When we are planning for our family’s safety, preppers employ a wide spectrum of ideas, plans and approaches to getting their family out of danger or protect them from danger in the first place. This is a noble goal and one that I myself strive to achieve in some way daily. When you are planning on surviving though, it is important to take a minute or two and consider the people you are trying to protect. If your grand prepper plans for keeping the family safe or healthy are for whatever reason abhorrent to the same members you are trying to save, what good is that?
Two things made me think about this. First, my wife and I were watching previews for next week’s Doomsday Preppers show and from the trailer, you see a father who has built a tree-house as part of his plans to survive. The only problem is that his daughter is apparently afraid of heights. My wife told me this would be a good idea for a post, but in thinking about this I thought of some other examples where the person making the plans obviously didn’t plan on any of their people complaining.
When I first started getting into the subject of Prepping and learning everything out there that formed my thought process around threats, I was full of energy and ideas. I just knew I had the perfect plan to protect my family and I just needed the time and money to implement all of my ideas. Some of what I had hoped to do wasn’t really possible or practical with my family. For instance, I don’t live with Seal Team 6 so a highly dynamic, crack team of trained professionals wouldn’t be there to help me secure my home in the event of a collapse brought on by any number of natural disasters or man-made events. Now that I think about it, I am not sure I really want my wife to be able to kill me that easily…
Your family has strengths that you need to consider and this can apply to anyone. Just because you are the father of younger children, that doesn’t mean you are up the creek, but you do need to adjust your strategy and take advantage of these strengths. As an example, my wife is very smart and analytical. I try to run every idea past her that I have. This sometimes doesn’t go as planned but she has on many occasions pointed out flaws in my preps. Had I been Johnny Ranger and tried to do everything by myself, I would have made some pretty significant errors.
Your team is more than yourself and as a whole you need to make it through whatever crisis you are faced with. Your children might be too young to take a highly active role in defense of your home for example, but they can do other things. Maybe while you are busy boarding up windows and doors, they can load magazines or gather supplies. I wouldn’t plan on defending against an army anyway, but your kids could be on lookout and report back using radio to other members. Maybe instead of giving them all rifles and expecting them to shoot the bad guys they would take care of the animals or smaller children or cook. Everyone who is past toddler stage can contribute to your family’s success.
There are good and bad traits in everyone and I am not excluding myself from this. For some reason I get irritated at some of the stupidest things and it doesn’t help getting mad at inanimate objects no matter how righteous you feel. As an example, sometimes when I am walking through my house in a certain pair of pants, they get caught on the door knob jerking me backwards or like yesterday when I didn’t have the right sized allen wrench to take the handle off a leaky faucet I got irritated. I didn’t throw chairs or scream, but I know I should have more patience and that could be a weakness in me. I know I need to work on that. If I am going to lead my family in an effective way, I want to analyze my personal hang-ups and develop a plan that mitigates those weaknesses or at least doesn’t rely on my not showing my ass at a crucial moment.
Your family has weaknesses too. For children the obvious are weaknesses that are through no failing of character like mine, but exist simply because they are young. Young children aren’t as strong, don’t see the bigger picture in most cases, tire and get scared more quickly. In a lot of cases, they are going to need more than they are capable of contributing to your survival efforts so any plan that assumes they will barrel head long, full speed ahead with you into the abyss might need to be rethought. Like the guy building the tree house, you should first figure out if anyone in your family is afraid of heights. Do you plan on going down to your bunker? Is anyone claustrophobic? Is your plan to bug out on foot for several, maybe dozens of miles? Are your family members going to be able to go that long?
One of our readers who have small children has already purchased a game cart that usually helps you get deer out of the woods much easier than dragging or carrying them. This is his plan for his children and bugging out. If needed, he will stock his game cart with gear and throw the kids on top and I think this is a great idea. Is it the best plan? No, but I think it is obvious that he is thinking about his family and knows what he will need to consider if the time comes when he needs to travel long distances on foot.
Another aspect of planning is for the future. If you are a young family do you plan to have more children someday? Maybe children arrive and they weren’t in the plan. It may be harder to visualize something horrific like a disaster and small children but it happens every day. Your plans for living out in the woods might work for two healthy and competent people, but what if eventually there are three of you?
Maybe the lesson in this is that life changes and you have to roll with it in order to survive and thrive. Our plans are nothing more than a rough draft – sketches on a napkin that sound great until life steps up and changes the rules for you. The more prepared you are the better you will be able to pivot when changes cause your formally brilliant plan to end up in the trash pile at the end of the street. Plan for people to get a vote too because your ideas are only as good as the situation you have planned for and everyone else’s willingness to go along with them.