by The Patriarch
1) Preparedness is a lifestyle not a “kit”.
I really didn’t start long-term preparation until after seeing the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina in 2005. On the other hand, I have always had an interest in survival and preparation, whether it was for a disaster or it just meant having some simple comforts during life’s unexpected events. I usually bring extra food and clothing when away from home. This not only saves money, but it also allows more control over one’s life. Packing food allows one to not only eat what they want but also when and where they want, all at a lower cost.
One beautiful spring day our family, along with our dog, went canoeing on a remote stretch of river. After paddling for a few hours, the warm sunshine turned into cold rain, and soon everyone on the river was shivering and cold, everyone that is except for our family. I even improvised a rain coat for the dog.
Of course, preparedness is not just food and clothing; it might include transportation, communications, shelter, first aid and medications, and self defense, among other preps.
2) Preparedness relies on attitude more than equipment.
A number of years ago I was a missionary in South Africa. We were trying in vain to cross the South African/Zimbabwe border with a group of (black) South African young people. At the time, the country was deeply divided by racial issues, and there was no way that the (white) border officials were going to allow us to cross the border without specific documentation from the South African government. These documents, under the best of conditions, could take weeks or even months to obtain. Everyone was discouraged, and the American leaders who were with us were ready to quit and return to base in S.A. To make a long story short, we prayed together and did everything we could on our part (such as filling out the paper work and getting ID photos) to be granted Emergency Travel Documents. Ultimately, by asking for God’s favor and by being persistent in the face of adversity, we were given Emergency Travel Documents for every team member within eight hours.
The point here is that despite our best plans and efforts, things do go wrong often at the most inconvenient time, and the difference between victory and defeat is often our attitudes. This, of course, includes our spiritual, moral, and emotional attitudes.
3) You will often have to improvise and think outside the box.
No matter how prepared you are, one day you will find yourself needing something that you didn’t think of storing or that you have run out of. Sometimes you couldn’t prepare for it, because you never even thought of its existence! So how do you develop an improvisational mindset? First, it actually helps to be a bit thrifty (or just poor). We, the poor and/or thrifty, are always improvising to overcome the lack of financial recourses. Another way to develop out-of-the-box thinking is by reading about people who are forced by circumstances to do so or just do so as a matter of life. One website that comes to mind is Low Tech Magazine (lowtechmagazine.com), which is about missionary efforts to use economical, local, and often old technology to overcome physical problems in developing countries. Also, books about people who have had to survive alone with few resources in the wilderness or at sea abound.
4) No one is ever fully prepared, but we can all be heading in the right direction.
When my eyes were opened to the possibilities of national or even global disaster after the 2004/2005 hurricane season, the task of preparing was overwhelming. I am of modest means, I had no one to help me, and I had no plan to get myself to any level of preparedness. Still, I had the advantage of previous hurricane preparation, which gave me a good excuse for prepping and a place to start. If you examine your world, you can find an excuse also, if you need one. You could tell people that you are prepping for: earthquakes, blizzards, tornados, or social unrest, just to name a few. I believe that the best first step for beginning preppers is to research what others have done. James Wesley, Rawles and others have written numerous books and blogs that will help neophyte preppers. The important thing is to get started and make some progress each day.