4 Things Your Family MUST Know Before SHTF

Statistically speaking, prepping families only make up one to two percent of our population. But if we break it down by individuals, we’ll probably find that the numbers are even lower. That’s because the average prepping family isn’t full of people who are gung-ho about prepping.

There’s often one person who is really the prepper, one or two others who go along for the ride and the rest just roll their eyes and wonder what other weird thing they’re going to have to put up with.

This may seem like a mere inconvenience now, but it could become a major problem, whenever a disaster chooses to strike. Survival is a full-time gig and anyone in your family who is not on-board is going to end up being a liability, not an asset.

Here’s where this really gets sticky: you might think that you can take care of your family by yourself, but you can’t. At least, you can’t do it without their help. One person by themselves, trying to take care of a family of four or five people who don’t have a clue about how to survive is too much for anyone to take on.

While I’m sure that you would try to, just like I would, I’m also sure that the mere work of survival will make that all but impossible to do.

What this means is that when that survival situation comes, you’re going to have to have family members who are actually helping out, not just sitting their complaining because their smartphone isn’t working or because the Wi-Fi is out.

They’ll need to become active parts of your survival team; preferably active parts who actually know how to do something.

It’s About Attitude

Survival is more about attitude than anything else. If you look at any military manual on survival, it’s going to start out with a chapter or two talking about attitude. Think about that for a moment. The US military, which can spend whatever they need to in developing survival manuals, starts out by talking about attitude.

Why is that? Because they recognize the importance of attitude in survival.

We see this in elite military forces as well, such as the Navy Seals. While Seals are superbly trained and honed to a fine edge, their biggest asset is that they don’t know how to quit. The Seal motto of, “The only easy day was yesterday” enshrines this attitude.

They know that they go into the hard situations, because it takes a team with their dedication to get the job done.

Granted, you can’t make your family have the attitude you want to. That’s just not possible. Their attitude comes from their innermost being, and you can’t control that. But you can influence it; and you should. You should do whatever you can to impress the importance of survival and being ready to survive on them, without going so far overboard that you shove them away.

Start with a Family Meeting

A good place to start is with a family meeting, where you lay your cards on the table. This is where you want to make sure that they understand why you are a prepper. They may not like it; they may not want to be part of it; but they need to understand why.

Avoid getting overly dramatic in this meeting. Talking about simple disasters, like hurricanes, is much more effective than talking about your favorite TEOTWAWKI event. While that event may very well come to pass, your goal at this point isn’t to convince them of that, it’s to get them on-board with the idea of being ready when any disaster strikes.

I’ve had this conversation with my family, as well as having it with both of my son-in-laws. Even though I haven’t convinced either of them to start prepping themselves, I have managed to get them to see the value of it, as well as understanding that in the case of a disaster, the family home is their refuge as well, and that I expect them to bring their family to my home in such a case.

Since those meetings, I’ve been able to talk more about survival and prepping with my whole family, including my son-in-laws. They are seeing the value of it, more and more, committing to the idea of taking care of their families, when the time comes.

Get ‘em Trained

You may never be able to convince your entire family to make the financial commitment necessary to start prepping. I seriously doubt that there are many teens in America today, who would rather receive a survival kit or bug out bag for Christmas, than their favorite video game.

You might get them excited about a new gun or even a hunting bow, but I doubt you’ll get them excited about a month’s worth of freeze-dried food.

But that’s not anywhere near as important as getting them interested in learning the necessary skills for survival. The right skills trump a huge stockpile any day, even though that stockpile can be very useful. In the long term, survival is more about knowing what to do, than having the stuff to do it with.

I’m sure you’ve seen some of these survival reality shows, where the survival expert is sent off into a wilderness environment with nothing but the clothes on their back and a camera crew to follow them around, recording what they do.

Those people always seem to manage to survive, even though they don’t have everything that we’d like to have, if we were in their shoes. Why? They have the knowledge.

Many survival skills are actually fun and interesting to learn. Hunting, fishing, camping – those are all things that people enjoy doing. We’ve got some relatives coming in from England to visit us in a couple of months.

The one thing they’ve said that they want to do, is shoot every gun I own while they are here. So, I’m going to teach them to shoot. That’s teaching them valuable survival skills. Whether or not they use them is up to them, but at least they’ll have the skills.

The thing is, if they were going to be with me in a survival situation, I’d want them to be able to shoot. So, spending the time and money to help them learn, doing something that they think is fun, simply makes sense.

So what if a have to spend a few bucks on ammunition, it’s worth it.

Get Them the Gear

A moment ago, I said that your family might not be as excited about you giving them survival gear and supplies as a gift. I’m not going back on that. But there’s nothing that says you can’t give them the survival gear and something that they’ll like as well.

I’ve given all my (adult) kids emergency kits to keep in the trunks of their cars. I’ve also given them various small pieces of survival gear as stocking stuffers every year. In doing so, I’m getting them a little closer to being prepared. But I also give them other things, that I know they want, so that it’s not just about giving them what I think they should have.

Of course, there’s been a bit of that too. When one of my daughters got married, my wife and I gave them matching SigSauer 9mm pistols as their wedding gift. We knew that they would like that gift and we like the idea that they have something to defend themselves with.

My other daughter and her husband like the great outdoors, so we’ve been giving them things for camping and enjoying as a family. It just so happens that those gifts also have a survival use, so if something happens and they need to survive, they’ll have something to use.

I’ve already told them that I need to borrow their daughter’s backpack, before she starts school, so that I can install a ballistic panel into it.

Get Them Involved

I said something earlier about avoiding the drama. I’ve always tried to do that. Yes, prepping is a big deal and if we are ever faced with another disaster we have to survive, that will be a big deal too. But that doesn’t mean I have to make it a big deal before the fact. All that will do is alienate people who I need to get on-board.

My softer approach has gotten everyone in my family involved in prepping. Not just my kids and their spouses, but my mother, my sister and my wife’s sister’s family. We’re all in this together. It has taken time, but bit by bit, I’ve gotten them involved.

There are many interesting things in prepping; things that can even interest the non-prepper. When I started building my own solar panels, that attracted interest. Then when I decided to build a wind turbine, that caught the eye of both of my sons-in-law. I built a well drill and my son jumped in to help me; not only building the drill, but drilling the well too.

Gradually, they’ve all been bitten by the prepping bug. It has taken time, but thank the Lord, we’ve had that time. Now, I don’t have to just depend on what I’ve got here in my home, to take care of my family, they’re starting to get with the program too.

This is actually easier with younger children, than it is with older ones. My grandchildren are already interested in my garden, the chicken coop, the bee hive and a host of other things I’m doing as part of prepping.

They think it’s great to get to check for eggs in the morning and give the chickens more feed to eat. They enjoy harvesting vegetables from the garden, and getting their hands all dirty while they’re at it. They’ve become involved.

To kids, whatever you do is normal. If your family is a family of preppers, then that’s normal to them. They will naturally think that everyone else is too; to the point of being surprised when they find out that they are not.

But you don’t have to tell those kids that you’re prepping. In fact, you don’t want to. Just let them believe that this is the way you live. That’s enough. What they don’t know, they can’t tell anyone else. so they won’t end up becoming a problem for your OPSEC.

When Will Your Family Be Ready?

Let me wrap this up by saying something you may not like. That is, your family is never going to be fully ready for a disaster. There’s really no such thing as being totally ready. Part of that is because none of us know what disasters we’re going to face.

All you can do is work on getting ready and getting your family ready, hoping that when the time comes, you will be ready enough.

Real life isn’t like an adventure story. You can be sure that when the time comes, you’ll find that there are key items you didn’t stockpile. But with enough training, you’ll be able to overcome that lack and still find a way to do everything you need to do.

So don’t worry; just do the best you can. That goes for your family as well. Don’t worry about how ready they are or how much on-board they are. Just do whatever you can to get them ready. The rest will happen, when it need to happen, whenever that might be.

Written by

Bill White is the author of Conquering the Coming Collapse, and a former Army officer, manufacturing engineer and business manager. More recently, he left the business world to work as a cross-cultural missionary on the Mexico border. Bill has been a survivalist since the 1970s, when the nation was in the latter days of the Cold War. He had determined to head into the Colorado Rockies, should Washington ever decide to push the button. While those days have passed, the knowledge Bill gained during that time hasn’t. He now works to educate others on the risks that exist in our society and how to prepare to meet them. You can send Bill a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.

Latest comments
  • I still face the same problems with grown children & grandchildren. One granddaughter with 2 small kids told me “Thinking about it scares me”. And, of course, some have moved out of the area so I can’t expect them to make it home in a dire emergency. Some do prep, at least on a small scale and yes, they think Grandma is crazy.

  • I, too face the same problem with “unprepared” family members, although I gave my daughter a “pre-made” go bag, but added to it for her. My oldest son and granddaughter are prepared, although his significant other thinks we are “crazy.” Ask her what happened when the lights went out, she was glad that bag with the flashlights was where she could get it.

  • I Tried to order The Lost Ways & the other three books for $37.00 +s&h using VISA…not accepted!! That’s all I’ve got..What gives?