The biggest challenge you will face as a survivalist isn’t external, it’s actually living right in your home. It’s your family. Your partner, and your kids. Because far too often, they just don’t see the world the same way you do. You want to prepare for the worst, while they’re simply enjoying the ride, almost blinded to the risks we’re all facing in modern-day America.
Getting your family excited about survival is critical for successful survival planning, because they are your core team. You don’t want your kids ruining your OPSEC by bragging about things at school, and you don’t want your preps and investments to be the sparking point for another fight. To survive, your family needs to be on the same page.
Here’s how you can ignite the survival bug in your family.
Bring it back to reality
Be honest with me here, but I’m willing to bet your journey to survival didn’t start off an a hundred-miles an hour furiously preparing for a global crisis like a solar flare or EMP attack.
Right? It probably started much smaller, and with time, and as you learnt more, did you get so concerned. Your family is going to need to go through this process too. They can’t just jump in the deep end, you need to ease them into it.
My advice? Turn on the news and start a conversation around something real, something that’s happened and that could potentially happen to you. Was there a minor earthquake?
Perhaps that’s a scary thing, what would we have done if that hit our town? Or if it damaged the house, if we had to run outside right now, would we have everything we needed to spend the night in a motel? Why don’t we throw a simple overnight bag together? Just a change of clothes and some toiletries, and perhaps a couple of other things. Could you think of anything that would be good to include?
Be gentle, and take baby steps. Getting them to think about real situations, ones seated in the reality we see on the news every day, and you may be able to start getting through.
Inspire a love for the outdoors
Family camping trips are one of my favorite things in my family, but there’s a method to my madness. Not only does it help to get my family moving as we go on hikes, kayaking and exploring the world around us, my whole family has grown to love the outdoors.
My kids now will pack their own kits, know what to take (and what not to), and are far more comfortable at the thought of spending a couple of nights under the stars than they were when we first started these. Plus, they’ve picked up key survival skills along the way, from starting fires to building shelter, foraging wild edibles to hunting and fishing.
They may not be 100% ready to take on a crisis on their own, but there a damn sight more prepared than most other kids their age.
Sign up for a class or training
Yes, there’s survival schools all over the country, and if your kids are keen signing them up to classes is a good way to bring their skill levels up. From bush craft to urban survival skills, you can find training on almost everything, so long as they’re interested.
But what if they’re not?
Well, that’s where you need to think outside of the box. Perhaps a first-aid class would look great on their resume as they try to land their first job, and you can get them a little training this way. Or take them to the range and sign up for extra shooting classes.
My wife loves gardening, and saving money, and that was the angle I used to start becoming more reliant on what we grow, instead of store brought produce.
There’s more to survival than building shelters and living off the land, you just need to find an angle that gets your family members excited, so they can see the benefits from their own perspective.
Start a new hobby
On this same line of thinking comes finding the right hobbies. Consider what your kids and family may enjoy, and start looking into the different sports and activities that tap into that.
My kids have been doing martial arts for a couple of years now, and my wife loves it too. Which is great for me because I try to get to the boxing gym at least once a week, and it’s a whole lot more fun when my family is with me. Plus, it’s confidence building, and also helps out with keeping us all fit (and able to throw a decent punch).
Another we used to do was geocaching. My kids loved the thrill of tracking down a particular site and searching for the clues and it gave us an excuse to get them out of the house, learning to read maps, use a compass and GPS, as well as spotting potential hiding places for caches and other supplies. I’d highly recommend, especially if your kids are a little younger.
Around the home I also get the kids involved in whatever scheme I’ve cooked up for the day, they’ve helped everything from general household maintenance like changing taps and setting up our rainwater tanks, to making soap and their own candles. Just the knowledge and experience to do this is often enough to get them interested, and that’s a start.
When it comes to igniting the survival bug in your family, you need to remember to take it slow. It can’t be something you force on them, much like trying to light a fire on wet wood. You need to let it rest, let the wood dry out, and it’ll be much easier to start when it’s good and ready. Same goes for your family. Plant the seeds, and get them interested by tapping into hobbies and skill building activities they care about, not by forcing it on them.