OPINION – September is National Preparedness Month. Perhaps now is as good a time as any to tout the virtues of personal preparedness in hopes that some of the fence-sitters might see the light.
It’s telling that the mere mention of the word “prepping” brings a mixed reaction in today’s society.
Independent-minded folks embrace it as a way of life. Some regard preparedness as a vote of no confidence in the systems that surround us. Others think it’s an okay idea so long as we don’t get “too prepared,” whatever that means.
Pop culture tends to portray preppers as dangerous kooks who live in a constant state of paranoia while anticipating some unspecified apocalyptic disaster. The reality is much more down to earth.
What does it say about our modern society that people who value personal preparedness are viewed with suspicion but those who live in perpetual dependence are not?
It wasn’t always this way.
Up until just a few generations ago, the majority of American families placed great value on self-reliance. Many practiced thrift by saving for a rainy day and only purchasing what they had money in hand to purchase.
They grew gardens, fixed or mended things and worked on their own vehicles. In short, they assumed responsibility over as much of their lives as possible. This means that they didn’t require directions or permission from someone in a position of supposed authority to solve the challenges that arose in their lives.
They understood that they were not entitled to the fruits of other people’s labors from the cradle to the grave.
This attitude wasn’t intended to rule out genuine charity but to place the responsibility for our own well being primarily upon our own shoulders.
None of us is immune from the effects of unforeseen complications or problems. Preparedness offers a way by which we can solve the majority of our own problems without burdening others.
It incorporates meeting our own immediate needs, including food, water, shelter, tools and skills.
In our time, too many people live in a naive state of mind that presumes government will somehow meet their needs in times of crisis. They obviously haven’t looked too closely at nations like Venezuela lately.
No one endowed with bureaucratic authority will value your family’s lives and autonomy as much as you will. So why not strengthen your ability to live life on your own terms when it is within your power to do so?
Prepared people do, in fact, sleep more soundly at night than their unprepared counterparts.
Preparedness isn’t about resigning ourselves to huddling in a bunker somewhere eating MREs. It’s about knowing that you have the means to care for your family regardless of what’s happening around you.
It’s the satisfaction of growing, preserving and living off of food that you produced for yourself.
It’s the sense of community that comes from teaming up with like-minded people whose resources and skill sets complement your own.
It’s the realization that you have the means to keep your home warm and comfortable when your furnace breaks down during a winter cold snap.
It’s the ability to be able to be a problem solver that helps others who are in need.
It’s the confidence to be able to decline offers of “help” from bureaucrats or opportunists who are trying to assert power over you.
It’s about having options when dealing with those things that are not under your control.
Done correctly, personal preparedness should improve our position in life regardless of whether something has gone wrong.
There’s an undeniable feeling of contentment when you don’t have to run to the store at the last minute to grab some forgotten item because you have stocked a mini grocery store in your home.
It’s a compliment when coworkers immediately look to you when the power goes out because they know you’ll have a flashlight of some sort within reach.
There’s comfort in having the skill sets that enable you to face emergencies head on and deal with them in a timely manner. You don’t have to be MacGyver to make a meaningful difference in a bad situation.
The secret to successful prepping is to begin and to be persistent in your efforts.
Putting aside a year’s supply of food seems overwhelming. However, someone who consistently picks up a few extra items each time he or she goes grocery shopping will build up a respectable store of food within a matter of weeks.
Once we get the sense that we are making progress, it motivates us to continue or even to step up our efforts to become more prepared.
The key is to start now and tune out the voices that say it’s unnecessary.
Gaining a proper perspective of personal preparedness should start with asking a simple question: What exactly are we preparing for?
The answer, of course, is life.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator, radio host and opinion columnist in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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