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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Turn Your Spouse Into an Avid Prepper (Or At Least Get Them On Board So They Won't Report You to the FBI)

I'm only half kidding about the part in parenthesis. Since opposites attract, it's a good possibility that if you are reading this, then your spouse will think all of this preppin and survival stuff is a bunch of hooey. Like any good sales pitch, if you want to turn someone to your way of thinking, you need to approach the target (um...spouse) like a professional would (that means with tact, understanding, and charm). Here's some ideas:
  • If you have to use force or intimidation, you've lost the battle. Don't go about it this way.
  • Appeal to what the person feels are their most important needs. You may feel that an AK 47 is what's needed to protect your family while the spouse may feel that life insurance makes more sense. Be prepared to buy the life insurance first.
  • Lay out a plan. Explain how being prepared will make your family safer, not only from natural and man-made threats but from everyday disasters such as the loss of a job or loss of a spouse. The plan needs to be well balanced (ie: paying off debt and stocking food for a year should take precedence over buying a bug out shelter immediately), and should include something for everyone in the family (not just some new toys for you).
  • Follow through. If you present a comprehensive disaster plan and your spouse rolls their eyes, consider what the issue may be. If you tend to start stuff and not finish stuff then begin this whole process with a small project that you can successfully complete before chewing off a huge, multi-faceted project.
  • Be prepared. Much like a good defense attorney, consider what issues the spouse may raise and be prepared to answer them in a straight-forward, logical way.
  • Start slow. If you have always been a hunter, gathering up survival gear will not be that big of a deal. If you have never left the city, the spouse may be a bit leery about the three-season tent that suddenly appears in the living room. Start off slow with a day hike. Then maybe an overnight camping trip with rented gear at a local park. Move on from there with gathering survival (er, camping) gear and supplies.
  • Learn together. If you've ever taught the spouse to drive (or shoot) you may have had less than stellar luck with such an endeavour. Consider taking a class together (such as rock climbing or wilderness survival) even if you already know what you are doing. Both of you learning from someone else will place you both on a level field instead of you always being the dominant one (er, teacher).
  • Get the kids involved. If the spouse sees that you are spending quality time instilling life skills to your children, they will be less likely to be negative towards your preparedness efforts.
  • Lead by example. If you want to get your family into better physical shape, you need to be the example. Exercising on a daily basis, improving you diet, and seeking regular preventative medical care are simple ways to show your family the example that you want them to follow.
  • Be responsible. While I can totally understand a massive shopping trip to prepare for any potential problem, you need to first and foremost be responsible. This means paying bills first then spending a budgeted amount on disaster supplies. This means ensuring that the batteries in your smoke detector are working even though you would rather put it off for later.
  • Do activities together (and seek feedback). The family that plays together, stays together. Ditto for the family that preps together. Each family member should have the opportunity to plan, coordinate, and lead preparedness activities. These activities do not have to be major things such as setting up a radio station that could contact Mars--something as simple as planning a meal, buying the groceries, and preparing a meal can teach a number of team building skills. Be sure to get the family's input on what is working and what could be improved and actually institute their suggested changes.
  • Save the grandiose schemes, the ranging conspiracy theories, and the abnormal behavior that could lead the spouse to think you had a psychotic break for your next novel. Maybe you need a grandiose scheme, you have hard-core proof of a conspiracy theory, or you do behave abnormally but all of these things draw attention to you, and in preparedness theory, the less attention you draw to yourself, the better. Besides, if you are truly up to your elbows in real-life black ops/covert activities/etc, the spouse will be better off if they know nothing about this.

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