Naturally, some of that experience has faded from my mind and we have mostly returned to the normalcy of life as it was before April 27, 2011. I am more careful to keep a little cash on hand, tucked away in a drawer, I know where all the flashlights, candles, and lighters are in my house, and I am more intentional about keeping a supply of simple, ready-to-eat food in our pantry. Many of us around here get a little more stressed about the weather than we did a year ago, but in general, we just know how lucky we were last April and we will never stop being thankful for that.
TheSurvivalMom blog, which I had not heard of before reading this book. Like the book, there is some good information to be found, but you might have to sort through a lot to find what applies to your family.
I am, admittedly, not a preparer. When the girls were babies, I was not the mom with the gigantic diaper bag stuffed with every item we might possibly need. More often, I was the mom with the baby wearing a too-small onesie because I had forgotten to change out the spare set of clothes for 4-5 months. My babies rarely needed a public diaper change (that avoidance of public restrooms starts early, apparently!), but if they did, the diapers were likely in the car--meaning a trek back out to the parking lot for someone. I have not always been this way, but as an adult, I am pretty laid-back and I have learned the value of choosing not to worry about things that are absolutely beyond my control.
In short, I'm pretty much the opposite of these survivalist moms.
To be fair, they are doing SO much more than worrying about all the possibly scenarios and are, in fact, preparing for them so that they WILL have some control in the direst of situations. But do I see myself raising chickens in the backyard, stocking a safe room, and learning to grind my own wheat so that I will have a food supply in case of devastating events? Not quite.
Again, there is some very good information to be found in Survival Mom, especially if you are a preparer or maybe even a worrier by nature (the idea being that you can do something to prepare yourself, rather than just imagining worst-case scenarios). I particularly like the idea of a Grab-n-Go binder--a notebook filled with copies of each family member's birth certificate, Social Security cards, vital medical information, debit and credit card information, etc. I admit that I don't keep up with those things as well as I should, and if something were to happen to me, I am not sure Jeremy would know where to start. We live in a fairly mild climate, but I also realize that it would be wise to have an emergency kit in the car at all times, especially considering that we have young children.
I also like the information about gun safety, especially regarding kids. I stand somewhat in the middle on the gun issue in general, but I do believe that knowing how to handle and operate firearms is an important skill to have and can make a woman feel less intimidated by guns. Due to Jeremy's job, there is not really a choice in the matter--we will have guns in the house and he will usually be carrying one concealed when we are in public. Though all firearms are kept far out of the girls' reach, I have already realized the value in doing just as Bedford advocates, being upfront about what a gun is and emphasizing that it should never be handled by small hands. My girls know that their daddy has guns for work, but I think they already realize that those items are off-limits to them, no questions asked. As they grow and become more curious, I again agree with Bedford in that letting them learn a little about guns and all the safety measures involved is probably safer than just continuing to hide them and say "Those are not for you". How much curiosity does a strictly off-limits item incite in a child? A lot! The gun issue is one that resounded with me because it is something we will have to deal with eventually.
In reading this book, I came away with maybe a little bit of an increased awareness of all the things I need to think about to keep my family safe. But I also realized that I am grateful for one kind of security I do have--my eternal security. In the case of a natural disaster or other catastrophe, of course I want to do everything within my human power to protect my family. Are we under-prepared for a test of our "survival skills"? Oh yes, and there are some simple things I can do to change that. But if we are talking the end of the world or a devastating EMP (do NOT click that link if you are a worrier. Really, DON'T.), why would I want us all to stay here and suffer instead of rushing with open arms to my heavenly home? Ultimately, I am not terrified of death because I know what is waiting for me after it: an eternity of peace and bliss. Speaking about some critics of the survivalist mentality, Bedford says, "Those of us who believe in preparedness, whether beginners or veterans, know the frustration of trying to convince loved ones that the future is not at all secure." Is my earthly future secure? Nope. There are all kinds of trials to be faced here. But my ultimate, eternal future? Because of Jesus Christ, that future is absolutely secure.
Again, I stress that there is good information to be found here, and I think there is a lot of value in being prepared for everyday emergencies. (During the power outage last year, the most reliable source of light in our house was provided by the girls' Toy Story flashlight. I am happy to report that we have now acquired a real, adult-sized flashlight, with batteries and everything!) As for me and my family, though, we also find value and comfort in the words of Jesus: So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:31-34)
Even though I did not agree with everything this book had to say, I am happy to have read it, as I enjoy hearing about lifestyles and ideas different from my own. For more reviews, check out TLC Book Tours.
Where do you fall on the survivalist/preparedness scale? Would you last longer than me?
*I received a copy of Survival Mom from the publisher for review through TLC Book Tours. My review consists of my honest thoughts and opinions on this book.