Friday, August 21, 2009

Prepping: Getting the Family Involved

Our last post was about the ten simple steps you can take to begin getting prepared for whatever disaster may strike (ie: job loss through a complete societal meltdown). Now here's some info about getting the whole family involved in your efforts:
  • People are going to grumble, at first, about any new changes you suggest. It's human nature to resist change so don't let that stop you from making changes to improve your life (you may just have to move a bit slower than light speed to get these things done).
  • The family may think you have lost your mind, especially if you start out with anything remotely close to "conspiracy theories", "the end of the world as we know it", or you break out architectural drawings for a bunker slated to be buried in the back yard. That's why you want to start out basically and slowly as outlined in the previous article. General preparedness should be the theme of your efforts, not preparing for TEOTWAWKI.
  • Your attitude will impact both the effectiveness of your preps and cohesiveness of your group. People don't like being ordered around, even if you are in charge. Better to use positive enthusiasm and positive reinforcement to get the troops to rally around your plans than an ineffective dictatorial style of leadership.
  • Make the planning process as well as the actual "doing" process a group effort. Even though you wouldn't usually think about getting buy-in from a seven year old, your preparedness efforts are like leading any organization. People like having a part in the plan as well as a part in the work to complete the plan. It makes them feel needed and a part of the group.
  • Have reasonable expectations. While you don't want to give your wife the responsibility of installing the exterior security system to your home, especially if she has no idea about electrical things, you also don't want to do the whole thing and just tell her to watch (it's like watching paint dry). Make sure everyone has a part in the work so they can take pride in their individual efforts as well as the accomplishments of the entire family.
  • Realize that mistakes will be made, it's part of the process. Instead of putting your fist through the wall in frustration, discuss the problem, fix the problem, and move on.
  • Lead by example. Even though you are working as a team, your example (and remember that actions speak louder than words) is what people will follow.
  • Tailor the efforts of the family to their strengths. If your son is getting his scouting badge in first aid, let him take the lead in putting together the first aid kit and purchasing the components for the kit. Of course you want to provide oversight for the project but letting him be responsible for the project (even if he makes mistakes) will benefit him in the long run (and help him earn his scouting badge).
  • Make your efforts fun too. Kids like the job of setting off the fire alarm as part of the fire drill. Giving the spouse $200 dollars extra to shop for emergency food stores when she loves shopping anyway will be fun for her.
  • Give age appropriate explanations as you go. Instead of telling the kids that you need to put in a security system to keep the bad guys from breaking into your house and slaying the family like they saw recently on the news (guaranteed to give them nightmares for quite a while), tell that about the importance of security (tailored to their age), about how electronics work, what components make up the security system, how the security system works, and rules for its use (ie: set the alarm each time you enter and leave the home, etc).
  • And the corollary, choose your words well. Kids will repeat everything you say, often at the most inopportune moments and usually out of context. If you say anything along the lines of "if some bastard breaks into my house I'm gonna blow their fool head off and I have all of the firearms I need to do it....if they try to escape I'll drag them back into the house to finish 'em off" Now think of how that phrase could be distorted when told to a teacher. Years ago, the teacher may have agreed with you. These days they have CPS on speed dial.
  • Be firm in your efforts. It is easy to get dissuaded from your goals when people complain or drag their feet everytime you make a suggestion or want to work on a project. You may have to make some assignments much like you would chores in order to get a project done but, like doing chores, these are sometimes things that need to get done for the good of the family. Period.
  • Realize that you are doing more than just getting your preps in order. The entire process will have a lasting affect on your family for years. I can see how the family building projects and the big family trips (ie: driving across and around the US multiple times) has impacted our kids decades later. There is hardly a time when I call my son that he doesn't have a project going with his kids working by his side. My daughter and her family think nothing of piling the entire clan in the car and heading out for a 20 hours drive to see friends, family, or a national monument. When we all get together, the kids always reminisce about family travels even though at the time I remember them fighting and complaining like kids do when they are stuffed into a car for hours on end. I also see in them the leadership skills as well as the technical skills that they have developed and added to over the years which they are now teaching their family. Of course at the time my intent was to get a project done, I didn't think of the lasting impact these things would actually have on them.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you for taking the kids out on the road to see something of the world they live in. My parents had an old bread delivery van that they converted into a camper, and we drove all over the 48 states in that baby, during the late 60's and 70's. There are lots of lessons to be learned on the road, Self-reliance, how to read a map, how to entertain yourself on the cheap, rolling with the flow when things don't go the way you plan, etc. All usefull stuff where ever you end up in life!