective” with an attitude that, “if it’s important enough for them, it must be important enough for me, as well.” It also engages the older kids appropriately and gives them a sense of responsibility towards keeping the family secrets. Parents can’t do this, however, if they don’t talk, question, and know where their kids stand. They just need to be sure it’s a conversation – not an interrogation!
Also, it’s important to let kids know what they CAN say, and who they can say it to. If they can tell something to a close relative or friend, then it can act as a “relief valve” of sorts. Parents will also be able to observe the filters and perceptions their kids have in place.
Finally, it’s important to have graduating levels (age/maturity appropriate) of responsibility. On the one hand, parents shouldn’t mistakenly assume their kids know nothing (they always know something). On the other, they don’t have to provide them with every last detail. Perhaps only a portion of information is needed, and it may be enough to convey their purposes.
4. Please tell us a bit about your background.
I’m a husband of one, father of four, and a Chaplain in the Navy Reserves. After graduating from the Naval Academy, I spent a few years as a Surface Warfare Officer before transitioning into ministry. I’ve been fortunate to live in Japan for four years and several places in the U.S. I was trying to figure out how to explain the world of Prepping to my own daughters and couldn’t really find much information out there on the topic. So I started by writing “Prepper Pete Prepares” and it’s taken on a life of its own, growing into two magazine columns, a few website article and several podcasts.
5. Any plans for other books?
Definitely! Prepper Pete’s “Gun of a Son” is a gun safety book for kids and should be on the market in late February. March should see Prepper Pete’s “Be Prepared!” which covers steps every parent should take to help prepare their kids for a wide range of emergency situations. “Survivalist Sam Stocks Up” (the Four B’s of Prepping) and “Prepper Pete Gets Out of Dodge” (Bugging out and OPSEC) are coming later this year.
Additionally, I’m launching a new chapter book series called “The Survival Kids” which I hope to be a mix of Boxcar Children, Magic Treehouse, McGyver, and James Wesley Rawles. Two of my kids are a bit older and I want to provide something for that age range, so I expect it will be out by mid-year. For those who want to keep track, I invite them to like our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/PrepperPeteAndFriends) – where we’ll be giving out a free book at the 500 Likes mark.
Our thanks to Kermit Jones for participating in our Book Feature and for addressing our questions thoroughly!
Now for the giveaway:
One copy of Prepper Pete Prepares, by Kermit Jones is reserved for the winner. Please post your answer to the following questions in the Comments.
How much involvement should children have in prepping, and why?
The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, March 1st at 8 pm Central.*Winner will be notified via email. Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.
Going Home has a very believable story. Morgan Carter, the main character, thought he was going on a quick business trip and was on his way home when all electronics just stop. His car stalls, his cell phone dies and all transactions become “cash only” as stores are unable to process electronic transactions. His trip quickly turns into a struggle to survive as he tries to get home from 250 miles away. The scenario is actually one of my fears as a prepper: being far from home and family when a disaster happens.
Morgan is a regular guy, an everyday prepper. He is prepared, in terms of a “get home” bag, but he is not a super hero nor has any extraordinary training. In short, many readers can easily relate to him. The environment and political climate described in the book are also very plausible, and close to reality.
The events in the book move along at a constant pace and keeps you riveted in what happens.
I think if we had to choose what we didn’t like about it, it would be that some of the characters were a bit too trusting and friendships were struck too quickly. I believe people would be more reserved in real life, but that is just me. Except for this minor issue, I have no misgivings about the book and highly recommend it to everyone.
Mr. Apt Prepper actually read this book before I did, and told me his opinion about the book: he could not put it down. He thorough enjoyed the story and also appreciated the survival skills described, as well as details about the equipment contained in the bug-out bag. He has finished all three books in a matter of days.
Welcome to another Monday Musings where we share blog updates and interesting links.
First the updates…
Who won the Own the Night DVD Giveaway?Reader Bob won the giveaway.He posted the following comment:
Scan through the pages of history books and see what happened to peaceful, non-violent communities/societies or what we think happened to them based on the ruins and bones left behind.
Yes, I think defense is a vital part of prepping. For me, it started with the realization that life insurance wasn’t enough; sure I would leave my family financially okay but how about emotionally, morally, spiritually?Being there is a huge part of being a father; for me that realization meant I should do what is legally and ethically acceptable to come home every day.
And given that; isn’t being able to defend myself when the police aren’t there to respond even more important?
What I’m doing to defend myself?
First, increasing situational awareness; working to avoid the problems if I can.
Second, working to get to know my neighbors; building a community that hopefully will work together instead of attacking each other.
Third, having sufficient firearms and ammunition in case the first two don’t work.
Final giveaway of the month coming up There will be two winners for this one. The details for the next giveaway follows this posting, so please read on.
Now for the links…
A Handy New Book with Tons of Helpful Cures
Alex Smith, author of Getting Home and Staying Home just released his latest book, Home Remedies. It covers the basics of making infusions, salves, etc., contains nearly 500 remedies and more. It is meant to be a primer for the individual with limited to intermediate knowledge in this area. Currently the Kindle Version is priced at99 cents, but it will go up to $4 in a few days.
To celebrate he has also dropped the price on his other 2 books, Getting Home and Staying Home to 99 cents as well, for a short while.Don’t miss this price drop, it won’t last long.
This morning I was pulling into a gas station pump when I witnessed an occurrence that was disturbing after I thought about it. The gas station was crowded, with every row filled with a customer. The station also had parking spots facing the convenience store. A woman, driving this huge Suburban (let’s call her (“Suburban Driver”) with kids in the back seat, was backing out of one of the convenience store spots got very close to hitting the minivan at the pump next to me. The driver of the miniwan,(we’ll call her “Minivan Lady”) honked her horn as she was afraid the Suburban will surely hit her car. It got close, but nothing was hit. I expected Suburban Driver to just shrug and keep going, but instead, she got very furious that she got honked at. Her face contorted into an angry mask, and instead of just driving away, she actually got out of her Suburban and started yelling and gesticulating that Minivan Lady should relax. “CALM DOWN I WAS NOT ABOUT TO HIT YOU – YOU f—*** b–*** !!!,” which seemed really ironic given she was the one losing her temper. Suburban Driver got really aggressive and went up to the window of Minivan Lady who just locked her doors and looked aghast. Suburban Driver finally went back to her car and sped off, driving aggressively. Minivan Lady was quite shaken.
After witnessing this encounter, I was perturbed that someone would get so aggressive and exhibit violence over something as trivial as getting honked at, and in front of kids. I really shouldn’t be shocked–we’ve heard of fights breaking out over parking spots and people coming to blows at Christmas sales. But actually seeing how people react and get ugly made it more glaring. Who can say what frame of mind she had to begin with? She may have been stressed but that is no excuse. If someone could potentially get violent over a trivial incident, can you imagine how people would react when there is a disaster?