For the Children’s Sake ~ Part II Wednesday, Jan 6 2010 

“I must say the biggest lesson you can learn in life, or teach your children, is that life is not castles in the skies, happily ever after. The biggest lesson we have to give our children is truth.”  Goldie Hawn

I’ve had people ask me if my prepping is teaching my children to be afraid. In my experience it’s doing the exact opposite.

I know my children will face difficult times in their lives. I owe it to them to provide them with the tools to face those moments and persevere.

Part of that is being prepared on a material level for whatever comes our way, as in my previous post. Children learn best by example and mine are growing up with the opportunity to see how preparing ahead of time helps make things simpler and less fearful on a practical level.

But even beyond having their physical needs met, my children gain distinct emotional and mental benefits from my committment to this.

To the degree that I am prepared in my own life (not just pantry- or supply-wise, but in my own mind and spirit), the kids have a mother who, in hard times, is not thrown off-balance or unnerved and can remain calm (ok, well, let’s be honest…mostly calm, depending on the crisis).

That lets me turn my full attention to helping them get through instead of being anxious and distracted with what to do next. And since they take cues from me on how to respond to situations, my own personal preparedness (on all levels) has a trickle-down calming effect on them, decreasing the anxiety and chaos in the situation.

And when I have considered and prepared for difficult possibilities instead of playing ostrich, my children also benefit in another way. It sets a tone in our home where the hard things in life are not hidden, not denied. Instead, they’re acknowledged and a strategy for dealing with them implemented. By facing them head-on, armed with truth and determination, much of their power and fear are taken away. 

In the long run, that may be one of the most important prep lessons of all for my children.

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For the Children’s Sake ~ Part I Wednesday, Jan 6 2010 

“Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.”   Winston Churchill

We’ve had many times that our prepping lifestyle has helped our children deal with situations, sudden and ongoing, large and small. Even at their young ages they see the value in being prepared. 

We live in an area where tornadoes are common. The storms can be scary for children but are not quite as bad because I have helped them prepare ahead of time: they know the tornado drill routine and have emergency backpacks filled with supplies. The “unknown” factor is greatly diminished, making it less fearful for them. 

One night a few years ago there were six of us (plus pets in carriers) in a small, dark bathroom. The electricity was out, both tv stations and several radio stations had been knocked off the air, tornado sirens were blaring and our only contact with the outside world was the computer voice on the emergency radio. 

It was dramatic, but still only a few steps beyond our usual tornado drill. The routine leading up to that point helped smooth the way through the more intense parts. (And the next morning when the power was out and the grocery stores were flooded with people looking for batteries, water and supplies we were well ahead of the game, too.) 

The area in which we live is also prone to water outages. The kids know from personal experience the value of keeping water on hand. They’ve also learned to recognize the signs of impending water loss and know to fill extra containers of water, run water in the tub for flushing, etc. They don’t think twice about how to react quickly to the situation, when even other adults don’t know exactly what to do.

Other situations are smaller but equally intense, like one of the children waking up sick in the night. How reassuring to go to the cabinet and have all I need. The little one doesn’t have to wait for relief. I don’t have the stress of trying to “make do” until the morning or going to the store in the middle of the night, hoping to find what I need. 

Prepping helps with more than just sudden crisis situations, too. It has made a difference in times of ongoing need. We’ve had health and economic issues periodically that made it difficult to get to the grocery store. But the kids knew we had food in the cabinet. It might not be the most exciting, but I’m pretty handy at jazzing it up and it keeps them full.

It does this mother’s heart good to know my preps make my children’s lives easier during difficult times. But so very rewarding, too, is their knowing grin when we face yet another situation, prepped and ready to go, “I’m so glad we do all that emergency stuff, Mom.” 🙂

Top Ten Reasons I Prep Saturday, Jan 2 2010 

“They who are well prepared have half-won the battle.”  Proverb

As much as I dislike the word “proactive” and think it’s horribly overused, all of my reasons for embracing emergency preparation are just that, proactive, not reactive or based in fear. So why do I do it?

*I do it because it makes good financial sense to stock up ahead of time when items are on sale instead of paying full price later (or more, when regular prices increase).

*I do it because it lets me have a larger variety of items on hand. I have more OTC meds to cover different home-care illnesses and injuries. I have more types of food from which to choose in the pantry. The kids love going to our ‘store.’

*I do it because I really hate going to the store for odds and ends; I like the simplicity of having things on hand. It helps with gas mileage, too, to not make multiple trips back and forth for just a few items.

*I do it because with “just in time shipping,” most stores’ inventory is only what is on their shelves. They don’t always have what I want when I want it. It just makes sense to buy extra while they have it in stock.

*I do it because of the larger ramifications of JIT inventories. Supply lines can be disrupted, for common reasons like weather or trucking issues but also less commonly from larger disasters. With no back stock, the stores’ already limited inventory is immediately depleted with no means of quickly replenishing.

*I do it because I’ve seen people panic in the stores and fight for precious resources like bottled water. (Yes, literally fight for bottled water, like they did before Hurricane Rita blew in on the heels of Katrina.) I don’t want to be caught in that mess, do you?!

*I do it because if I have water (or tuna or TP or batteries) already in my home, I can leave the few remaining on the shelves in those crisis situations for those who need them. It’s also one less cart in the aisles, one less car in the parking lot, one less person in the checkout line. All that is possible because I bought those items when they weren’t in high demand.

*I do it because I know that emergency responses are limited, stretched thin by budget cuts and natural constraints. When I prepare, those scarce resources can go to others who need it and the emergency responders and aid groups can focus their efforts more precisely.

*I do it because I have lived through emergencies, both short-term and long-term, where the steps I took in good times made the bad times more bearable.

*I do it for my children’s sake…but that would be an entry on its own (and probably will be).

I’m sure I could come up with a dozen more but would love to hear why YOU prep. 🙂

An Author, a Blog and a Reason for Writing Saturday, Jan 2 2010 

“If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”   Thomas Edison

Who am I? Nobody you’d recognize. You could walk right by me in the grocery store and not notice. I live in a tiny suburban house on a very tight budget. I don’t have acres of land, an underground shelter or a basement pantry (or even a basement, for that matter).

But I have a core role in my family. I am morally, legally, ethically, emotionally and spiritually obligated to take care of them to the best of my ability. I welcome that, embrace it. My family is a blessing to me and I want things to be good for them as much as possible.

For me that includes “prepping:”  stocking up on food, water, medicines, seeds and other necessities. It also means learning skills to become increasingly self-reliant and preparing myself and my family to deal with emergency situations.

Do I do this out of fear? No. A resounding “NO,” in fact.  And it’s not just for my own family: the more we are prepared within our household, the more that ripples out into our larger community, too.

I’ve run into many people who equate preparedness with fear. They focus on that fear, using it as either a reason to prep or a reason to avoid it. But it shouldn’t be that way. Doesn’t have to be that way. And that’s why I began this blog. I want to encourage people to step out, prepare wisely and be of good cheer going into the future.

I have to admit, I am a little nervous beginning this blog; this is totally new and different for me. But I also feel strongly that this needs to be said, that fear is not allowed to reign. So I am going to lead where I’m trying to encourage others to follow and step out on a new path. A life and a blog in progress. I hope you’ll come along.