Marriage Is Like The Army – Quote

Marriage is like the Army; everyone complains, but you’d be surprised at the large number of people who re-enlist.

James Garner

Self Reliance Skills: Teach Someone Something

Why learn new self reliance skills

Living a self-sufficient lifestyle, and trying to cut down your reliance on outside entities is not something that comes out of the blue. It is something that must be worked on and fostered. Part of that entails learning the skills and gathering the knowledge to do so. Without continued learning, your efforts stagnate, and you never achieve your goals. There is not a single person that I know who is traveling the path towards self reliance who is not constantly trying a new technique, or reading some book or manual in order to learn new skills and accumulate more knowledge.

Teaching4Why pass on your self reliance skills

For many, a natural progression after gaining, or mastering, new skills, is to pass them along. The obvious answer as to why they do this is that they are propagating the idea of self-reliance and independent living. On the other hand, many people don’t consider themselves teachers and don’t have the confidence to teach others what they know. If you fall in to the latter category, there are a couple of reasons why you should reconsider becoming a teacher or mentor, if for no other reason then for your own self-improvement.

The first reason is that by teaching others, you are forced to critically break down the process. You gain a more intimate knowledge of what you are teaching. By doing so, you become better at whatever you are passing along. The second reason for teaching others what you know is that you expose yourself to new ideas and outlooks on the subject matter. A student may give you fresh angle on the topic, or impart some knowledge you don’t have.

Andrew’s Note:  In my Army life I’ve always volunteered to teach topics that I struggled with…preparing to teach others is the best way to learn a difficult topic or perfect your knowledge.

Teaching Fire Making Skills

Teaching Fire Making Skills

How people learn new self reliance skills

People learn new skills and knowledge in through three primary methods. We all incorporate all three methods when we learn. Everybody will gravitate towards one primary method dependent on their personality and hard wiring. It is important to know how your students learn and what method(s) are best suited to your topic.  Tailor your class to have the maximum impact by incorporating multiple teaching methods appropriate for your topic.

The three types of learners are:

  • The visual learner – This person gathers most of their information through their visual senses. They like to watch videos, read and take notes. They tend to organize the information in a format that is balanced and aligned.
  • The auditory learner – This person’s primary learning input is via listening. They prefer lectures and often ask questions. They tend to prefer discussions over what they don’t understand, and remember verbal instructions well.
  • The tactile learner – This person learns best by doing. They prefer to attend “how-to” workshops, doing labs and studying with others. They tend to dislike lectures and prefer to be active in their learning process.
Cody L. giving a class on survival techniques

Cody Lundin giving a class on survival techniques

Techniques for teaching self reliance skills

Since we now know the primary ways people learn, let’s go over several ways to go about teaching people the skills you know.

  • Direct instruction – This technique uses lectures to pass along information. It is good for passing along large amounts of information in a short amount of time. The drawback of the technique is that is very inflexible.
  • Problem based – This technique gives the student a problem, and then allows them to come up with an answer. It is used to develop critical thinking skills. The downside to this method is that it takes more teacher guidance, supervision and time.
  • Co-operative – The technique allows students to share and develop their knowledge with group members. Not to be confused with simple group work, true cooperative learning activities are highly structured. Again, it takes a lot of teacher supervision and guidance.
  • Field based – This technique takes students out into the real world to experience new information firsthand while being able to use all their senses. The upside to this is that it accommodates all learning styles well. The downside is that it is dependent on multiple environmental variables.

Teaching5Effecting teaching of self reliance skills

Now that we know how people learn, and several methods of teaching, it is important to touch upon some personal skills that will help you translate your skills and knowledge into student learning:

  • Communications – The ability to effectively communicate is key to keeping students engaged. This applies to the written word as well as the spoken.
  • Presence – Patience, demeanor and leadership are paramount in the classroom. Remember that the students are always watching you, and their behavior will be a reflection of what they see.
  • Planning – Have a good lesson plan. Even if you know the material inside and out, a good plan will help you stay on track and make the most of your time.
  • Flexibility – Be flexible, the unexpected will happen. Be ready to change directions and still keep the students attention.  Capitalize on mishaps, surprises and mistakes as ‘teachable moments.’

“I can’t teach anyone the self reliance skills I know!”

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Ben Franklin

AJ teases me about being an “evangelical prepper”, because I am constantly trying to bring new folks into the fold.  I gladly take that title on, and so should you.  Your teachers and mentors passed along the self reliance skills and knowledge that you are using to live a more self-reliant and independent lifestyle.  Pay it forward and teach and mentor others even if the thought terrifies you. At the end of the day, you’ll have gained more than you gave out, and chances are that you’ll have learned something along the way.

That Guy – Today’s Quote

“Don’t be that guy.” …. if you are consistently the source of grief, you don’t belong.

U.S. Army Special Forces Veteran Blake Miles via 6 Tips to Succeed in Special Operations | SOFREP

Andrew’s Note:  This is an axiom that will serve you as well at work, at home, with your social group, with your preparedness group and anywhere else life takes you as it does in the military.

Prepping As A Moral Imperative

“Prepping As A Moral Imperative” is going to be a little “evangelical prepping”.  That is a phrase coined by AJ. No, this isn’t a sermon on Christianity.  I do believe the Bible is very clear on being prepared and self-sufficient.  I am going to look at the matter in a more secular manner. The evangelical portion comes through my apologist’s attempt to draw more people in to “prepping”.  This essay frames the argument in a way that tries to appeal to the “rational being” in the non-prepper.

What is a Moral Imperative?

An imperative is a principal that a person is unable to resist.  Reason is what makes an imperative a moral choice. It becomes a moral “law” that must be followed. To act against this law is seen as self-defeating and against reason. We can test moral imperatives by applying a series of tests that German philosopher Immanuel Kant (below right) created in the mid-1700s. These tests either verify, or debunk the validity of a moral/ethical idea. Kant’s ultimate goal was to establish how much sway a moral argument should hold in a society.

Kant’s Formulas

Prepping As A Moral Imperative The first test is called “The Maxim Test”. A maxim is a statement of truth. A very simple and easily understood maxim is, “water is wet”.  A philosophical maxim is one that states a moral truth. This type of maxim is one that all should follow. Take lying, for instance. If the act of lying is morally right, then that morality must extend to everyone. Chaos would reign, if everyone lied all the time. This chaos would be self-defeating. Thus, as a rule, lying is bad. The second test is the “Individual As An End” test. This test is meant to determine if the imperative is benefiting the individual alone or others, as well. The greater good is served, if it passes the test; even if the individual benefits. A good example would the white lie. You are serving your own self interest of “being kind” when you tell a white lie. This is done at the cost of sacrificing the honesty being asked for. Only one person benefits from the white lie; you.  The third and final test is called the “Kingdom of Ends”. It combines the first two tests and applies it to the group. basically, a moral imperative is true, if the group can set down moral laws which apply to everyone equally. No specific sub-group, or individual gains from the application of this new moral “law”.

Putting Prepping As A Moral Imperative To The Test

Let’s apply Kant’s formulas to prepping as a moral imperative. The maxim of prepping as a moral imperative proposes that being prepared for an emergency is beneficial.  Not being so would be self-defeating. It reasons that a person who is concerned about their well being would take steps to protect against foreseeable emergencies. Even the US government promotes individual preparedness on its Ready.Gov site.   The maxim passes the first test, even by government standards.  The next test determines whether the individual is using prepping to benefit themselves alone, or if the whole of society is served by the act. The person who prepares is acting in a self-preserving manner. In the event of an emergency, they would no doubt benefit. Society also reaps rewards during a time of crisis from the prepared. The person who preps needs less help during a crisis. They use less communal resources and are better placed to help with recovery. In fact, the well prepared can give aid to others in need, when called upon.  Again, the idea of prepping passes philosophical muster. The last test helps us determine whether the morality of prepping benefits across the whole of society, when applied to every individual. If every individual in society applied the principles of “prepping”, then in times of crisis, society would benefit from the maxim. During the crisis, no one group benefits, to the detriment of another. No individual is better, or worse off than another, except to the extent in which they had prepared for said crisis. In the end, though, society is much better off should everyone be prepared to some extent, rather than some being prepared, while others are not. Prepography Logo; Prepping As A Moral Imperative

Prepping As A Moral Imperative, An The Appeal To Reason

I realize that I am most likely preaching to the choir. Chances are if you visit Prepography regularly you already feel that prepping is a moral imperative. Your take away from “Prepping As A Moral Imperative” can be a new tool to work on the hesitant.  If you don’t buy in to the whole prepping mentality, ask yourself this one thing, “Is what has been put forth in favor of prepping as a moral imperative reasoned, rational and logical?”   If the answer is yes, then ask yourself, “Why am I not becoming more prepared and self-sufficient?”

A Redneck Education in 10 Lessons

Let me share with you a redneck education in 10 lessons but first a confession…I’m half redneck!

You see, Dad is a country boy.  He’s the son of a depression era farmer turned businessman and Dad grew up in a small town where he made extra money by hiring himself out to the local farmers during school breaks.  As a young man, Dad’s neck was definitely a shade of red but he fell in love with a city girl.  After getting married and dragging Mama Jackson around the world for a few years as a Navy wife he chose to settle the Jackson clan in a major Midwestern city not too far from his hometown.  We’ve never discussed it but I’ve always assumed that he settled in the city because that’s where the job opportunities were that would let him keep Mama Jackson in the manner to which she was accustomed (before her starving Navy wife days).

The nice thing about growing up in the Midwest is that even if you live in the city you are just a short drive to the country and growing up I spent a lot of time in and around Dad’s hometown.  We’d fish the farm ponds and hunt quail out of the draws that all the farms had in those days.  I grew up knowing my grandparent’s friends and my Dad’s hunting buddies.  I always felt that I was at least a part of Dad’s hometown.

While Dad married the city girl and moved to the concrete jungle suburbs…I went the other way and married a country girl.  Rachel spent her formative years deep in the Ozarks with a pair of resourceful parents that scraped a living out of those harsh, hillbilly highlands.  That living included numerous odd jobs, more than a little poaching and some creative culinary leaps including the invention of carp chili and a recipe for preparing groundhog.  When my bride and I returned home from my second Army tour we decided that the country life was for us and promptly moved to the country…in fact we moved back to my Dad’s hometown.

The nice thing about moving to a town where I had family roots was that the locals treated me like a local…they knew my people and I thought I knew theirs…did I mention that I was only half redneck?  We’ve been here over two decades now and when I think back to how young, naive and yes…ignorant I was… it’s a little embarrassing.

If you’re considering going ‘back to the land,’ want to develop ‘year round retreat’ or plan on ‘escaping the rat race’ you may be considering a move to the country as well.  I’m not assuming that the community you move into will be exactly like my home but I thought I’d share the Top 10 lessons of my redneck education so hopefully you don’t have to learn them the hard way like I did.

After you’ve identified the rural community you’re interested in joining make sure you not only to do your research, but also do some reconnaissance to make sure that your community is welcoming to outsiders.  Avoid any community that you think has a third generation rule.  If you’re not familiar with the ‘third generation rule’ that’s the rule that says it takes three generations to be considered a local… avoid these communities.  If you’re also buying or relocating a small business to your new rural home all these lessons will apply, if you’re just looking for a place to lay your head or ride out an economic meltdown you can choose to apply those lessons in other parts of your new rural life like the  community based volunteerism that you’re going to want to take up.

A Redneck Education in 10 Lessons

  1. Don’t Dis The Locals:  The sense of humor that was common in the city where I grew up and in the Army units I’d served in included clever banter about mutual acquaintances’ odd habits or behaviors.  The type of thing you might say about the odd duck who sits at your lunch table in high school.  You can’t do this in a small town.  Even poking harmless fun can be misinterpreted as negative and EVERYONE is related in a small town…well not everyone, but I guarantee that Murphy’s Law will assure that the recipient of your witticism will be the cousin, ex-husband or high school coach (maybe all three) of the target of your witticism.  When I first moved to town we had a local doctor who was a Vietnamese refugee… his most often prescribed treatment was “keep your chest warm” and he prescribed it with a rather humorous accent…which I could nail!  My wife appreciated my imitation but the second time I got the evil eye from a local over the imitation (what can I say, I was a slow learner in those days) I put it away for good.
  2. Learn The Infrastructure:  There are some infrastructure differences in the country and you need to learn what they are and adjust your behavior accordingly.  One of the differences in my neck of the woods is septic tanks and coming from the city I was used to using antibacterial soap…with a septic tank, bacteria is your friend and antibacterial soap is a sure way to create a pretty crappy situation.
  3. Be Careful Who You Hire:  Whether you’re hiring someone for your small business or to help you around your place be very careful who you hire.  Hiring locals is a great idea but if you’re prone to hire those who ‘know everybody’ it can backfire if they’re also a gossip.  We had an employee at the office that knew everybody and had the gift of gab…I thought she’d bring in lots of local business but many of the locals avoided our business while she worked for us.  You see, they were afraid that their private business wouldn’t stay private.  You should have similar concerns for those you have working for you at your home or homestead as well…some of your preps just can’t be hidden and you don’t want everyone in the county knowing that you have resources if times become tough…remember to be a Stealth Prepper.
  4. Get Involved:  Man is a social creature and can’t be happy without companionship.  It can also be difficult to survive without a personal network.  Get involved in group activities that interest you and you’ll meet like minded people.  Some good places to start are your Church, your children’s school, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Lions Club, a local social fraternity or an informal group like the men of a certain age that have coffee together every morning in my town.
  5. Don’t Talk About Religion:  Robert A. Heinlein from little ole Butler, MO said it best…’one man’s religion is another man’s belly laugh.’  Hilarity aside, living in a small community in close proximity you want to tolerate others’ beliefs because if you piss someone off…there’s no escaping them and you’ll see them every time you buy groceries, fill up your tank with gas or go watch the high school team play.  This spirit of religious tolerance plays out on an organizational level in many towns where churches of different denominations often band together to accomplish charitable goals and undertake share missions.
  6. Buy American Cars:  When I first moved to the country there was an unwritten rule that the union crowd wouldn’t do business with you if you drove a foreign car.  Over the past two decades this particular ‘rule’ has disappeared in my community but every community has unwritten ‘rules’ that can sometimes be difficult for the outsider to decipher.  The best practice is to watch what and mimic what the locals buy, build, wear and do…and if in doubt find yourself a redneck whisperer that can facilitate your training and assimilation.
  7. Lend A Hand:  Give freely of your time to individuals and organizations.  Putting others before yourself will demonstrate that you deserve inclusion in the redneck collective.  Lend a hand, help out with community event, stop and help…you’re a good guy or gal…don’t be afraid to demonstrate it for your new friends.
  8. Promises Not Lawyers:  Unfortunately the ‘compliance culture’ is making inroads into our rural sanctuaries but out here a promise and a handshake still means something to many folks.  Be careful bringing lawyers into minor routine transactions as you might alienate your new friends.  My rule is that I always give the other guy the benefit of the doubt if he’s got a good reputation and the consequences of his failure won’t endanger my family or finances.  Additionally, when I do use a lawyer I use a country lawyer that’s well known, liked and respected…we tend to get to agreement much easier and with less cost.
  9. Wave:  Another unwritten rule in my neck of the woods is that you wave.  In town and on paved roads you wave at those you know, on gravel roads you wave at each person you pass.  The rules may vary in your rural paradise but as a prepper you want to maintain an awareness of those around you and a friendly attitude so comply with the local waving mores…like Dalton said “I want you to be nice.. until it’s time..to not be nice.”
  10. Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover:  In the country status, education, and wealth aren’t readily identifiable by clothes, cars, housing and diction like in the city.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the old guy with the three day growth of beard and muddy overalls can’t afford to buy the fancy import car you’re selling so that you can ‘buy American’… he may be the county commissioner, a retired PHD, the Methodist Pastor or the richest guy in three counties.
  11. Bonus Lesson…Don’t Let Your Dogs Run Loose:  In my neighborhood we welcome folks moving out from the city…but the quickest way to alienate the locals is to buy that place on acreage and think that you’ve got to populate it with three or four dogs that you let run loose.  Dogs running lose will pack up and revert to their predator behaviors.  Allowing your dog or dogs to join a pack that kills your neighbor’s livestock is not a good way to ingratiate yourself to your new neighbors.  Our local sheriff’s deputies counsel a solution for these situations…they call it “the 3 S’s.”  The 3 S’s is a procedure where you first ‘shoot’ the offending dog(s), then ‘shovel’ the carcasses underground and finally ‘shut up’ and never mention it again.

This was my redneck education in 10 lessons (and two bonus lessons) and your community’s values and mores are sure to vary from my community’s but hopefully these lessons I learned will help you avoid some of the uncomfortable situations and steep learning curve that I went through…yea, I learned six of these the hard way.

Conflicted-The Survival Card Game Review

Recently, a friend said, “Hey I’ve got this new card game that looks like it would be a hoot.”  He handed me the deck, and briefly gave an explanation of the idea behind the game.  I thumbed through the deck, and replied, “Looks interesting, we’ll have to play some time.”  Several weeks later, we decided to do a cook out and give the game a try.  I purposefully did not look the game up online so as not to taint my view of it by reading promotional material or other reviews.  All I knew going in was that it was a called Conflicted-The Survival Card Game and that it presented moral dilemmas for the players to discuss.  Game night finally arrived, and Mrs. Grumpy G, or as I more affectionately call her “She Who Must Be Obeyed” arrived on target.  The ladies made small talk, while our host and I sat on the deck watching dinner cook.  After dinner and a few drinks, we retired to the front room and commenced the night’s journey.

Conflicted-The Survival Card Game Review – What you get:

The publisher describes the game as:

Conflicted: The Survival Card Game is a brand new way for survivalists to share their philosophies about prepping. It’s a game that can be a serious conversation between established prepper groups, or it can be a fun way to introduce someone to the concept of prepping.  Conflicted helps you show other preppers why you are prepping, why your reason for prepping matters, and what your survival philosophy is when choosing life vs your morals. 

The quality of the cards is good.  They are nice and thick.  On one side is the game’s logo and deck number (there are two decks currently out).  The other side contains a short blurb describing the moral dilemma you face.  The scenarios range from mundane to “who’s the sick puppy that came up with that one?”  The mundane would be something like, “You have advanced warning of a coming disaster, and only $200.  What would you purchase, before the panic buying of the masses kicks in.”  On the other end of the spectrum would be “A witch doctor shows up at your compound offering gold and ammo for the livers of the dead littering the landscape.  You are short on both.  Would you risk disease, and potential death collecting livers for him?”  For the record, that was probably my favorite card of the night, because the answer was so simple, at least to me.  I won the card by stating without hesitation that I would put a bullet between his eyes and feed him to the pigs.  That kind of evil can’t be dealt with in a civil manner.

The lettering and the scenario side of the cards is white, on a black background.  Font size is a little small so those with weaker eyes should bring reading glasses.  In fact, this is where my only complaint about the card deck itself comes in.  There are a pair of rules card in the deck as well.  Rules are quite simple.  Basically, one player draws a card, and reads the scenario to the player on their left.  The other players then grade the answer and award the reading player from 0 to 3 points, giving them a score for that round.  Play passes around the group, until everyone has had a turn; ending the current round.   Scores are tallied for each player, and after the end of 12 rounds the player with the highest score wins.  There are currently 2 decks available, the basic deck, and an add-on with more scenarios.  I gather from the publisher’s web site that more are in the works.  They even have a scenario submission link on their home page.

The Players:

Our group of players consisted of a mixed bag of personalities.  There were two men, and three women.  I and the other gent are both versed in survivalism/preparedness, even if we have slightly different approaches on the subject and are both military vets.  The women had all been exposed to the prepper world, even if they don’t have 100% buy in.  All three fall into the mamma bear category but they each brought their own world view to the table.  Mrs. Grumpy G is a bit conservative, even if she can’t quite express it at times and occasionally gets tripped up by the liberal media.  By the end of the night I realized that Mrs. Host was what I good naturedly calling a ‘stealth hippy’.  Her answers were just as often guided by her heart and need to be “good” as they were by reason.  Don’t interpret that as necessarily a bad thing (more on that later).   The last person, Auntie D could be considered a compassionate pragmatist giving equal weight to doing the “right” thing as what’s called for by the ‘reality’ of the scenarios.   After we all got settled, drinks were topped off, and the game started.

Conflicted Card GameThe Game:

We quickly modified the rules to have the active player pick a card and read the scenario to the group.  Everyone, in turn, explains how they would handle that particular situation.  The reader then decides who gave the best answer, in their eyes, and hands the card to that player.  Like I said, the scenarios run the gamut.  Some are straight up moral questions.  Some with easy answers, like the witch doctor one mentioned while others engender a more philosophical approach.  Others, are nuts and bolts questions like “What would you buy, and why?”  After a couple of revolutions around the table, it became apparent that each player’s outlook on life flavored their answers.  The men in our group tended to lean more towards swift justice, prudence, and violence of action when necessary.  When it came to matters of honor, we tended to value it more than safety.  When presented with enough evidence to suggest our sacrifice wouldn’t be in vain we were willing.  The women tended to answer more with their hearts; some more than others .  The only exception seemed to be with scenarios that involved children at which point the women became a vicious cut-throat bunch.   Also… apparently, neither Mr. Host or I have enough feminine hygiene products on hand for the end of the world.  We agreed to work on that.

Surprisingly…or maybe not… the women took an early lead in the game.  I honestly think they thought we were a couple of blood thirsty nut jobs at one point.  Mrs. Grumpy G, even after being exposed to me for 22 years gave me a couple of sideways looks as I answered questions.  That’s OK… she generated a couple of WTF moments for me as well.  As the game went on and we explained our answers more the men began to win more cards.  Some of the cards have a theological bent; like “Would you deny God, just to live?”  Interestingly, these cards created a lot of sidebar discussion.  It gave us a chance to discuss how Christians are supposed to deal with these questions compared to how we actually do it.  About midway through the game it dawned on me that what we were seeing was a rough psychological profile of each person developing.  It also demonstrated how the different personalities in a group can complement or contrast with each other.  I made a comment about that fact and Mr. Host said Conflicted was absolutely a tool that could be used in that manner.  As the game went on, I decided that if we were thrown into an cataclysmic end of the world situation, the group playing the game would probably work well.  Mr. Host and I would be the hammers when the problems were nails, and the women would be there to ensure that we didn’t decide that every problem was a nail.  They were compassionate but Mr. Host and I were able to get them to admit that sometimes… in trying times… very unsavory things must be done and that doing them doesn’t necessarily forfeit one’s humanity.

Conclusion:

The game was enjoyable and not solely based on the company.  The moral scenarios are thought provoking, and if you enjoy discussing ethics, you’ll get that in spades.  The nuts and bolts questions give a good opportunity to educate and pass on knowledge to the less seasoned members of the group.  Used as a tool for exploring group dynamics, I think the developers hit it out of the ball park.  I learned some stuff about others in the group that kind of surprised me, and I know I surprised a couple of the other players.  In the end, if you are inclined to this sort of thing, Conflicted is a game that lends itself to an enjoyable evening.  I’m not sure about the replay ability of it.  If you played with the same group more than a couple of times you would need to purchase the add-on decks, or bring new bodies in to the mix to keep it fresh.  There were some discussion in our gaming group about inviting a couple that are decidedly NOT of the survivalist strain to join a future game night.  One member thought it wouldn’t be a good idea, while I just think it would be a hoot to see how they handled it.   In the digital age, I think another great way to play this game would be hosted on-line.  All in all, I think I am going to invest in Conflicted-The Survival Card Game as I enjoyed it and would like to see how other friends would answer and react.

Addendum:

You may have noticed me mentioning drinks a couple of times.  In all honesty, the reviewable portion of our game ended about half way through.  As more drinks were poured certain members of the group (Mrs. Grumpy G and Mrs. Host) became more affected by the alcohol and their answers became a bit less inhibited and a great deal more hilarious.  By the end of the evening I think I could have convinced both of them that we needed to start our own head hunting mercenary group and rid the world of left handed midgets.  The suggestion was even made at some point that maybe we needed to larder up more alcohol, should TEOTWAWKI come.  I am not advocating drinking in excess.  I will say that if your group does drink, the dynamics of the game will change as the night wears on and the ‘dead soldiers’ stack up.  If you have some happy drunks in your midst, then Conflicted-The Survival Card Game can also be very funny.

Andrew’s Note:  Conflicted is a Prepography advertiser.

Strive For Community – Today’s Quote

Strive for community without surrendering yourself to it.

Self Sufficiency Writer and Marine Grumpy G

Preparedness Lessons From The Amish

Recently I traveled to Amish country with my wife Rachel and a small group of friends.  Our guide was an “English” who has cultivated long term friendships within the Amish, Mennonite and other faith communities in his area.  I enjoy learning about other cultures and often find preparedness lessons in what I learn and observe…my recent trip was no exception and here are the Preparedness Lessons From The Amish community.

Technology Mix:  Amish communities carefully select what technologies to adopt.  I won’t go into the spiritual side of why the communities make their decisions but suffice it to say that they live with a mix of modern technologies like solar panels intermingled with anarchistic technologies like horse drawn buggies and kerosene lanterns.  As a prepper you must also decide on what mix of technologies you employ in your daily life and just-in-case preparations.  Some preppers think that they’d be lost without a generator, deep freeze, electric heaters and electric lights.  Others are willing to heat with wood, store food in root cellars and rely on LED flashlights and lanterns recharged by solar panels.  Choose the best solutions for your environment, experience, physical abilities and financial resources.  Mix and match technologies to fulfill your needs.  The Amish are much less reliant on modern technology than anyone reading this article but even the Amish aren’t unwilling to learn and adopt certain modern technologies…take this same approach in your preps by learning and including antiquated technologies and practices when appropriate.

Community is Key:  Your immediate community represented by family and faith connections makes up for the inability of any one household to be fully self sufficient but the greater community represented by neighbors, co-workers, business colleagues and acquaintances is just as important.  In the community I was in the Amish, the ‘English’ and the other communities have a symbiotic relationship where the Amish provide craftsmanship (construction, furniture, crafts, etc.) and quality foodstuffs while the ‘English’ provide transportation (drove Amish work crews to the city for construction work), markets (conduit to get Amish goods to the tourists and channel the tourists to the Amish services) and communications (facilitate Amish access to the internet to purchase necessary items that can’t be procured locally as well as provide telephone service to the phone booths outside most Amish homes).

A Little Tolerance & Decorum Go A Long Way:  You’d expect that with so many immersive faith communities sharing such a small community that there would be constant conflict between those living the ‘right way’ and those living the ‘wrong way.’  In my short foray into the Amish communities I often found myself surrounded by an eclectic mix of Amish, Mennonites, Methodists, Baptists and the unchurched.  Even my normally rowdy travel mates fell into a comfortable, culturally neutral  pattern of behavior where everyone not only tolerated each other’s differences, but accommodated their views of modesty and decorum.  I found the small community I visited much more civil and less fractured than communities I’ve visited and lived in that were much more homogeneous in their demographics.

Reputation is Everything:  When dealing with others across the void of radically different cultures you must be even more scrupulous in fostering and preserving your good reputation.  The person you’re buying from or selling to may not understand who you are or where you come from… he may virtually live in another century technologically…the only thing he or she may know of you is how you treat with him.  Your reputation is your most valuable asset and may someday represent the difference between life and death…protect it accordingly.

These are the lessons this tourist took away from my Amish community visit.  I’d be interested to know what preppers that live alongside the Amish day-to-day feel they’ve learned from their Amish friends and neighbors.

Next time I want to learn more about Amish appliances like kerosene powered refrigerators and washing machines…might come in handy some day.,

Love, Strength & Courage – Today’s Quote

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
Lao Tzu

The Prepper Marriage

The principles for a healthy prepper marriage are similar to the principles for any other healthy marriage but with the tremendous added complication that the spouses may be at different stages in the mental and emotional aspects of their respective preparedness journeys.  In fact, in my experience it’s rare to find a prepper family where both both spouses are equally convinced of the need to prepare and consequently, equally committed to preparedness.  Even if you and your husband or wife aren’t on exactly the same preparedness page you can use the techniques described here to strengthen your marriage and move towards more harmony in both your marriage and your preparedness life.

Family and Community Support is one of the ten fundamentals of our Full Spectrum Preparednes Doctrine and there is no relationship more important to individual and family happiness and fulfillment than a healthy marriage.  If you and your spouse are mutually supportive and completely committed it also adds incalculable resilience to you both individually and to your family collectively.  Just like a strong faith in God is a ‘force multiplier,’ a strong sense of faith in your marriage and each other will give you the strength to better handle life’s adversities.

Experts tell us that achieving and maintaining a healthy marriage is a process and you can use the following principals both to keep a great prepper marriage great or improve a marriage in jeopardy.

Principals of A Health Prepper Marriage (more…)

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