Last week, I wrote a post about what you may want to tell your children about the reasons you have decided to prepare. I only touched briefly on the topic of fear, so I wanted to give that some more attention here.
There are a lot of unsettling things in the news these days. Some rate more as bothersome invasions of privacy (like TSA patdowns and strip-searches) and some could make a person lose sleep (like how far Iran may be from deploying nuclear missiles against the US). How we handle this information and how we relay it to our children is worth examining.
No “One Size Fits All” Approach
Depending on our personality types and our levels of awareness, we may have tendencies to react in certain ways. For example, when some people are told they “can’t” do something, it will spur them to prove the speaker wrong. Others may be more prone to giving up and accepting another’s judgment without trying. Considering the personality types of those around you may help you to know how to approach them about certain topics.
Fear is not a nice place to live. It can be a useful survival instinct, but it is not an emotion we want to live with constantly. For some people, it is almost mentally paralyzing rather than motivating. So rather than having your loved ones (especially children) constantly watching for the sky to fall, you’d probably rather they think in healthier, problem-solving kinds of ways.
When we have talked to our children, we have tried to be careful to present what we do as a way of avoiding fear and panic in any circumstance. For example- the power may go out because of ice on the power lines? No problem- we have a wood-burning stove and propane heat back-up. A virulent strain of flu is making rounds quickly through the community? It’s okay, we don’t have to leave home and expose ourselves because we have food, water, medicine, etc. for months if need be.
How are you handling your concerns?
This doesn’t apply only to children. Adults can really struggle with worry too. It’s not healthy for us to live under self-imposed stress either.
I remember times when I became aware of an area we had not yet prepared for and how I would have brief periods of anxiety about getting that area addressed. Since they were things that were very concerning to me, I had to be careful to only discuss them with Joe in private. Children absorb a lot more than we think and will become worried and scared if they perceive their providers/protectors are worried and scared.
A fellow prepping friend of mine told me about something that had happened in her family that I think illustrates this well. She said she went into a grocery store once with her younger son. As they approached the back of the store, he noticed the refrigerated cases were dark and empty. The cases were just broken and the food had been removed, but he drew a very different conclusion.
His eyes got wide and immediately, in a terrified voice, he asked her if “it” had happened. She didn’t understand his question or why he looked so alarmed. He pointed to the cases and asked if the grocery store was running out of food- should they get as many things as they can and hurry home?
Until that point, my friend did not realize how worried she had been and how the kids had obviously picked up on every concern she and her husband had discussed.
Easier Said Than Done
Sure, it’s easy to tell someone else not to worry or be fearful. And you can know in that rational part of your head that it is not a healthy or happy way to live. It’s so much harder in practice though. Adults have adult concerns. If the office grapevine says lay-offs are imminent, it sure is hard not to feel some anxiety about whether our names are on the chopping block. The mortgage has to be paid. The kids have gotten really used to eating 3 meals a day.
I don’t have a panacea for this since I struggle with my own concerns. The ones that plague me the most are the things I have absolutely no power over, yet it’s hard to just write them off and let them go.
The best advice I can give in this area is just to be aware of your thinking and how it’s impacting you and others. Try to find balance. When I’ve struggled, sometimes it has helped to look at the list of things we have accomplished and focus on those. We don’t have a greenhouse- well, we do have plenty of open-pollinated seeds. We haven’t found a like-minded physician to help us stockpile medicines- well, we have been to the Medical Corps training class and gotten some more knowledge and practice.
I’d love to hear from you about how you keep things in perspective and avoid worry and fear. Please comment if you have some suggestions or experiences to share.