Prepping should not be fear-driven. Prepping should be for the purpose of creating peace. I truly believe this. As such, I've written a manifesto. Read my manifesto below and then use this checklist to do something that creates peace in your life today.
Things you can do to create peace in your life today:
Read the manifesto below by clicking on "Read More."
PS it's long but I think it's worth it. (Of course I do, I wrote it:-)) Then tell me this:
How do you feel about prepping? Leave me a comment and let me know where you stand on this issue.
A Prepper's Manifesto
This is a call for peace and faith from a frustrated prepper.
Just Stop It
To all the preppers out there, stop fear-prepping. Just stop it. Stop scaring your neighbors with your doomsday theories. Stop using fear tactics alone to encourage others to prep. You are being negative, and you are making us all look crazy. Instead, please put a positive spin on prepping. Talk about how prepping can make you the eye in an inevitable storm. Encourage folks to start preparing to live the fullest life possible.
Of all of the reasons that a person can come to prepping, fear is one of the biggies. Someone may have lost their job, or gotten hurt, or was affected by a natural disaster. In those extreme situations, fear gripped them. How would they pay for this, or that? Where was their next meal coming from? How would they find their missing family member? Chaos and fear ruled their consciousness for however long that emergency lasted. Once the chaos finally abated, the fear was replaced with determination; a determination to never feel that way again. They began prepping.
This is not a bad thing. Fear is what gives a mother the rush of adrenaline that she needs to lift a car off her child. Fear is a good motivator, but it can also cripple. Fear can paralyze and hurt. An ordinarily peaceful, kind, and generous person can quickly turn into a fear-crazed lunatic when they see their children suffering unnecessarily. Fear can turn a courageous person into a crumbling, puddle of mess. Fear is a useful tool, don't get me wrong, but it has it's place. You wouldn't use a screw driver to hammer in a nail. You shouldn't use fear to create peaceful havens. In my mind, the purpose of prepping is to do just that. Preparing for emergencies, practicing fire drills, food storage. All of this is for the purpose of weathering tough times in peace.
Isolation vs. OPSEC
My number one problem with fear-prepping is that it is incredibly isolating. When prepping is fear-driven, we are spreading feelings of solitude, and selfishness. Folks end up building bunkers in the dessert with just enough food for their family. Children are forced to learn safety protocols, and they often hate it. People keep secrets about where things are hidden, and how much, because "someone might steal it." Feelings of neighborly love and care are forgotten, and no one tells anyone about anything, “just in case.”
I don't mean to make light of the need for Operational Security (OPSEC). I think OPSEC is very important. Good OPSEC will protect your family in extreme situations. However, we were not meant to live in solitude, and keeping our mouths shut about the need to prepare is more harmful than bad OPSEC. Just think of what Yoda says to the Young Anikin Skywalker, “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” In my experience this truth goes beyond the movies. We should not fear our neighbors. We should be helping them to prepare themselves. We should be trying to create resilient communities.
Instead, I believe that prepping should be FAITH-driven. When the focus shifts from the fear-gripped craze to horde supplies and plans in secret, to creating peaceful havens that get us through tough times, we can begin spreading feelings of peace and happiness. Life becomes joyful.
Now I'm not just talking about the religious kind of faith, but since that is where my experience lies, that is where I'll begin. I believe in a divine creator who knows and loves me, and every single person on this planet. God wants us to grow and become like him. He allows bad things to happen to us for our own good and growth, but we must choose to grow from the experience. That means that bad things are going to happen. To everyone. It is a fact of life. It is how we act and react to those trials that will shape our lives for better or worse.
In a more secular view, the power of positive thinking has been studied and touted for decades. Faith in anything, and positive thinking, will bring peace and success to any situation.
In my experience, faith is a much more powerful motivator than fear is, with none of the crippling effects. Faith-driven prepping can be accessed by everyone, not just the folks who have experienced a severe situation. Faith in a higher purpose will bring folks together on common ground.
A person who has come to prepping out of fear can and should re-orient themselves toward a positive outcome. Their prepping should not remain manic, but instead can become a source of peace in their life.
A person who is peace driven to prepare, might begin to learn how to store food and then find it so rewarding that they'll invite a neighbor over to learn it, too. Folks will learn useful skills with joy, and find that their children are eager to learn and happy to participate. Whole communities can come together and become more prepared.
Down with Doomsday Theories!
And another thing, I say “Down with doomsday theories!” Who cares about the specifics of the tragedies that will befall humanity? Does it matter if it's a zombie apocalypse, a cataclysmic earthquake, or a personal financial disaster? Isn't it enough to know that tragedies will happen? I don't care who you are, or what religion you practice, bad times will come.
When we prep, we are preparing for conflict. In life, just as in literature, there are four main types of conflict; Man vs. Self (betting on the wrong stock and going bankrupt), Man vs. Man (being burglarized) , Man vs. Society (Political or economical strain) and Man vs. Nature (we all know someone who was directly affected by natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina). ALL prepping situations fall into one of these categories. I propose that we prep for these different types of conflict in general, and in specific based on things that are specific to our own lives.
Of course, it is helpful to prepare for specific situations. If you live in a particular region that is susceptible to earthquakes, then by all means use that as an indicator to make the appropriate preparations. If you live in a region that is thick with tornadoes in the summer, use that as an indicator to make sure you have the proper shelter and supplies to last through the worst case scenario. If you live in a city, being prepared for civil unrest is very important, but it's not as important for someone who lives in a small rural community. It's also important to be prepared financially, and mentally, and spiritually, and physically for many different situations that apply to your own lives.
Having a specific thing to plan for is important, but you are doing a huge disservice to a majority of the population when you let doomsday theories plague your life and the lives of everyone you come in contact with. Analyze your area and your specific disaster realities, theorize about “doomsday” if you must, but please remember that no one can see the future. No one can predict what troubles may befall us, but we can guess at some of them. There is no need to terrorize would-be preppers with little more than theories.
Whatever the case may be, I want folks to have faith that good can and will overcome bad. This is the type of positive focus that I am seeking in other preppers.
Don't You Want To Be Resilient?
The greatest thing about being prepared for different emergencies is that the act of positive preparation makes you resilient. Positivity and resilience are inseparable. In fact, there are studies being done on the difference between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Post Traumatic Growth. From what I can tell, a person who has been through a traumatic event who is not resilient, ends up with the stress disorder. Other folks who have built resiliency grow from the same experience. I don't know about you, but I would rather grow than become trapped by a traumatic experience. Don't you want to be resilient?
I know that I don't want to hear my children crying with hunger, or have to rely on the charity of others for my bare necessities. I'm sure you don't either. That is why we prep. But do you want to be the only one on your block who is prepared? Do you want to be a target when things turn bad? Do you want to fear for your family's wellbeing on the way to your secret safe house? I sure don't.
I don't want to have to leave my home to live in secret somewhere, and have to horde my supplies. Being unprepared causes fear, and that fear will force anyone's sense of self preservation to take over. Living in fear of the unprepared people of the world will do the same. I don't want to have to be selfish! I want all of my friends and neighbors to feel the peace of mind that I feel. I want my whole community to be resilient. I believe in building a bigger table, and not a higher fence.
Be Truly and Completely Resilient
Some may say that if you don't have a specific threat to prepare for, that you cannot be prepared for it. I believe this to be mostly untrue. There is more to living a prepared life than emergency preparedness. Sure emergencies will happen. It's good to know which emergencies are the most likely to occur to your family, and your neighborhood or town. 72-hour kits, food storage and emergency escape plans are a part of what will bring peace to our lives when we experience an extreme emergency, but that is not where your prepping should stop.Physical, mental, spritual, and financial preparedness are also very important.
A person needs to be physically resilient. Health and wellness are the foundation of any attitude. If you feel physically well, not much could disappoint you mentally. We need to develop better relationships with food and nutrition, get out and move our bodies, and take care of these temples that we have been given stewardship over.
A person needs to have a resilient mind. Resilient minds are a result of good education mixed with humble, teachable attitudes. Resilient minds have the power to survive and thrive in any situation. Resiliency breeds creativity, and that creativity can turn any regular old Joe into MacGyver when the need arises.
Spiritual preparation is different from mental preparation. A person should know where they stand on moral issues and why. A person should know how they feel about God and Jesus Christ. A person should have the ability to put things into an eternal perspective. A knowledge of the scriptures and an unshakable faith in God and Jesus Christ are enough to get a person through any life challenge.
A person, or family, also needs to be prepared financially for changes in job situations, as well as changes in the economy. Financial preparedness has the power to keep marriages and families together.
People often talk about there only being two things in life that are sure: death and taxes. I'd add one more: change. Life changes. Living a prepared life is about finding peace in the chaos that surrounds us. It's about being resilient in change. Sometimes you know when life is going to change, sometimes you don't. In any situation, if you are living a resilient, prepared, self-sufficient life, then change becomes an adventure and not a tragedy. Change can be fun. Change can be peaceful no matter what that change is.
Prepping for Peace
To the preppers of the world, and anyone who knows a prepper, here is my request: Stop spreading fear, and fear alone. Start sharing the peace-filled mindset that comes from living the fullest life possible. If you haven't gotten there yet, GET THERE! If you come to prepping from a place of fear, you must quickly re-orient yourself towards something positive. The result of focusing on the negative is a solitary and fearful existence. Prepping should come from a place of faith, and should be for the purpose of creating peace. Let us all create peaceful havens in which we can weather the storms of life together.
Lindsay Hodge is our resident Writer here at Haven Homestead. She keeps this blog, a GRIT blog, and writes other fun things too.