Since I’ve been sharing my thoughts on preparedness a lot in the past couple years, it got me thinking about how long, not just preparedness, but learning to be as self-reliant as possible, has been part of my lifestyle. What changed in the past couple years is I began paying attention to the online Prepper community, especially the YouTube prepper community. I had formed a very negative opinion of “preppers” based on the sensationalized Hollywood portrayals like Doomsday Preppers and also the extreme survivalist type shows.
Sure, there are some online preppers, I think are kooks, but the vast majority I think are decent people and trying to present information they think will help people become better prepared for emergencies.
I started this blog in 2012 and early on a friend of mine wrote an essay, Gimme A Knife, on self-reliance, which I posted on my blog and I’ve mentioned it many times over the years.
Not that long ago I wrote a post about my husband teaching me to drive when I was in my early 20s and I mentioned how he refused to let me quit, which I want to expand on a little bit before reposting my friend’s 2012 blog post and my blog post responding to his.
Recently there was a news story about a female Air Force special warfare candidate being given special considerations and also allegations that she quit several times, which would require elimination from the course, but she was allowed to continue the course. I don’t want to get into the women in combat and special forces debate, but suffice it to say I do not agree with opening a few ground combat and special forces jobs to women. My opinion was formed from serving a short time in the Army and following how these feminist political games are played in the US military for decades.
Rather than the politics, what I want to focus on is “quitting” and what that means, not just to emergency preparedness, but to every aspect of your life. My husband and I were both in the Army serving in a Pershing missile battalion in Germany when we met. We did not like each other at all at first and it wasn’t until we were forced into working together that we began to even talk to each other. For the first 8 months he worked down the hallway in S-3 and I worked in a small office as the battalion Public Affairs person. We avoided each other and tried not to even speak to each other. I thought he was a cocky jackass and I suspect he thought I was a prissy airhead.
In one of those politicized decision-making mind-sets, a commander thought it would look good to the NATO evaluators to have a female M-60 gunner, to show how great women were integrated in the US Army. Our first sergeant tasked my husband with training me. At first I told my husband I knew it was a stupid idea and there I was quitting before even trying. That infuriated my husband. He told me he was tasked to train me and I would learn, but he also explained probably one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned in my life. He explained to me that it’s not about me. He told me that I am part of the Army team and other people are depending on me. He told me other people’s lives could count on me doing my job – whatever job I was tasked with doing. I let that sink in for a minute and then I told him I would do my best and I did. And that’s the thing that really matters in life.
There’s a whole lot of time and energy by “experts” in our society focused on urging us to focus on our feelings and telling us when to ditch people in our lives or how we should focus on ourselves. This particularly pertains to urging women to focus on how they feel. An entire genre of TV talk shows developed from Phil Donahue to Oprah to the tabloid crap like Maury Povich, dedicated to putting people on stage, urging them to reveal the most intimate details and problems in their relationships. It’s a media culture dedicated to encouraging people to betray the people who should matter most in their lives. No family bond is off-limits, not even encouraging parents to get on stage with their children and trash them or discuss private family matters.
Treating the people who matter most to us with some respect matters. Looking beyond our feelings and to other people who count on us matters too.
We are all part of teams in our lives, even if we’re not in the military. The most important team is our family, then we have friends and community. Other teams we may join or commit to could be church, civic organizations, work-related groups and some preppers form groups.
Even if you fall on you butt a thousand times, cry, scream, come up with a different game plan. Do whatever you’ve got to do, but get back up and try again. And never lose sight of the teams in your life, especially your family.
United we stand, divided we fall.