At times it can be difficult to explain to your children of family members how important prepping and being prepared is. With the world the way it is today, and all the different potentially catastrophic scenarios we face, we know we can’t afford to sit around with our fingers crossed, but how do we convey that to our loved ones? How do you explain the importance of a situation to someone, so they understand it?
Have you ever gotten that condescending stare from your children when you try to explain why you have so much food and water stored? I have. Sometimes the looks you get from teenagers can drive you nuts because it feels like you are talking to a brick wall, or you get “the blank stare” which basically means they are only listening to you because they must, and they’re probably not listening at all.
The principals of getting someone’s buy in do not just apply to family and prepping, these principles can be applied in business or your personal life as well. It’s important to remember that not everyone thinks the same way we do, and we need to take that into account while speaking to them.
Basically, we need to take a look at ourselves and “teach ourselves” before we can effectively teach our loved ones to become more involved in prepping and preparing for their future. We need to try and understand “why we do what we do.” Why we get so frustrated when they don’t see things the way we see them, something that concerns us like our governments over spending might not be a concern for them.
SPP259 Getting the Family Onboard with Prepping
While there is not exact blueprint to get your family on boar with prepping, there are some things you can do to increase your odds. This week Lisa and I talked about some ways we can bring up the subject of preparedness with our family, and hopefully get some buy in.
We Are the Authors of Our Own Frustration
As Capt. Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean) said “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”
When we let external situations determine the choices we make, we get frustrated, and frustration shapes our behavior. When we get frustrated, without even knowing it we are giving our children control over us (they are good at this by the way.)
A child’s field of experience is much different than ours, and when your young you believe you’re invincible. Children don’t understand what losing a job or supporting a family is like because they have never had to. They don’t understand that we could lose everything in an instant and our lives could be turned upside down. They don’t understand because they don’t have to. Everything is provided for them (like some of the entitleists today.)
Here is an example: let’s say I tell my 8 year old son that he needs to put his shoes where they go and not to just leave them lying around the house. Then he proceeds to throw them across the room towards the front door, where the rest of us put our shoes. Here comes the frustration! I proceed to tell him what the rules are, how we don’t throw stuff around the house, how I pay the bills and do the cleaning and maintenance. Do you think he really cares or understands why I am frustrated? Nope! Because he is 8 he has a completely different outlook on life than I do, he doesn’t care about bills, he just knows the lights work.
But because I got frustrated I lost sight of my main goal “put your shoes by the door” and started yelling about how lazy that was. I ended up getting into a debate with an 8 year old. If I had chosen my attitude and made a conscious decision to not “freak out” in the beginning, I probably could have explained my perspective or “spoke to his listening” a little better.
We control our outlook; we control how we choose to react. Until we make a conscious decision to not let frustration control our actions and approach the situation with a different mindset, we will probably keep doing the same thing over and over.
Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity is exactly that: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
We probably need to take a step back and ask ourselves…
- Am I speaking to their listening?
- Am I letting my frustration determine my actions?
- Have I been consistent?
Speaking to Their Listening
As I said before, you need to speak to their listening meaning your loved ones need to understand what it is that you’re trying to explain. When you begin to understand how to effectively talk to them, the response you get could completely surprise you.
By explaining the “why” and speaking their language you help them connect the dots and hopefully have that “Ah Ha” moment you have been waiting for. Just as a child doesn’t understand how paying monthly bills affects all other decisions, your spouse may not understand your urgency with prepping.
Finding common interests is a great way to speak to their listening. If your loved one likes the outdoors or DIY projects, use that to your advantage. If your family member likes to clean, organize and plan, talk about how they could help in that aspect of prepping.
Whether you are talking about children or spouses, being consistent is very important. Not being consistent with trying to get them interested in preparedness, because some people would consider that pestering them.
Rather, be consistent with what you do, and how you approach preparedness. You are more likely to get buy in if they know this is something that is not just a passing phase. If children are allowed to be as messy as they want, and then all the sudden you yell at them about cleaning their room, they are not going to take you seriously.
The same holds true for prepping. You can talk about how important food storage is, but if you don’t keep up with it, they will wonder why it’s so important. After all, if you don’t care why should they.
Habits and Associations
Not all habits are bad, habits help us get through our everyday routines, could you imagine if we had to think about everything we did before we could do it? How long would your morning routine take if you had to consciously walk yourself through it?
Take driving to work for example, have you ever noticed that you have driven for 30 minutes and you were basically on auto pilot? Have you ever been going to the store and took a left turn because you were so used to taking that same turn every day to go to work? I know I have.
It’s a little frightening to think about sometimes, especially when you look out your driver’s side window and see Grandma Betty driving with her head buried in the steering wheel and you think “great… I’m screwed.”
Our brains fill in the blanks for us, we can’t afford to think about every step it takes for us to brush our teeth, or every action we take driving to work because we would never make it if we did.
Associations develop into habits and habits streamline our everyday lives. When I think of the word survival, I associate it with supplies, off the grid, bugging out, government. But your child might associate survival with something like getting through another day of school, or their girlfriend breaking up with them etc. It only takes us 21 days to create a habit, but it takes months of continued repetition to break that habit.
How Does This Apply to Prepping?
Although as humans we can read between the lines surprisingly well, we can’t take this approach when it comes to teaching or explaining our point of view. If you don’t try to fill in the blanks and just hope for the best, I can almost guarantee that you will not be pleased with the results. If we make the conscious decision to speak to their listening and explain the “why” you will have a much better shot at conveying our message clearly.
We fall into the trap of thinking our loved ones make associations like we do, think like us, and have the same cares and concerns as us. As we speak to anyone, we need to put ourselves in their shoes and ask ourselves “how can I explain this in a way that they will understand?”
We know the importance of being prepared for any life changing event and I believe it is our job to get our loved ones on board as well. If this is done in the wrong way we could actually push them further away rather than help them to see that the problems we are talking about are very real.
Everyone is Different
We have talked about this in a few different podcasts, but how you approach a subject all depends on that person’s personality. If someone is very timid, you may not want to start the conversation out with nuclear bombs and gas masks. On the other hand, if someone is very analytical and structured, talking about planning, tactics and operations might be something that peaks their interest.
We also need to consider how good they are at processing information. This means some handle smaller “bite sized” tasks better, and some people just want everything laid out on the table. Each person is different, and how we approach a subject could be the different between success and failure.
The Long Game
Finally, remember that getting someone interested in preparedness is not usually something that happens overnight. It may take some time for that lightbulb to go off in someone’s head, so make sure and take your successes where you can get them.
While there are some things we can (and should) do during this process, the end goal should be having them be a contributing member to the team. It’s much easier to become better prepared when you have the whole family (or at least the parents) working towards the end goal.