Nearly a year ago I wrote a post at ModernSurvivalOnline.com titled Sorry, Bob. Go Die Somewhere Else. In it I contemplated the dilemma of what to do if you have relatives and/or friends that show up at your door TEOTWAWKI+1 expecting you to care for them because they had no preparations of their own. It actually got quite a bit of commenting at the time and maybe even stirred a few feelings among readers.
Since that time, I’ve done a lot of reflecting on the topic. I think I’ve softened a bit since then. Anyway, for some reason I got to remembering that post recently and, as a result, it also got me to thinking about what I can (or should) do for family members who do not live nearby that I would want to help. In particular, my parents live about four hours from me. For as long as I have been prepping they have been considered a long-range bug out location for my family if the need ever arose. Of course, reciprocity goes without saying.
Needless to say, my parents are not as “into preparedness” as I am. That’s normal and expected of most retired folks; I think many people get to a point where they figure life will be how it will be and that’s just the way it is. Obviously, I don’t agree and would like to up their level of preparedness from essentially nothing to something.
During a recent stay with my parents (enjoying lake life with my boys) I started asking my dad about their water. After some probing I found out their home (and a few dozen others) shared a community well that filled several storage bladders–it’s amazing what you can learn if you just ask. I probed further and asked who managed the station, though I never did ask what they might do if the water stopped flowing. He didn’t seem interested in talking much more about it. Since they live next to the lake they could always tap that resource, but I don’t see my parents lugging buckets of water to their house for long. Besides, it’s dirty lake water that I wouldn’t want them drinking unless they had no other choice.
There are an assortment of other concerns, including food, medications, lighting, etc. The normal stuff. The thing is that I’m not trying to get them to a level of sufficiency where they’re raising chickens; Neither do I ever expect them to start canning or buying bulk foods. I do, however, want to them to be prepared enough to not be as screwed as everyone else should a significant disaster strike their area.
To do so wouldn’t take much effort. A decently stocked pantry, stored water, extra lights, batteries and so on. Medications are probably the biggest issue. As with all non-preppers, it’s the mindset that needs to change. I’m afraid that they’re just too set in their ways to change on their own. Normally, I would never force the pepping issue with any family or friends. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life it’s that people are only likely to adopt a different point of view (yours) when THEY want to change, not when YOU want them to.
Sadly, as with most parent/child relationships, ours has always been a one-way street: they give, I take. Whether that be financial support (like college), advice, or knowledge. I know my parents will listen to me more as I get older (and wiser?) but I just don’t see them changing their ways… they’re having too much fun!
As a result, I think there’s only one option left: do it for them. I hadn’t actually contemplated that possibility until my recent stay. I know I have some extra supplies that I keep around just in case I need them, though it seems I can never have enough extra supplies these days. Maybe I should evolve our relationship a bit and be the giver this time? It wouldn’t hurt me much to show up with a storage bin of lanterns, water filters, batteries, and the like. I just wonder what they’ll say about it, “thanks” or “no thanks”.