We all have them loved ones, be they family or close friends, who just don’t get prepping. They are reliant on the system and the infrastructure that is in place and they simply do not believe that any of it is vulnerable, that any of it could fail. If you go to them and talk to them about it, they just think you’ve watched one too many zombie apocalypse movie and that you need to get back to reality. Nothing is ever going to happen to our society or whatever will happen is so far in the future that it isn’t an issue right now.
As preppers, we know the potential danger to our way of life is very real. We might be able to sway some loved ones, but there will be those, perhaps the ones closest to us, that just won’t budge. These are the people we want to protect, but who won’t do anything to protect themselves. After unsuccessfully attempting to talk them into prepping, it is time to help them in such subtle ways that they aren’t even aware of it.
Talking to Loved Ones
Since I mentioned talking to loved ones about prepping, perhaps we should start here. You won’t even know whether or not they are open to it if you don’t talk to them about it. The key to talking to loved ones about prepping is to not bring all the doom and gloom into it. Don’t just throw it all at them in one fell swoop. Start small and start with a real-world and relevant example of why they need to be prepared. Get them to create their 72-hour kit. If they argue with that, you have plenty of backup from the authorities, all of whom say every family needs a 72-hour kit.
Once you have the family onboard with this, you can then push them a little farther. Talk about a recent weather event during which the power was out for days. If you live in the northeast, this shouldn’t be a problem. Just bring up the ice storm of 2014, during which the power was out for as long as two weeks in some places. Tell them you are concerned that type of event will happen again and convince them to extend their preps to ensure they are warm and comfortable for at least a couple of weeks.
You can keep talking to your family, subtly getting them to push the boundaries of their preps, but ultimately, you might not be able to convince them to keep prepping beyond that major weather event. After all, why would they? As soon as you go beyond credible natural disasters, they might become more resistant. They might want you to stop talking about it. You do not want to push them away, so this is when you have to take their prepping into your own hands – sort of.
Prepping on the Down-Low
When you can’t talk your loved ones into prepping for anything more than the next big ice storm or hurricane, you need to go about things a little more subtly. Rather than telling them they need to prep or trying to instill fear in them about what might happen in the near future, don’t talk about it at all, but instead stock up extra for them and try to help them learn skills that will benefit them in the long-term. Here are a few tips to follow when prepping for loved ones that don’t want to prep.
If you have loved ones that refuse to prepare for long-term hardship, then you have to make a decision. Are these people who, when the SHTF, would come to you for help? Are they people who are close enough to you that you would take them in when disaster strikes, even though they did not prepare?
Some preppers have family members that they have blatantly told, you can prep with us, but if you don’t and you show up at my door with nothing, I will turn you away. Then they have family members and loved ones that they would help no matter what, such as a spouse, parents, adult children, and childhood friends.
Essentially, you will need to decide who you are willing to stock extra for, even if you don’t get their financial or physical help. Choose the people who matter the most to you, who you really feel you need to look after. Then you include those people in your numbers when you stock food, water, medical supplies, and anything else that is required.
If you are prepping for parents that won’t participate, then you need to consider their medical needs, particularly if they are older and take medications, need specialized equipment, or have mobility issues.
You can get your loved ones prepared for hard times by helping them learn useful skills. You can casually ask them if they want to learn a martial art or how to make candles. You can choose something you can do together and use it as a way to bond.
Take your family camping and get them outdoors where they can learn many of the skills they will need when society collapses, such as starting a fire, identifying wild edible plants, and building a shelter. Start a family garden that you can all work on together. Take a family member to the shooting range with you. Once they get a chance to fire a .22, they might just fall in love with shooting and want to learn the skill.
If you can’t convince your loved ones to learn a skill with you, you can still go ahead and learn these skills on your own or with those who will participate. Do it out in the open. Show your loved ones the results of what you have been doing.
They might pick up on some basics, and when you produce results, it might pique their interest enough that they want to be involved. At the very least you might help them find one or two new hobbies that they will enjoy, but that will also become a valuable skill they might need in bad times.
If you have loved ones who do not believe prepping for bad times is a necessity, you can always help them prepare under the guise of gift-giving. Christmas and birthdays are great opportunities to give someone something that will be useful to them in rough times. A Swiss army knife, compass, flashlight, LifeStraw, and other small items make great stocking-stuffers. Get your parents a portable propane or kerosene heater.
Make sure they have a full First Aid Kit and an emergency kit for the car. Give them good outdoor clothes and shoes for the holidays or make them up a bug-out bag and give it as a gift. It will show them how serious you are and how committed you are to their safety and well-being.
If you want to be more subtle with the gift-giving, then you can give them extra of what you know they love. Give the coffee drinker in your life six months’ worth of coffee.
Give them a case of a type of food they love, something that will last a long time. Give the gardener vegetable seeds or a couple of fruit trees for the backyard garden. These are gifts they will appreciate in all their innocence while you are crossing things off your list.
Here is a list of some other great gifts for the non-preppers on your list:
- Oil lamps
- An emergency radio
- A good-quality wool blanket
- A high-quality watch that includes features such as a thermometer, compass, and barometer
- A fishing kit
- Solar chargers
- A high-quality flashlight
- A multi-tool
- A gravity water filter
- Plant growing kit
- Solar lights for the yard
- Good winter outdoor clothing
- Good rain gear
Make Your Life an Example
At the very least, you can make your life an example for your loved ones. No one responds well to being preached to, but they do respond to seeing the benefits of how someone else lives their life.
Go about your prepping and make it obvious in whatever ways possible how your preps and learned skills are benefiting you. When you do that, you might just have loved ones come to you one day out of the blue and ask you to help them get prepared.
Dan’s Note: Take Them Hiking
Taking your family out into the nature is a great way not just to build some skills (making camp, gathering wood, starting a fire etc.) but also to get them to respect Mother Nature a little more. This way, they’ll better understand what she’s capable of.
Most of all, when it comes to prepping, both on your own and with your loved ones, keep it light and fun! It is incredibly satisfying to see a stocked pantry. It is also incredibly satisfying and fun to learn a new skill and get better at it.
You can turn what you are doing into a game or into some family time on the weekend. You can get outside and create something that will ensure everyone is happy and relaxed. They will be learning important skills even if they don’t realize it and you can rest easier knowing they are at least partly prepared.
An urban prepper and rural wannabe, Karen has been working as a freelance writer for a decade and prepping for about half that time. She has gathered a wealth of knowledge on preparing for SHTF, but there is always more to learn and she has a passion for gathering and sharing that knowledge with other like-minded folk. Karen lives in London, Canada with her two children and plethora of cats.