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Monday, May 8, 2023

Where Does My Responsibility Begin and End?

I have pondered this question for years. And I still don't understand the mindset of people who delude themselves into thinking that they don't need to prepare because others will be willing to share, or forced to share, if necessary. I don't understand those who prioritize material items over caring for their families. I don't understand those who say they can't afford it, when by all appearances, they can. I understand money is tight, been there and done that, but you do what you have to do to prepare. I just don't understand those who say they'll be coming to my house when they can't feed themselves and their children.

And I also don't understand those who do prepare, but say they will be happy to share with all who need it. Maybe I haven't achieved the level of Christ-like compassion that they have. I know I have so many faults and sins to overcome. I'm working on it. But in the meantime, I take the words of the Apostle Paul to heart: "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (1 Timothy 5:8).

My first responsibility is to my family. If I have surplus food and supplies, what is my responsibility to those who come begging? Where does my responsibility begin and end? Of course, these questions are not directed to you. Give or take a couple of tenths, 99.8% of my readers do not know me in real life. So this isn't directed to you, but rather to those who tell us they're coming to our houses for food. These aren't well-organized thoughts, but they represent what I think when I hear people say they don't prepare or that they're going to share with everybody. If you have an outlook or observation that could persuade me of the error of my thinking, please share in the comments below.

Am I supposed to just somehow know that you will be coming and that I am to prepare for you?
Am I supposed to feed you like a king?
Am I supposed to feed you what you are accustomed to eating?
Am I supposed to cook and clean for you?
Am I supposed to give you the good stuff?
Am I supposed to feed you like I feed the rest of my family?
How many of you are there? 
 Am I supposed to do it all if 5, or 10, or 20, or 100 extra people show up?

Oh, you are willing to help. Well then, am I supposed to trust that you can help? To trust that you know your way around a kitchen? That you understand proper hygiene enough that you won't make others sick?

Am I not supposed to feed you food that is out of date?
Am I supposed to feed you the number of calories you want?
Am I supposed to feed you the treats you want?
Am I supposed to come up with something else if you don't like what I made?
Am I supposed to modify my storage to make sure that my food is gluten-free, lactose-free, or nut-allergy free? Vegetarian? Vegan?
Am I supposed to feed you for nothing when there is a boatload of work to do around here?
Am I supposed to believe that you can be oh-so-helpful in a garden when you have never raised a potato?
Am I supposed to feed you what you want even though you are overweight?
Am I supposed to give you very valuable oil for your baking, when bean puree will substitute?
Am I obligated to do it all for you?
Am I obligated at all to you?

This is how the situation will play out.

If you get anything...
You get the cheap stuff--wheat, oats.
You get the old stuff. The stuff that is long past its use-by or best-by date.
You get the undesirable stuff. Pickled pigs feet. Canned salmon with bones that I haven't thrown away yet. Cat food. Well, not really cat food. Pressure canned chicken bones that can be mashed and fed to the cat. Actually, maybe not. The cat is very valuable for keeping down on vermin and snakes around the house. You, on the other hand, didn't have the intelligence to prepare yourself or your family. You have already branded yourself as severely lacking.

You get stuff you might be allergic to. My kitchen is not safe for anyone with nut or milk allergies. Home-canned fruits were cut up using a cutting board that I normally oil with peanut oil. Sometimes I changed my mind on what was going into a jar. I might have started out with peanuts or almonds and changed my mind. Just blew out the jar without washing and then put something else in it.

You get stuff with weevils or other bugs. You'll be happy to take the free stuff, whatever comes with no strings attached? That would be whatever the mice chewed on. Oh, and there isn't actually any of that. We store everything very well so that mice don't get to it before the cats get to them.

You get rancid stuff. Sometimes nuts go rancid, and I haven't figured out a use for those. I've got ten-year-old rancid vegetable oil. But that still has value for oil lamps, so I'm keeping it. Rancid flour--it's happened once--gets made into dog food.

You might get mixes I didn't like enough to ever make, like the stuff that my husband brings home from the store that I never used.

Some people might offer you home-canned foods. They'll probably be really old. How safe were their home canning practices? Some may offer stuff that was stored for years in a hot garage. It's not gonna be tasty. You might be offered foods you can't cook with because you never learned to cook.

I'm sorry, but in our new normal, cooking and baking take a lot of time and a lot of fuel. I don't have extra time to make food for you. I don't have extra fuel to cook it for you.

Oh, you wanted the good stuff. Sorry.

My children learned how to work as children and they still work now. They need the good stuff to keep their morale up as they work with people who refused to prepare. My husband, one daughter, and one son have specific dietary needs. They aren't sacrificing their health for your irrational desires that weren't important enough to prep for.

Oh, you look like you could shed a few pounds. 500 calories per day for you.

Yes, as a matter of fact, there is a lot of work to do on the property. You can bust your butt all day and earn 2,500 calories in food. Yeah, that will feed you. Not your family. If they want food, they have to bust buns as well. And actually, all will be fed in accordance with how well they worked. Lazy, spoiled American? No food. Lots of children? Sorry. If they're young enough to forget you and be trained well, I'll take them in, on the condition that you leave and never return. Guess you should have prepared better. If your children are old enough to remember you, you sure as heck better teach them to work hard and well darn quick so they can get enough to eat.

It's not a pretty picture, is it?

But don't make our family out to be unkind or mean for not sharing our food. You were the one who neglected your family and refused to prepare. And if you didn't care enough about them to prepare for them, why should I?

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