*Introducing the Prepping & Survival Mindset to Others*
The purpose of this FNV article is to assist others to teach, guide and direct another person to gain a prepping mindset. This information is how I personally approached the subject of preparing and the outcome of my endeavors with one individual. Naturally this information may not work for all people.
It was quite a difficult task to compile and convey my experiences on this subject. In lieu of possible time constraints I've compiled a "list" of basic steps then followed up with specific details. The following synopsis covers gradual steps in introducing an individual to the idea of preparation, survival and living.
1) Although time is of the essence, try to refrain from nagging, "pushing", forcing, arguing or otherwise demeaning the person you are dealing with. As hard as it is and as timely as the situation deems, be patient. Until they comprehend and take on the mindset, no amount of pushing will change anything. You may even push them further away from your attempts. Possibly there will be instances where the person is a spouse or an individual with whom you share expenses. If they happen to disagree with your ideas in the beginning, this does not mean that your ongoing preparations should go by the wayside. Preps should continue, albeit discreetly, as you see fit.
2) Begin with small scenarios and situations such as power outages, 24 hr evacuations, etc and how they would need to be dealt with on a personal level. One example: I discussed one newsworthy evacuation that happened years ago in a small suburban town. Families were awakened by authorities and forced to evac due to a train derailment and subsequent chemical leak. I made statements in regards to a basic "bug out" pack containing adequate on hand cash, prescriptions, contact information, etc. I also brought up the subject of pet accommodations, topped off auto gas tanks, etc. "What would you/we do if that happened to us, being there is a track within 2-3 miles from your home?"
3) Read articles and books pertaining to the subject of survival and preparation. Share these reads and articles to spark more interest. Lend copies of books and/or leave articles with your loved one. Based on my experience, two books I highly recommend are "Patriots" by James W. Rawles and "Lights Out" by David Crawford. Incidentally, "Patriots" made a HUGE impact and I saw a major turning point when this particular book was read. There are a myriad of books and articles available on the subject of survival and preparation, some of which are contained on this very site. "Lights Out" is one such book that can be "checked out" at the Rubicon Library.
4) Look for major national and international opportunities via televised news, newspaper articles or internet news that relate to disasters of any kind. Be prepared to discuss said information, putting it into a "what if that happened to us/you" format. Perfect examples would be earthquakes, typhoons, fires, floods, etc. Through discussion force them to think outside the box.
5) Watch movies that pertain to such events, even if they are Sci-Fi and seem farfetched or bizarre. These scenarios can still be related to prep situations. Day After Tomorrow, I Am Legend, The Postman, even the new version of War of the Worlds are all good examples. Be prepared to discuss the plots and the possibilities that such events could occur.
Check weekly television guides for any programs related to survival. Many public stations along with Discovery, History, National Geographic, etc. have relevant programs at times. Survivorman is one such popular show. The Alaska Experiment is another excellent series provided by Discovery. There are also informative programs regarding military maneuvers, protection and firearms.
At times there will be misinformation or scenarios that you may need to address. Depending upon the situation, I sometimes chose to keep the focus on the aspect of the program without pointing out faults. However if the misinformation were life threatening, I quickly pointed it out.
6) Purchase prep items on a small scale for the individual. Possibly assemble a "car kit" or basic bug out bag. This was a difficult step for me as I am mentally adamant that getting prepped as quickly as possible is of the utmost importance. However I forced myself to maintain my persona by being patient and menial in "gift" purchases. Obviously information relating to some personal items that you own, particularly protection in the form of arms and ammo, should remain discreet until the individual fully understands the survival mindset. Again, this is your call and depends upon your level of trust with the individual.
7) If possible, find someone the individual respects that is preparation minded. At times this can be your saving grace. Association with a peer that is also involved in prep and survival mode is an extremely important asset.
Additionally if you happen to know any family members or friends that lived through the depression or a natural disaster, make arrangements to visit with them face to face. Encourage these individuals to share their experiences.
8) Watch for and take every opportunity to turn common every day events into "what if" situations. Examples would be an abandoned car stalled on side of the road, a gas station out of gas, etc. Point out scenarios in each situation. "I hope that person had a backpack with water and supplies if they had to walk very far." "I bet people that have gas stored aren't worried during this gas shortage."
Recently I was able to point out to two family members the importance of preparing. We were 140 miles from our destination with a fuel tank nearing empty. Along a 40 mile stretch of interstate there was no gas until we reached the 7th exit! Although they were already in panic mode, I was able to calm their fears in that I had "friends" that could help if worse came to worse. They began to question how these friends would purchase gas to deliver to us if there were none. I explained the importance of preparation. I then asked them "What if you were starving or dying of thirst and it were food and water you were looking for?" They had already seen the mass chaos at the gas stations. For a few moments I left them in deep thought. I then continued our discussion on the importance of prepping in all aspects.
9) Invite the individual to attend gun and knife exhibitions, flea markets, etc. However, this may not be feasible if this is not an interest for them. Camping is also an excellent opportunity to experience "the basics" knowledge first hand. Choose primitive campsites over cushy sites, especially in the beginning. If the person has never camped before, realize that it may be more stressful for them. A "first timer" may need a site with more facilities initially. Again, this depends upon the personality of the individual. I was fortunate that the person I was working with loved camping.
10) Remind them of and discuss any past situations in which they may have experienced nominal such as ice/snow storms, tornadoes, power outages, etc. For example, during a snowstorm and consequent power outage I pointed out the fact that he had to go nowhere during the storm. He had all that he needed at hand, including some food, generator, gas, etc. for the entire week. During said storm an elderly widowed neighbor had nothing in the form of survival preps. I discussed his situation in comparison to hers. I pointed out the fact that both she and her small dog were forced to be dependent upon others in lieu of the frigid temperatures and lack of food. In turn this brought up yet another aspect of preparation: those that aren't prepped become dependent upon and possibly a burden to others. (He ended up taking care of the elderly lady, by the way.)
With the number of tornadoes our state contends with, especially in 2008, relevant discussion and comparison were frequent. However, being many of these are televised they can be relative in any state or situation.
11) For personal support, I recommend finding another preparation minded person that has gone or is going through the same situation in trying to open the eyes of a loved one. It helps to have someone in whom you can vent frustrations and concerns, avoiding confrontations with the specific individual you are attempting to mentor.
Naturally we want each our loved ones to join us by becoming involved and knowledgeable in regards to preparations, survival and living. Until they all follow suit, we must stock extra for immediate family. As hard as it may be, we might also refrain from saying, "I told you so!" when the stuff hits the fan.
Some friends and members of my immediate family used to lightheartedly "worry" about me. (Some still do! LOL)! They thought I was totally off my rocker to say the least. They verbalized this in many ways in the early years of my preps. They were never nasty about it, just maintained that sheeple attitude, as do so many that have not yet wrapped their minds around preparedness. They kept such thoughts to themselves for the most part, but I'm also sure they considered me a bit eccentric.
So it is I began "preparing" an individual who I'm very close to, with gradual knowledge for them to gain understanding of the importance in prepping.
I began with simple explanations and subtly explained the mindset of thinking outside the box. I did not nag, whine or belittle. In my opinion, this is something that should be avoided at all costs and in all situations. I did a lot of praying! :o) I took every opportunity to relate any issue that I could to a "lights out" scenario. Whether by Divine Intervention or by chance, many relevant events were sent my way that assisted in conveying this information. Always be on the "look out" for these circumstances. This was not rapid progress. It took close to four years before I truly began to see this individual take on the proper attitude.
I was fortunate in that this individual already owned a couple of gas powered generators and had experienced "lights out" situations during frequent Arkansas ice storms. Albeit believing that the power situation would eventually be rectified, said individual was also a member of "that group" that made a mad dash to the store to grab milk and bread.
I travel quite frequently from Arkansas to Kentucky/Tennessee to visit family. I made a point in showing the preps that I carried with me when I was vehicle bound. When I was questioned in regards to the purpose of a sleeping bag, equipment, provisions, etc. I would proceed to explain that if I had any type of problem, I'd have essentials. Then I'd throw additional facts their way. For example, during travels I always kept hiking boots and extra socks. During winter travels I carry an army field jacket with miscellaneous items pocketed, etc. A.L.I.C.E. was full of essentials and each essential item was explained. I also carried extra gas, anti-freeze, water, etc. in case I had vehicle malfunctions. I shared with my individual the different aspects of protection. Again, I am very discreet with this. The amount of discretion should depend upon the individual and the situation. I revealed how much water I had, medical supplies, the myriad uses of duct tape, food rations, candles, matches etc. Again, all these items were located in my truck.
(NOTE: Here I would again like to pause to reiterate the use of caution in what knowledge you share. Being discreet is of the utmost importance and depends upon the preparedness maturity of the individual and your level of trust. As an individual begins to grasp the value of your mentoring, more can be revealed as time goes along. Again, these decisions are yours.)
I then began to reveal information on "stock" items in my shelter/safe area. There was some ribbing and a few comments about there being enough food to live on for years, etc. I would again make simple statements in regards to the possibility of a tornado or weather related disaster and how we would have what we needed.
I also explained how there might be times beyond our control in which we have to be self-sufficient. You see, through extenuating circumstances there was a brief period of time in my life when I was virtually homeless. It was brief, but believe me when I tell you it was long enough! I told this person about that experience and described the reality of having to basically live in my vehicle. You HAVE to depend on yourself. You HAVE to save yourself. You HAVE to survive. You HAVE to live. You utilize that which you have and make the best of it. So how much better would an individual be if they were prepared?
We watched many movies, though some were extreme. I was still able to relate them to survival mode. (Again, think Day After Tomorrow, I Am Legend, The Postman. etc.) I kept a close eye out for nightly news clips that I could somehow link to a preparedness situation, making sure the individual was aware of them as well. I verbalized things such as "Hey have you ever watched Survivorman with Les Stroud? He keeps the fires going!" I'd always start a discussion after any movie, news clip, story etc. "Do you think that could really happen?" or "Wow think about THAT for a minute! How would you handle a situation like that?" There were a lot of "what ifs" that we discussed.
When Katrina hit my brother and his family spent a week with me. We, along with the rest of the nation, watched in disbelief as the Super Dome was absolutely filled and uncontrollable. We witnessed my brother gathering water, food, fuel and supplies to dispense to those in need upon his subsequent return to that area. The FNV stories that were relayed about the devastation, destruction and evil human nature were overwhelming. This information I conveyed in order to make the individual "think outside the box".
All these different scenarios and circumstances, indeed naturally forced him to think outside that box. A major turning point was the novel by James W. Rawles titled "The Patriot". I shared this book and this individual quickly absorbed it. I began to see the light bulb going off brightly. "Lights Out" by David Crawford is another excellent choice. It is a timely story and one that I suggest as a first "reader". Depending upon the individual "Lights Out " may be a better first choice, followed by Patriots. As mentioned earlier, there are a number of other novels out there as well.
As the weeks passed this person began to wrap their mind around circumstances and events more frequently. My brother and I discussed preps and protection on a regular basis. shared many specifics of these conversations. My brother is highly respected within our family, considered very levelheaded and is admired by this individual.
When questions began to arise in regards to the stability of the economy, lending institutions, etc. I began to explain how purchasing major necessities should take precedence over investing in the stock market.
The next thing I knew specific plans were made to close certain accounts, taking a portion of the profits to make major purchases in the area of protection and survival. Each time the individual went shopping for any reason purchases were made for extra ammo, food, gear, etc. There were regular jaunts to army surplus stores in our area. It literally changed the individualís entire outlook on life in general. In addition I began to see a stronger and more confident person emerge.
This individual has a 10-mile trek to and from work. I suggested a pack basic 3-day "bug out" / supply backpack in case he encountered any problems while at work. The pack, which I compiled, contained pertinent essentials including items such as extra clothing, first aid, water, hi protein snacks, fire starting items, flashlight, batteries, Swiss army knife, etc. I also suggested additions of cash, a small firearm and extra ammo. My suggestions were taken, although I was questioned in regards to the probability of any such problem. Ironically, the FIRST day the individual carried the pack, there was a bit of an encounter. It was 3a.m. and my friend was forced to stop for a train a mile from the work site. There was a rowdy, obviously drunk, group of seedy individuals to the immediate left. They were all sizing the individual up and my friend realized who the topic of the conversation was. As they began to move toward the vehicle, the individual stealthily reached into the pack, hand grasping the firearm. Fortunately the train passed and my friend quickly drove away. Itís very possible nothing would have ensued from the encounter. Itís very possible it could have. Either way, he was prepared. These days the backpack is never left behind.
I knew my friend had totally "arrived" the day I heard the statement that they would "like to have some land and dig a huge hole right in the middle of it, building an underground bunker with a turret on top". Even though this was a jest to a point, I knew the individual was thinking outside the box. Then there was the day that the new telephone book arrived and I heard "Hey, the emergency toilet paper is here!" Yes, through that simple, humorous statement I knew my friend had "arrived"
We are now on the same page and have the same mindset. We still have much to do, but are totally in sync and agree on everything. It has made preparing much easier, to say the least. As I have said many times, no matter how prepared we may become, there's always room for improvement. I'm just thankful that I am now supported in those endeavors. My next task is to take these steps, putting them into play with other trusted friends and close family members.
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