You Wanna Do What?!

Today I was thinking about some of the discussions I’ve had following my preparedness presentations. Then it hit me…I’ve been asked more times than I can count, “How do I convince my spouse that this is worthwhile?” or “How do I get my wife on board?”. (Ladies, forgive me but truth be told while I’ve had the question from a woman or two, it is most often asked by men.) You can rephrase this question any sort of manner and I’ve heard it, but the message is always the same. For those of us who become preppers, when we announce to our “other halves” that we not only want to devote time and storage space, but actually money to this cause…well, we are met with a resounding, “Are you crazy?!” 

This goes past our spouses as well. Let’s be honest, if this is real to you, then you are worried about more than just your immediate family. It’s quite honestly no different than religion from a motivational perspective. If you are a Christian (and I”m sure other religions as well, but I can only speak for myself), then you don’t just worry about your spouse’s salvation, but that of anyone that you love and care about.  Well, we also care about their safety and well-being here on earth…so we want them to prepare.

So how do we convince our spouses (who we must share financial decisions etc. with) and those that we love to follow the prepper’s creed? How do to transfer our concern and resulting motivation to them? My husband just asked me what I was writing about today. When I told him, he laughed and responded, “Oh, like exhibit A?” He of course being exhibit A, who had to be convinced and motivated from scratch. He’s not from my neck of the woods and the notion of preparedness, off-the-grid, compound/commune type plans were  not a part of his mindset when we met. So…how did I manage to bring him into the fold?

For the non-believer the first thing to accomplish is getting them to understand that you are not (only 🙂 ) preparing for total and complete destruction or Armageddon. Yes, there are those of us that do consider that as well, but you don’t want to make that your first point when pitching this idea to your average nay-sayer. It is important to get them to realize that preparedness is for things as simple as a severe snow storm where you cannot leave your home for days. There are dozens of scenarios just surrounding weather and natural tragedies that can occur. Any of these occasions could rob you of your “normal” infrastructure dependent lifestyle. I believe this is the most important message to convey. They need to understand that tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and the like do happen. They are at risk. Emergency preparedness is pertinent to us all. Don’t forget to pull out all the stops. If you are trying to convince a Mama who currently has little ones at home…use it. Quite frankly my personal preparedness skyrocketed once I had little ones. My motherly instinct won’t allow me to watch my children suffer or starve all because I didn’t have my priorities straight.

Now consider social media and publications. Take some time and search the interweb for other preparedness sites. Point out that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) actually has an entire website devoted to motivating our nation to prepare. Ease them in, don’t show them the scary over the top stuff (just yet). Also consider the CDC, FDA, American Red Cross, etc. Lastly, there are some excellent books available on survival, both fiction and non-fiction. The non-fiction are really prevalent. If your spouse or loved one is a reader, and they have been warmed up by the preceding methods, then maybe a trip to the books store (online works but let’s be honest, holding them in your hand drives the point home) would make it more real. These books exist because preppers are out there. We are sharing and growing all the time! As for fiction two of my favorites are One Second After and Patriots.  There are both excellent for information and inspiration, and they are just good reads. I’d really recommend starting them off with One Second After first and then send them on to Patriots.

Most importantly, be prepared to start small. Don’t overwhelm them with far out craziness from the get go. If this is not their thing, they need to ease into the water. Don’t shove them into the deep end and expect them to respond well. This is a different way of thinking and the evolution of becoming a prepper most likely happen overnight. Start by encouraging a home go-kit with the basics (extra clothes, first aid kit, vital records). By doing this, you get them used to preparing but you aren’t asking for a lot of money up front. After that activity is complete and you receive that buy-in, you can work slowly up to stockpiling food. Take it slowly, and let them know that this is realistic and that its important to you. It is borne out of love and concern for your family. Appeal to their inner need to provide for themselves and their loved ones.

Good luck! If you get stuck with a particularly hard nut-to crack, leave a comment and we can talk about individual strategies for your circumstances.

6 responses to “You Wanna Do What?!

  • JoeCOOP

    This is a very good subject and as you have stated so well, one that is difficult to get folks to talk about and sometimes to understand. “After all, it happens to other folks, and we have not had such a thing here in a forever….”. Thanks for keeping it on our radar scopes.

  • Red4Golf

    I asked my wife to read One Second After. After getting started she couldn’t put it down and it helped foster many long discussions between the two of us about just what we might do in a situation like that.

  • Steve Mayka

    Keep, A great article! And so true that we need a good teammate to accomplish our readiness goals.

  • David

    I think you made a couple great comments at your 9/11 speaking engagement that should be repeated. First, being prepared shows respect for first responders, in that they don’t have to risk life and limb (and other resources) on you, and can focus on the folks in real need. Second, by being prepared (and trained, in the case of CERT training), you are EMPOWERING your family to be a resource for your neighborhood, to help others in need as you can, to help the grannie down the street, or the single mom that needs all the help she can get. The true first responder is the guy in the middle of the disaster that helps before the authorities arrive. Be that guy.

  • David

    From a financial standpoint, one thing that helps with the “discussion” is that carrying a deeper pantry allows your family to stretch between sales, and able to buy food/products only when they’re on sale, rather than taking what you can get when you’re low on something. Fewer trips to the store also saves time/gas, etc. Imagine if you only had to buy stuff at Christmas time when things were on super-sale! Not entirely realistic, but you get the point. If you can stretch from Memorial Day to 4th of July to Labor Day to Thanksgiving/Christmas for non-perishables, you can largely stick to massive sales. Something to think about.

  • David

    One other thought (sorry for the rambling). Many of the products that are helpful for preparedness are also highly useful for camping. Tents, sleeping bags, camp stoves, Leatherman multi-tools, etc are all things most campers already have. In reality, preparedness is mostly a lot of planning, and finding/organizing the stuff you probably already have into something grabable in a timely fashion. You probably already have 75% of what you need, you just don’t know it and it’s scattered all over the house. Plan, organize, and coalesce your “stuff” into bags in one spot, and you’re well on your way, and miles ahead of your neighbors!

    Make sure to check out while you’re at it! The Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family (Dr. Arthur Bradley), Crisis Preparedness Handbook (Jack Spigarelli – my favorite), and Preparedness Now! (Aton Edwards) are fantastic guides, with links to equipment providers, preparedness checklists, etc. All are relatively dirt cheap. Enjoy!

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