By Alexander Crown
A common question amongst beginning preppers is “How do I get my family to be interested and see the importance in being well prepared?” This is a great question, and the answer isn’t always clear cut. Getting into prepping can be overwhelming, especially when your family isn’t fully on board. However, there are a few ways you can start incorporating readiness into your normal family activities that are enjoyable and provide plenty of opportunity for preparedness lessons and discussion.
When we talk about Fortifying Your Family, this doesn’t only mean from a nutritional standpoint, although that is an extremely important part of the preparedness equation. Fortification in this sense is also about building trust, strengthening bonds, and more importantly fostering confidence. This applies to anyone in your life that you may be close to or choose to include in your familial unit, neighbors, in-laws, a spouse, and children for example.
So, back to the question of “How can I get these people on board?” Start small with family walks in your neighborhood or at a nearby park. Ask questions about things you see, animals, plants, and things about the landscape that may not stand out immediately. My children and I created several games that they don’t realize are opportunities to build situational awareness and knowledge of their environment. One game they love is to have a scavenger hunt with pictures for the little one and words for the budding reader. Include details like a red door, a garden hose, or out of state license plates; things that kids and adults may miss without a little guidance.
Now that the weather is turning warmer (at least in my neck of the woods), my workout buddy and I are hitting some early morning hikes. Not only are we strengthening our bodies, but we are also strengthening our bond through shared suffering and conversation. This time together gives us the opportunity to reflect on our week, talk about our families, plans and other things happening in our lives. Who knew the simple act of carrying 30 pounds up and down a mountain would do so much to fortify our bond?
As the weather has continued to warm up and the sun has begun to rise a little earlier each day, we decided we should start bringing our kids along. I have two daughters and he has three, so we opted to only bring one child per parent for ease of control and for the mutual benefit of getting in one-on-one time with them.
Mission Dictates the Gear
To help the little ones feel like more of a part of the team, both five-year-olds carried their own backpack. The mission critical contents did not weigh more than 3 pounds. We knew it was important to set the precedent of having them carry their own water, a little bit of food, and some common survival items a five-year-old would be able to use. The kids were never out of our line of sight and we both knew going into this it would be a slow rate of movement. To counter the snail pace, we each carried more weight on our backs than usual to ensure a decent workout. As we started walking up the low-grade hill, my friend’s daughter started to get scared and worried about the climb in elevation. There wasn’t anything to really fear, but kids are kids. My daughter was the bigger help in this matter by grabbing her friend’s hand and leading her up the trail. She wasn’t afraid and she didn’t want her friend to be either. Kids have a great way of helping each other if we instill it in them early. By the time we reached the top, any fears had subsided.
As we reached the top of the trail and could lookout over the city of Boise, both girls were happy to take a little break and sit on the rocks. This was my chance to introduce them and myself to the new Nutrient Survival Chocolate Grain Crunch single packet. The pouch weighs 2.4 ounces so letting the kiddo carry it in her backpack was sensible. Although the hike didn’t drain everyone to the point of starving, we were all excited to try a new food and get a little breakfast in our stomachs. The single was ready to eat right out of the pouch. You can add milk or yogurt to it to make it more cereal-like, and my plan for future outings is to bring along a small baggie of powdered milk to mix with some water. My five-year-old is a picky eater but she loves cereal, so I had high hopes for the Chocolate Grain Crunch. It did not disappoint. Both kids ate their handfuls and the two dads split the rest. The single serve was great for dividing up into a quick snack amongst all of us. The kids were fueled up and ready to get back to the trail.
Scanning, Scat, and Blossoms
The hike down was a slightly quicker pace with more to see. As we approached a turn in the trail small rabbits darted across into some nearby sage brush. This was a great opportunity to get the kids’ eyes searching and we made a game of how many bunnies we could see. We tried to explain the method of scanning terrain in patterns, but it was a bit lost on the girls. That’s ok, we have built a foundation of knowledge and we will keep trying.
It is still early into spring so many plants are just starting to come alive. As cliché as it sounds, it was a great opportunity to stop and smell the flowers and talk about local vegetation. During one stop we came across a large pile of scat, and unlike the poop piles from dogs we had encountered along the trail, this one was clearly from a deer. The girls were not impressed but having them take notice and think about the animal this came from and why it was in this area was the real point of the lesson.
Getting kids interested in being prepared translates into getting others prepared. We can capitalize on the natural curiosity of children and encourage them to explore the world around them. By doing so we create a stronger mind and more confidence to help others and help themselves. One of the guiding principles of Nutrient Survival is to Fortify Your Family and we can expand that to include friends. We all have it in us to lift each other up mentally and physically. So, get out there, take some risks, and build the bonds to be resilient and prepared.
Alexander Crown is a former U.S. Army Paratrooper who spent time in a scout/sniper platoon in OIF. Alexander spends his time exploring Idaho, hunting, fishing, and camping. He’s a lifelong practitioner of preparedness, emphasizing self-reliance and organic gardening.