So have any of you had that totally awkward conversation where someone tries to make you feel crazy for getting prepared, and you try to convince them it’s the smart thing to do? If so, would love to hear all the drama ;)
I was actually discussing this with a friend the other day, because her family will even go as far as buying emergency items to help family out and they will just throw it away! So what do you do to help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves?
G. Michael Hopf is joining us today to give his thoughts on this very topic. Just in case you haven’t read his books, he’s not one to beat around the bush, instead he just chops it right down ;) There’s no questioning what he’s thinking or where he stands on certain issues.
Maybe convincing your family to prep isn’t something you want to worry about right now, but if you’re putting together an emergency plan and your family is apart of it, you might want to check out what he has to say.
The Family That Preps Together…
We all know how the phrase ends. “A family that (insert word) together, stays together.” Many of us would agree that a family that does anything positive together is usually a happy one. This article though isn’t about just doing anything, this is about something very specific and that subject is prepping and the family members that don’t.
I would be willing to wager that everyone that calls themselves a prepper has had the conversation with family members and friends about the need to prep. This is a situation that every, and I mean every prepared minded individual has had to deal with.
I get asked a lot if my family preps. The simple answer to that is, yes, for my immediate family, i.e. my wife and young children, but when looking at my extended family, the answer is a big, NO!
For me, prepping is a state of mind that is grounded in the core belief that YOU and only YOU are responsible for your own well-being. The key word in that last sentence is
responsibility and it’s one that I use often when I discuss prepping with extended family, specifically the ones that are skeptics.
Dealing With The Skeptics…
For me personally, my attempts at winning over the skeptics in my family have stopped. The old saying is, you can lead a horse to water… blah blah blah. It’s very true.
The excuses I’ve heard are the same as you’ve heard. It ranges from total disbelief that anything could happen to,
“I wouldn’t want to live if something apocalyptic happened. I’d rather die.” The last one still leaves me in disbelief.
Another comment I get from friends more specifically is,
“If something happens, I’ll just come to your house.” My response to that is, “No you won’t.” It’s like me telling my more financially savvy or well to do friends that I’ll come to them when I need money. You can imagine what their answer will be.
It was the
“just give up” mentality that lead me to “just give up” on some of my own extended family members as it pertained to prepping. You might have been thinking that I was going to give examples of how you can convince those skeptical ones to come over and embrace a prepared lifestyle. Nope, that’s not what my focus is. Many others have given little tidbits of advice on this matter. And my experience has shown me that it can be almost impossible to persuade family if they’re dug into their position. These conversations can mirror debates on politics in some settings and hence get very personal and petty.
I have wanted for a long time to create a dialogue and to open a discussion on doing what might be one the toughest decisions you’ll ever make,
Giving Up On Family Members…
In my books, I put characters in what are difficult situations, if they go left someone dies, if they go right someone dies. Either way they go, someone will die. So, they must make a choice.
So as to not waste more time, I’ll just cut to the chase. I suggest you have one final conversation to persuade those family members that a prepared lifestyle is in their best interests. If they rebuff you again, I suggest you finish by saying something along the lines of,
“I’m sorry to hear that, but please understand, that I will not be coming to help you if something does happen. This isn’t personal, I just need to make a plan and if you’re not involved that helps me finalize the details of my plan.” Of course there are a hundred different ways to say it, just know that your decisiveness might cause them to stir and it might be hard for you to just feel like you’re abandoning them. Remember though, if they have no interest in preparing and planning then you cannot go out of your way to come for them. You are not the one abandoning them, they’ve abandoned themselves. Be forewarned, this frankness could cause some very tense Thanksgivings down the road but it has to be said.
I came to this determined stance over time, I evolved to it you could say. I have felt obligated to look out for my family for a long time. It’s been in my bones since the day I joined the Marine Corps back in 1989. I have always wanted to protect others. Something shifted in me though once I became a father to my two little girls. I look at them as the innocent and fragile that must be defended with my life. I thought of them trying to survive in an apocalyptic environment or even in a post hurricane, tornado situation without me. That thought of them alone frightened me. My focus on who was most important to protect changed and changed forever.
Children don’t have a choice in whether they can prepare, adults do and if adults in my family weren’t willing to lift a finger to provide for their own protection or survival, why should I risk myself and my resources for them when it should go to my children. I know some of you might be reading this and thinking that I’m being harsh and that all I need to do is just get enough for everyone.
Let’s Be Honest…
While some may have the financial resources to do so, many don’t. Plus you have the other part of prepping equation that is overlooked, it’s the planning part and the ability to react and bug out. If you have several or half a dozen family members who live close by and have no interest in prepping, should you waste precious time attempting to gather them up? Would they even comply? You would think that once an event happened they all would want to be saved, but what if they still don’t? Are you willing to go out of your way, change your plan and risk your children so they can tell you,
“no thanks.”? I for one, say, “No way!” I know what I’m writing here might come as a shock to some or even heartless, but who is being heartless and selfish in this situation? All I am advocating is having an open and non-judgmental communication with the skeptical ones in your family. Make sure they know that they are signing on the line that they wish to decline help. This way you can make a plan, and execute it when and if the time comes. Clearing things up will give you peace of mind to make your bug out plans. A suggestion for you though if having the nagging feeling that you’re letting them down, which is silly because they let themselves down by not prepping, is to give them the location of where you’ll be. Then when something happens they can come and use the resources you’ve stockpiled since they won’t have anything. (Pun intended, in the last statement, but it leads right to the next situation)
So, Do You Help?
If you think having to sit down and having that conversation with your family members was hard, then you won’t like this.
This situation sounds like it’s right out of the game Conflicted. You’re sitting at either your bug out location or you’re bugging in. There has been a large event. Stores are closed. Government response and aid is very limited. A knock at the door, you answer it and guess who’s there? The skeptical relatives and they’re asking for help. What do you do? These are the same relatives you had that one on one conversation with and they flat-out told you they had no interest in prepping and didn’t want to be helped. Now here they are at your door. You have resources for you and your family and if you take them in, your resources will be depleted in half the time. Now we have a tough, very tough decision to make.
I, for one, would hesitate assisting them, but I seriously don’t know if I could say, NO. It’s one thing to theoretically sit there and have the fortitude to turn them away, but in reality would you? Could you? Of course if they had a skill set that could benefit everyone then it makes sense to do an exchange. For example, he/she is a doctor; you need that skill set to survive, etc. But what if they’re elderly, they offer no exchange of skill for food. Do you take food off of your children’s plate and give it to them? This has to be one of the toughest decisions we might have to make. I, for one, have had this quick knee jerk reaction to say, no, but I just don’t know how I’d react looking at them at my door.
Will You Have The Talk?
I don’t have all the answers, I have my opinions. I offered these two very important but overlooked parts to our prepping equation. You can have all the resources, equipment, but if your plan is not finalized because of unresolved issues then you really don’t have a plan. Have that conversation; be honest but respectful to those skeptics wishes. It is their life, not yours. Once they’ve made the final decision, you can now make your plans. I always encourage dialogue and discussion, so please comment and give your two cents. Respectful and thoughtful discussions can only better us and make us more prepared.
Remember, stay frosty!