"If They Could Just Get It!"

So, you’re trying to get your friends and family on board with the whole concept of preparedness because you care about them and you have a firm conviction that preparedness is vital to everyone’s life.  You have some semblance of an idea of the consequences that can be expected if one heads into their life everyday without a single thought for tomorrow, let alone being ready for it.  As such, you share, and you share, and you plead and you reason with your friends and family in an effort to persuade them to be better prepared.  Many grow weary of these efforts, feeling like they are fighting the entire British army singlehandedly and thus turn for help from a greater power. You petition God to help you convince those you love--perhaps in the form of a wake-up call, or a memorable moment of enlightenment? “Oh, if they could just get it”, you say to yourself.

Unfortunately, this issue is the most common one I see from our blog readers and radio show listeners. Sadly, in most cases it’s the person that a prepper cares about the most who isn’t on the same page. This can be quite painful and an emotionally draining influence on their life. Most who remain faithful in these efforts feel like all they get in return is name calling, ostracizing, and disrespect as they are lumped into the “crazy survivalist” category. As such, even the most faithful “prepper” can begin to feel that all of their efforts are useless. Some feel that they are as insignificant as a drop of water in the desert. Sadly, these emotions and doubts can lead to feeling of Fear as they are left to ponder the potential danger they are putting themselves in by actually having an “excess” of supplies and resources which may stick out like a sore thumb in a catastrophic moment of social unrest.  Some grow weary and quit; others willingly remove themselves from the association of those who aren’t willing to take responsibility for themselves and their well-being. Ironically, this natural response to ridicule only lends an air of credence to the name calling and survivalist labels. But doesn’t being prepared also necessitate the association of like-minded individuals? After all, no single person is sufficient to protect and perform all of the necessary work to maintain a self-reliant life. As isolated as some of us preppers feel, it’s ironically self-defeating of our goal to try to go it alone.  Not only do we need peaceful rest at night knowing that our loved ones will be safe regardless of the challenge that gets thrown at them, but we also need their HELP to ensure that a prepared lifestyle is even remotely realistic in any possible scenario. So, what can we do to make a change in the mindset of those who resist a more self-reliant life?

First and foremost, we need to continue to be proactive in our own education efforts. Think of education as the fertilizer in any garden—no, I’m not saying it’s all a bunch of cow poo—let’s not go too crazy with the analogy. Education motivates because knowledge has this way of lighting a spark of action, belief, and peace. So, if we are to ever have a hope of helping those around us to be better prepared, then we need to take care of the goose that lays the golden eggs, right? (In case I lost you there, yes, you are the golden goose.)  So don’t stop. Don’t give up. If you feel defeated for a moment, then organize your pantry, do an inventory, read a great book on preparedness, self-reliance, survival or sacrifice. That will put your mind back into the mental rehearsal part of the task and you’ll be strengthened.  Remember, the Principle of Spiritual and Knowledge are your first two Principles of Preparedness.  Getting informed continually will help you to stand strong. And sometimes, winning over a person to accept the need to be more self-reliant isn’t about you have the perfect words to say every time. It is often about you being consistent in your efforts; then your position becomes much more believable to others who watch you, and they aren’t able to easily just dismiss this as a trend that won’t last longer than laser disc players.

Next, become educated in your position so that you can intelligently educate and set an example for those around you.  I’m sorry if I step on anyone’s toes with this comment, but if your purpose of preparedness is because alien fairies might try to come and take control over the earth, you’re going to have a really hard time backing up your position with hard core evidence.  The good news is that the other, more rational reasons for preparedness are clearly laid out among many resources. This blog and others who are committed to quality information, the library, the news (which shows instances of what happens when folks aren’t prepared), and as I said before books—lots and lots of books. (Here’s my most recent reading list… “Deep Survival”, “Alas, Babylon”, “Molon Labe´”, “Nullification”, “33 Questions about American History You’re Not Supposed to Ask”, “Lone Survivor”, “7 Deadly Scenarios”, “The Unthinkable” “More Guns, Less Crime”, “The 5,000 Year Leap”, “How to Make All the Meat You Eat Out of Wheat”, “The Cleansing of America”, “Possum Living”,  “I Dare You to Eat It”, “Enzyme Nutrition” and “The Untold Story of Milk.”  These are reflective of my last three months of books, not including the handful that I read which are more secular in nature. I do this because I know I need to stay on top of my game. I need to keep learning in a world that is constantly changing, including the possible scenarios that may have an impact on me.  If I’m going to stay peacefully prepared, then clearly I need to stay abreast on any potential threats as the information on such threats becomes available.

Next, “Ask, Don’t Tell.”  “Asking a person a question instead of telling them information is always a better way to communicate and get your point across. A person who’s comfortable in their own skin to the point that they can ask open-ended questions, is always viewed as less threatening—in fact usually quite the opposite; they are viewed as being sincere in their interests of finding out how the other person feels. So if you faithfully follow my first two words of advice and stay informed, you’ll have a much better foundation from which you can glean relatable questions. People don’t like being told what to do for the most part—even if it does ostensibly stem from love and concern. Rather they like to be able to participate and mold the conclusions. Questions make this happen and as such it’s always been my rule of thumb when I’m needing to convey a message. I get a lot further with educating folks on preparedness if I simply ask the right questions. Instead of telling someone why I have X number pounds of wheat, I will instead ask them a question such as “What do you think about this article that talks about a serious wheat shortage? If we were to have a house fire, how do you think we’d be able to best recover from it?  What’s your opinion on the potential for all of our city water being contaminated?”  All of these are non-threatening questions. Part of the approach involves using real-life scenarios that are all around us as the basis of those questions.  If you keep an eye out for current events which help to make your case for preparedness, then you’ll eliminate some of the most common barriers have in ignoring the need. Too many people share preparedness based on ridiculous fears, intimidation, dictation (it’s how it is and that’s that) or overwrought emotions.  Real life events are always making a case for preparedness. And one thing leads to the other…learning step by step.

Lastly, be sure that what you’re doing to be better prepared reflects positively on you and your prepared lifestyle.  The best way to alienate people is to look, smell, and behave nothing like some kind of an alien. Yes, I did say smell! Preparedness is supposed to bring comfort and piece, not a feeling awkwardness. Here’s the problem, part of the reason why preparedness folks have such a negative stigma thrust upon them. is because many conduct themselves in such a way that they are begging to get the blue blazes beat out of them during recess. What’s wrong with being clean cut, well spoken, intelligent, and well put together AND being focused on preparedness?

Well, hopefully this will help some of you in your desire to encourage others to join you in these very important efforts. I know that the person who got me more aware of the myriad of ways that I needed to be prepared did so with class, sincerity, love and patience.  So, I figure if it’s good enough for me, it might just work on those you care about as well.


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Once again, you are right on the mark. No one, at least no one whom I know, likes to be "preached" at about preparedness. When I make my presentation "fun," no matter whether I'm talking about the solar oven, canning meat or my water barrels, the fun part is what they remember. Then, lo and behold, somewhere down the road, they realize just how important the fun stuff is in terms of preparedness. It's almost as though I'm tricking the kid into eating the vegetable somehow. :) Amazing how that psychology will work with stubborn adults too! The 5 P's....Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance!

There are so many reasons to prepare for an emergency situation--weather problems, a breakdown in the transportation/production chain of food supplies, personal emergencies like the loss of a job, or illness, among others--that it would seem that everyone would have some reason to prepare. Personally, I worry most for those I know who claim that they will simply go to the store if something happens--besides the fact that many more will likely have the same idea, the thought of them being greeted by empty shelves and/or violence over limited supplies when it could have been avoided bothers me. A lot. Hopefully there are many who are prepared that simply don't talk about it for the some of the reasons you mention-- i.e.,not wanting to be labeled for what they are doing.

I agree. An especially difficult person to deal with is a SPOUSE who isn't on the same page, like I have. At some point, there is something to be said for going about your prepping business quietly. I categorize it under "change yourself and don't worry about changing others." If you work your way into things gradually, like having a full pantry by increasing it little by little, buying a rechargeable flashlight one day and putting it in the garage, or taking a CPR class, your spouse may not really notice a large increase or dramatic change in lifestyle. Some may call it underhanded, but I view it as the same as socking away a little cash for a rainy day. If it's ever needed, all of a sudden I will be the genius! But I'm not doing it for the recognition...I'm doing it to help my family!

I totally agree with you! I am in the same boat with the spouse and other family members. I had a 'trial run' quite by accident the other night when we lost power ( for no apparent reason) for 3+ hours and all my family came to me for candles, food etc. I,like you, am doing it for my family but, really wish they could contribute some to the cause!

I am desperate to find like minded people that I can learn from and give support to in the whole preparedness thing. I feel like I am alone in my desire for knowledge in this area...but there's GOT to be others out there, right? I mean, Emergency Essentials is still around.

In economics and finance, Arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets: Pre & Post oil prices...I'll put my money in the Grocery Store Hedge Fund. Hedging IS NOT Hoarding. All disasters aside, economics tells us to get prepared.

I need to remember that line when I'm being filmed on TV, dang! remember...remember...remember...

Thanks for the list of reading material! I am always looking for a good read that helps me. Just picked up Alas, Babylon and am enjoying it.

Awesome post! I'm pretty new at this and although I don't talk about what I'm doing too much, people notice things and think I'm nuts. The only person who seems to be on board is my 10 year old because she is at the perfect age for "what if" scenarios. Still, it would be nice to talk with a grown up about this stuff! =)

Went to Dollar General tonight to get a few goodies for our prep closet, what we have been reading about is happening. There were 2 cans of canned hams left and right beside it were the same product in a different color label, while reading to see if there were any differences I noticed that the new label has 1 oz less than the old label for the same money. I got the new price list for the local LDS storehouse and wow there were some big differences there also. The hot choc (25#) went up $10, the wheat went up $1.35 and spaghetti and macaroni were up $4 to $6 per box, compliments of the wheat shortage I am sure. I hope everyone is listening and are buying all they can afford now. Thanks again Kellene for another great article.

I had a great awakening with an answer to prayer to get someone I love to change their attitude about preparedness. I put it to serious prayer, but since it was before Christmas, the orphan and abused children in this county were uppermost in my mind, and I took several bags of things for them. In my reading spiritual things, I read that one's prayer is vain, if we don't feed the hungry and clothe the naked, and help the poor. Well, Bingo! I realized that was the real reason my prayer was answered so quickly. I'm going to be gooder sooner from now on.

Your post rings so true! There are times I feel like I am hearing a totally different drummer. Thankfully there is so much fun stuff to learn in order to be self-reliant that the challenge cheers me on. Just consider the topic of self sustaining gardening or permaculture, there is so much to absorb in order to be a good resource that there is only time to move forward.
Love your posts, you and others who share their knowledge on this site are the "encouraging community" .... we keep each other moving in the right direction!!

My kids and BIL don't get it. I'm prepping for their needs here. Their only problem will be getting here when the need to.

Wow, this must have been my article because I have been dealing with this lately for sure! But have had some prayers answered because of those tender mercies of God, So greatful I woke up when I did, I don't know how much way less I would have been prepared!

I just keep trudging along hoping they'll see the light. We just can't ever waver, NEVER!

The thing that gets me worked up is when people say, "I know where I'm going in case of an emergency! Your house!" It's all I can do to get enough for my family! Thanks for the post! (Have you read "Slightly to the Right?" Great book for getting the laughs out!)

One of the reasons I devote such effort and money to prepping is because of the reactions of friends and family when I try to get them to prep too. What do they say? "I don't need to prepare, because if anything happens, I'm just going to come over to YOUR house!" They laugh and smile while they're saying it, but I'm thinking of the year's supply of food I set aside for my husband and myself, and then dividing that stash by the number of people who will be on my doorstep at the first sign of trouble. This leaves me with a huge imaginary burden of feeding and supplying EVERYONE. So when my husband sees me carrying in boxes upon boxes of non-perishable foods and says, "Haven't you got ENOUGH already?" the answer is No, I do not have enough, because I don't know how many guests to expect at Janet's Armageddon Cafe.

"Armageddon Cafe" I love it, Janet. I did an article last year specifically dealing with what to say when folks say they are coming to your house. I'll have to find it and give you the link to it specifically. I have no idea what I titled it as.

I started assembling "charity food boxes" using simple metal file boxes of the sort you'd keep canceled checks in, or medical records, or old file folders. Those are packed with non-perishable food stuffs and set aside specifically to hand out to all those nay-sayers when they show up on my porch. (An article I wrote about it and a list of contents available upon request.) I'm committed to assembling give-away box one per month, so for every year that passes before SHTF, I'll be able to help out a dozen more people. I expect, however, that I will have a hard time explaining to people that I'm not stockpiling food in order to prevent them from paying high prices for food, and I'm not stockpiling food so that they don't have to wait in long lines at the grocery store. I'm stockpiling food to prevent them from starving. I'm not trying to save them from inconvenience; I'm trying to save them from death. They're going to need to show me their ribs before I start handing over supplies.

We feel lonely because there are (my best guess) just a few thousand of us Americans "out there" preparing. It is lonely! I just keep my eyes and ears open for like-minded folk to be in community with. Problem is, others are probably cagey as we are. My conviction is that eventually I'll run into someone else. How else could all the survival internet stores stay in business?

Why prepare? I do it for my kids and their families, even if they are skeptical, they know where to come. Just remember, if IT (whatever your idea of IT is) happens, you will be a part of a solution instead of adding to a problem.

If IT occurs right now, we won't have to make any last minute run to a grocery store. We sure sleep soundly and confidently at night. . .

Thanks, Kellen, for your blog.

I just read an interesting piece that asked whether or not we "preppers" have lost our faith....Not by a long shot...remind the naysayers and those who scoff at you or the ones who question your faith, that there were many "preppers" in the Bible...to name a few...Noah prepared for the flood. Joseph prepared for the famine. In 1 Timothy 5:8 the scripture says that we must provide for our families. Proverbs 22:3 says that the wise man sees trouble ahead and acts accordingly. The fool ignores the signs and suffers the consequences.

Blessings to you all!

and Jesus went to "prepare a place for you," and that's the best of all! :)

While I think most preppers get discouraged at some point.We see an "emergency" and the Feds totally drop the ball. NM has no gas or power, Hospitals in Texas are subject to rolling black outs. It doesn't matter how we got here we must deal with it. Kinda the whole point of prepping. My fault, Your fault, no bodies fault. We got to deal with what is, and what we will do about it. Rant and rave if you want, but start the garden. Learn to preserve.

Positive action is the only solution.

All I can do is keep preparing and sharing, with high hopes that the importance of preparation rubs off on others. I know I have enlightened some... they see or hear what we are doing and say " that's a good idea, or I never thought of that." Hopefully they are putting together extra food and emergency items. I o

Ditto. Ditto, Ditto. There's not much you can do if folks aren't willing to do for themselves. Just keep you head down, and keep on gardening, canning, stashing, storing, more water barrels, whatever it is you will need. I've actually experienced some neighbors beginning to prep with more food on hand. That was pretty gratifying since we had been talking to them about this for that last 2 to 3 years.

I too have grown children with not much stored (due to finances and choices made) other than what we can send home with them. This last time I included, LDS Preparedness Manuals (can download free on line at www.avow.com) bulk food storage items, heavy quilts (Christmas gifts), extensive first aid books from www.informed.com, LDS cannery contact info to purchase more bulk storage items and anything else we felt would be helpful in a pinch. I know in my heart that my family will survive this, some will be more comfortable than others, but we WILL make it.

I believe that faith is the most important "storage" item we can have. Add water and food and you're in pretty good shape. Ammo helps too! Just don't get discouraged. Your Armageddon cafe may not need to be open 24/7. We're planning on one hot meal per day in our neighborhood. Hopefully we've got enough fuel and methods to prepare it without too much strain. My thinking is this" You help = you eat. Whether it's contributing ingredients, tending to a garden or helping in whatever way is needed. We are, after all, part of a single human family.

I have to say that I love the feeling of being prepared..and I believe your right..you do not have to advertise to everyone..in fact your probably better off keeping it a secret..in case of a real emergency or a SHTF scenerio ..the last thing you need to do is feed the entire neighborhood..but just knowing your prepared is such a good feeling..I think back to being a boy scout the old motto "Be Prepared" still holds a lot of water.


My sister came over as I was unloading from the grocery store. Just a 'little' run. She asked why I bought gallons of bottled water when it was free out of the tap. I told her just in case we get a boil order, or water goes out. This was just after she asked if I had any extra food to give her. We had some really bad storms and it knocked out her power for 24 hours. All of her food was in the fridge/freezer. She had only a few cans of raviolis for her and 3 kids. She did not have any money or pantry food. So for 5 days she went around asking people for food-she asked me last. She called me 'crazy' for having extra water. Little does she know. Because I don't let her into my pantry. I did give her enough food for a day until she got money. Yet I am 'crazy' and a 'hoarder'. (I don't let my family near my stuff, I used to, but I got called names unless they wanted something. When they wanted something they came in my house, grabbed a bag, and helped themselves.)


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