My youngest daughter surprised me the other night (as she often does) with a short story that she had written. She loves to write and does this all the time. One of her favorite things to buy with her allowance money is journals. Journals with frogs on them. Leather journals that look worn and old like something straight out of Indiana Jones. Journals that are pink and girly with eyeballs that slide around when you shake them. She must have 50 journals all over the house, possibly outside and definitely in the car, filled with short stories, notes to herself, drawings of princesses in ornate costumes and fantastic inventions she has plans to one day build. In this short story however, the subject surprised me a bit. It was about me and Prepping.
It isn’t like we hide our plans for survival or preparations for emergencies from our children. They are most definitely involved and aware of our views about being self-sufficient and the importance of being prepared for any emergency that may come up. We try to find opportunities to tie in the concepts we know are important in normal day-to-day activities and easily talk about prepping as though it is second nature. This is not something she had to write for school, she just came out to the computer, sat down and quickly typed her thoughts out. I read what she had written and immediately knew that I wanted to share this on the blog. I will explain why in a minute.
Here is what she wrote:
Being a daughter of a Prepper is very interesting; the civil talk at dinner about how to kill zombies who try to eat your brains is very good for my appetite. Going downstairs for a cup of water at night listening to dad and mom talking about how one day we might have to live in a cramped space 450 feet underground.
I guess you could say it works out well, dad wakes up (6:00 am) eats breakfast and waits for about an hour before mom wakes up and says goodbye. I wake up, eat cereal go do school and so on. But at night, mom sends me up to bed and dad turns to the TV to watch Doomsday Preppers as if his life depended on it. I just shrug my shoulders and hop up the stairs in my pink polka dot pajamas trying to rid my brain of all the talk over dinner.
What is even better is when me and dad go the store I ask him, “What if you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?” In my head I picture him buying all sorts of cool stuff like golf carts and iPads and board games, instead he says, “I would buy a lot of land and some more food for our pantry!” Then he gives me a sardonic smile and we pull into the grocery store parking lot. Really? I say to myself, really? Of all the things he could buy but no, he has to buy canned corn! I know that he just wants us to be safe if something does happen but until then I will hop upstairs in my pink polka dot pajamas, wondering why canned food is his new best friend.
In case it didn’t come out in her writing, my daughter is dramatic with a capital D and likes to embellish like any kid her age. I pulled a couple of themes out of this story that struck me though and wanted to share them with you.
She understands she can talk about prepping with us.
This may seem simplistic, but I want our children to always be able to come to us and freely discuss anything that is on their mind. Prepping is something that we do as a family and try to involve others in. She’s right when she says we talk about prepping at the dinner table, but zombies rarely come up. Only because my kids already know how to kill them quickly… There, now that I have that out of my system let me state for the record that I don’t really believe we will ever be overrun by the horde of Mutant Zombie bikers but we can use that as a device to get my children engaged and talking about the “what if” scenarios. It sounds more exciting to a child than a snow storm. Being able to talk to your children about subjects that may be uncomfortable to some is a huge advantage and I would rather my children ask me all of the questions they have about any potential emergency now while we can calmly discuss it than when the actual chaos is going on.
She knows what our priorities are.
In my daughters perfect world we would never move from the house she has always known although we would get granite counter tops. (I blame one too many episodes of HGTV for that one) and everyone would have golf carts to drive and iPads to listen to our music or play games on. Nothing would change but everyone would get nicer stuff. I think that is perfectly normal for a child.
Children want security and derive comfort from stability. This house and her friends and our little kitchen is all that she has ever known. She knows that I want something different for her though and she understands why. She knows that while granite counter tops might be nice that her Dad is looking for a location that will keep them safer and storing food so they won’t go hungry if a storm comes along and we can’t get out for a week. We might be eating off paper plates on good old laminate counters but her parents have a bigger plan for her life. In that small way I think it helps her to keep some things in perspective and gives her another layer of security. She knows I think that Mom and Dad are worried about the bigger picture and that she doesn’t have to.
She gets that we are primarily concerned about her safety.
“I know that he wants us to be safe if something does happen” is about as simple as it gets. My number one duty in life is to take care of my family. As parents we don’t require any thanks for that, but knowing that my family understands what I am trying to do is a great big pat on the back. Even if it is used as another easy set up for her to talk about her beloved “pink polka dot pajamas” that’s fine with me. My daughter knows that no matter what she says about her dad to get laughs, that deep down all of the “crazy” stuff he is doing it to try and keep her safe. Was it always like this? Honestly, no. I had to slowly bring my family around and it took a good bit of time, but now we are all on board with the idea and having a family that is going in the same direction puts us all in better shape if things go bad.
Just some observations from a daughters story that I wanted to share with you.