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Lately, I have seen a lot written about kids and prepping. Yes, some members of the younger generation only care about immediate gratification and living in the moment. Others, however, do pay attention to the times, and whether by osmosis or something else, do learn from their prepper parents.
That leads me into today’s topic: teaching kids to have a preparedness mindset.
Earlier this year, I was asked to help judge the annual Video and Essay contest at the Survival Weekly website. Selecting the best entry in each of the two categories was difficult because the topics covered were as diverse as the authors themselves. At the end of the day, however, there could only be two winners: one for video and one for an essay.
Essay #10 was written by 16-year-old Elyssa Jones. I share it with you with the hope that it will help you stay motivated as your teach your children, grandchildren and other young people about preparedness and the preparedness mindset.
Essay #10 – Kids and Preparedness
by Elyssa Jones
I am 16 years old and live in a home where prepping and survival is discussed way more times than I care for. I understand that my parents want to protect me but it all seems a bit much at times. As a kid, I want to go and hang out with my friends, watch TV and do things that are fun. I don’t want to sit and talk about preparedness and survival. I’m not even sure that I really understand “Situational Awareness” or “Loss of Civility” but I hear words like these all the time.
We talk about severe weather and all sorts of other things that may interrupt our lives. Dad is always talking about manmade and natural disasters and how we can prepare to survive them. He taught me what I need for emergencies and survival, how to pack a bug out bag and we discuss different places to meet in case we are not together and something tragic happens.
When Dad asked me if I was going to participate in this contest I said, “No!”. I didn’t want to and didn’t think I had anything to offer anyhow. I could tell he was bummed but I just didn’t want to.
A couple of days later the whole survival topic came up again and it occurred to me that I do have something to offer. I have my aspect as a kid; I have my experiences of being a part of a family that prepares for disasters. It is boring most of the time but other times it is interesting. Maybe even fun sometimes.
So, I sat down and began writing. It was much harder than I thought it would be and started to feel like a homework assignment. The harder I tried the more I realized I had made a big mistake! I didn’t want to do it anymore but my parents have always taught me to never give up just because something is difficult, so I continued on. I realized that there are lots of things that I know how to do that will help take some of the stress off of my parents if something bad happens.
If we stay at home during an emergency (Bug-in, as Dad says) just knowing where things are stored is helpful. If we have to leave (Bug-out) then knowing how to catch fish with Dad helps put more food on our plates. Knowing how to start a fire helps keep us warm and helps Mom heat water for cooking and washing dishes. In emergencies, I can actually be helpful and not just look to my parents to save me!
I continued to think and realized that none of my friends know anything about prepping or survival. Most of my friends are too concerned with cellphones, music, videos, playing games and doing other things. I don’t discuss prepping or survival with my friends because it’s sort of weird. I am embarrassed to talk about it with my friends because they wouldn’t understand, they don’t care anyway and would just make fun of me and my family! Maybe their parents don’t know how to survive or care to teach them about Emergency Preparedness.
At school, we have fire drills and they give us pamphlets about Hurricane and Disaster Readiness but most of the papers wind up in the trash, on the floors or flying around the student parking lot. No one reads the information because no one cares! I guess they just all think that there will always be someone there to protect and save them.
So, as much as I hate being interrupted from doing what I want to do to participate in Dad’s “Preparedness Discussions”, I can see where I have been taught how to help and even take care of my family and myself in an emergency.
I have at least some skills that can help us survive. I can’t believe I am saying this but kids need to listen and learn more about preparedness and survival if their parents are trying to teach them. We may be in a situation someday where we act and save ourselves or sit and wait for someone else to come and save us. Dad says the latter isn’t an option because there may be no one to come to save us!
I think I understand now.
The Big Move 2.0
Unless you have been living in a cave, you know I have been planning to leave Washington State at the end of this month. The big news is that I will relocate to the State of Arizona and once I get there, will be seeking a mountain retreat somewhere along the Mogollon Rim where it is cool in the summer and the hunting and fishing are bountiful.
There will be challenges. As I outlined in the article Getting Out of Dodge: The Survival Retreat, we have a bucket list of “wants” yet recognize that getting them all and staying within budget is unlikely. There is the additional challenge of no longer being spring chickens which means we need to be mindful of access to healthcare as well as the physical challenges of maintaining a modest amount of acreage.
When the time is right, I do plan to share my journey but for now, just know that moving is hard work, especially when you are a prepper. What stays (my barter goods and bulk foods) and what goes (my freeze dried food, gear, and water barrels) is a gut-wrenching decision and is still not totally resolved.
I will know in two weeks.
The Final Word
Has anyone besides me noticed that many long-term bloggers in the survival niche have dropped off the radar screen? It is not that I blame them because putting out fresh content day in and day out is a lot of work. Plus, as Jim Cobb mentioned in his interview, there are a lot of smart, young, website owners who are a whiz at social media, photo editing, ad networks, and SEO. They tend to attract a lot of attention by simply providing a more entertaining experience. Sadly, many are not preppers themselves and thus produce either fluff or information that is just plain wrong.
Call me an old fogey or an old geezer, but I still like to do things the old-fashioned way: with transparency, honesty, and integrity. I write what I know about and what I don’t know, I learn. As this site matures, I find the comments becoming an informal forum for sharing ideas among similarly-minded people. And that, to me, is a good thing.
I carry my portable survival kit whenever I leave the house. The nice thing about it is that it fits neatly in a pocket, day pack, glove box, or handbag. If you are interested in more details or need assistance building your own kit, see 8 Essential Items: The Perfect Portable Survival Kit. The only thing I have changed since writing the article is to add Band-Aids to the tin. Lots of Band-Aids!
In the meantime, here are some items you should consider carrying with you as you travel near and afar.
BIC Classic Lighters (12): A dozen full-size BIC lighters with free shipping. Don’t forget to test them to ensure they work!
Paracord Lanyard: I prefer a paracord lanyard over a bracelet because I can use its clip to attach my whistle as well as other items that I may want to add from time to time such as a second flashlight, a Swiss army knife, pepper spray, or a flash drive (thumb drive).
Blocklite Ultra Bright 9V 6 LED Flashlight: I own six of these little gems. There is a similar flashlight called the Pak-Lite (which is more expensive) but it does not have a high-low switch like this one. These little flashlights just go and go, plus, they make good use of those re-purposed 9V alkaline batteries that you have recharged with your Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger.
Kershaw OSO Sweet Knife: This “oh so sweet” knife is solidly built, stainless steel knife that comes razor sharp right out of the package. It will pretty much cut through anything the price is amazing.
Windstorm Safety Whistle: This particular whistle can be heard a long distance away and above howling wind and other competing sounds. I love my cheapie whistles but this is the one I would depend upon for wilderness survival.
Lavender Essential Oil: This is the Swiss army knife of essential oils. My favorite lavender oil is from Spark Naturals. Enjoy a 10% discount with code BACKDOORSURVIVAL.
Chances are you have something similar already that can be repurposed for free.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: Too large for a pocket kit but important to have with you is the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter. At only 2 ounces (in weight), the LifeStraw is suitable for a backpack or bug out bag. It is easy to use and requires no chemicals to remove a minimum of 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria.