I’ve run across a lot of people over the years who were carrying the prepping burden alone. What I mean by that is that they are the lone prepper in their families. Rather than the rest of the family pitching in and participating, they just put up with the prepper, thinking that he or she is a little bit off.
But when a disaster comes, the family will really be glad for that lone prepper. Unfortunately, those feelings might not be reciprocated. When you consider the lone prepper will be the only one in the family who has any idea of what to do, it’s not going to work out well for the family. Either that one person is going to have to do everything necessary for the family to survive, or everyone else is going to have to learn quickly.
Personally, I think it’s best when a family preps together. Even if your spouse and kiddies aren’t 100% on board with everything that you’re doing, they should be a part of it. More than anything, they need to be learning the skills necessary for survival.
You can actually begin teaching those skills to your children quite young. In the pioneering days, children as young as 10 were given the responsibility of tending the home’s fire, feeding livestock, gathering eggs and hunting for the family’s meat. If kids could do those tasks back then, why can’t they do them today? The only difference is training.
I started fishing when I was small enough that I don’t remember and hunting when I was 12. I would have started hunting before then, but in the state that I lived, you couldn’t get a hunter’s safety certificate until you were 12 years old. I took the test for mine on my 12th birthday. But before then, I had learned how to shoot, as well as a lot of practical hunting skills.
Part of this was because my dad was a great outdoorsman. We went camping regularly, where I learned to set up a camp, build a shelter out of natural materials and start a fire. By the time I started studying survival for real, I already knew many important survival techniques.
You can do the same with your kids. Most love going camping, fishing and even hunting. Getting your kids out in nature is a wonderful way of augmenting their general education, as well as teaching them valuable survival skills. You can take the time to build a shelter or to build snares, rather than just going out and camping department store style, where everything you use came from some store or another.
Kids actually find learning these skills fun and will brag to their friends about what they’ve done. It doesn’t matter if you’re teaching them to shoot or to build a fire, they’ll want to share that with their friends. So, it’s important how you teach your kids. Try to avoid using the terms “prepper” and “survivalist” around them. Instead, just say that you’re teaching them some useful skills or that you’re teaching them how the mountain men did it.
If you tie your survival training in with some lessons from history, they’ll quickly accept that as the cover story. In turn, that’s the story they’ll tell their friends, especially if you can include some interesting or even gross details about history. Mountain men alone give you plenty of opportunities for that.
The other thing that’s important to teach your children is OPSEC (operational security). This can be extremely tricky, as children don’t keep secrets well. To them, a secret is only valuable when it’s shared with someone. So, they’ll tell their friends, admonishing them not to tell anyone else. You can easily see where that leads.
Even so, it is possible to teach your children that some things shouldn’t be shared, especially the things that your family is doing to be prepared. You can make this easier for them, by helping them out with a good cover story, just like I mentioned with the survival training. All I’m saying is to expand that idea to other areas of your prepping that your children are aware of.
Never assume that your children don’t know what you’re doing. Children are amazingly perceptive at times; especially when we don’t want them to know what we’re doing. It’s generally better to be open with them, than to lie. But if you’re going to be open, you’ve got to make sure that you help them keep the secret. That means teaching them OPSEC and helping them out with cover stories. A good cover story will alleviate the temptation to tell what you are doing, by giving them something else to say.
One last point I’d like to make. That is, your children not only need to learn the survival skills you’re going to teach them, they also need to learn where your stockpile is and what’s in it. I realize that’s risky, but if something happens to you, they will need those supplies. Hiding that information from them can have dire consequences; ones that none of us want to face.
Once again, there will be a temptation to share that secret. In this case, making it seem like it’s just a part of life and not really a secret might be the way to proceed. If your children think that the food you have in the basement is just something normal, then it won’t be a secret and there won’t be any temptation for them to share that secret.
So, teach your children to keep their powder dry and their survival equipment close at hand. Let them emulate you and their survival will be guaranteed.