Procrastinating the Day of Preparedness

(Cross-posted from my blog; for anybody wondering who Alma is that I reference at the bottom, it’s from a book of scripture from my religion—FYI)


photo credit: Michelle Cordes

Fancy televisions. 4-wheelers. Boats. Video game systems. Fancy clothing and jewelry. These and a slew of other material objects are some of the distractions by which people refuse to prepare themselves and their families for the storms on the horizon. In our culture of consumerism, instant gratification is a given; rarely do people acquire an adequate supply of goods to see them through troubled times.

This perpetual mode of procrastination has ill effects felt not only by those making such choices, but by those around them as well. Of course, those in this narrow state of mind do not even consider the consequences of their choices, let alone how they might affect others. Their focus on the here and now blinds them of any need to reflect on the future. A constant stream of entertainment pacifies them into a brain-numbing trance where, like the drug addict looking for the next fix, their cares take no thought of distant events.

Imagine: tomorrow, the coordinated rejection of the dollar by OPEC countries sparks a precipitous decline in its value. Runs on banks happen both in the traditional sense, and facilitated by the internet, in mere seconds at the computer. The bank’s servers crash, ATMs run out of the worthless paper, and the government responds by declaring a banking holiday. Stores stop accepting dollars, and, unable to use their credit/debit cards, impatient shoppers grow violent and simply loot the stores in sheer frustration and unsympathetic greed. Commerce grinds to a halt, store shelves are emptied, gasoline quickly disappears, and for the near and uncertain future, people are left to their own devices for survival.

In light of this example—one of any number of possibilities—consider your neighbor. He has a nice home, a couple of new cars, beautiful furniture, and the best home theater on the block. He and his family go on regular vacations and seem to always be out having fun. But he only has about a week of food in the pantry, no stored water, and no fuel reserve to speak of. In a split second, his many toys and possessions have become completely worthless. What will he do when his meager supply of food is exhausted?

While this neighbor spent years vacationing abroad and partying at home, you spent what little extra money you had working on your food storage. You bought the cheap line of clothing, rarely ate at restaurants, and didn’t even have cable TV. You spent your extra funds on the basic elements of a well-rounded preparedness supply, so that come what may, you’d be ready. After several years of dedicated effort and wise fiscal management, you were able to build up a year supply of food, water, fuel, medicine, and other needed items.

Your neighbor squandered away his income, choosing to entertain himself with baseless frivolity. Now, the law of harvest demands that he reaps what he sowed. And yet this justice—needful though it may be—is tempered by the mercy of those who have lived wisely and now can act, rather then be acted upon, to help those in need.

This presents a quandary, however. This fictitious neighbor of yours is likely representative to some degree of the majority of those in your neighborhood. If general statistics hold true where you live, then very few of your neighbors will have anything close to an adequate supply of important basics. Thus, your year supply would, if shared, quickly diminish to a supply of only a few weeks.

Those who choose to procrastinate their preparedness are not only poor spouses and parents, but they will one day become a heavy burden on those around them who refused to live this way. There are many who half-jokingly suggest that in times of crisis, they will go to a certain friend’s house who has a large supply of goods. An effective response to such stupidity is: “which of my children do you want to starve so that I can feed you?” Our neighbors must be made to understand that though I am their figurative keeper, I am not their supplier, nor am I their mother.

So, neighbor: sell your fancy television, your 4-wheelers, your boat, your video game system, and your fancy clothing and jewelry. Unencumber your life by ridding yourself of such wasteful tools of instant gratification, and be a provident provider for those entrusted to your care. Be an asset to your community, rather than a potential burden.

With apologies to Alma, I end with a twist to his plea:

…as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your preparedness until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for TEOTWAWKI, behold, if we do not lay up in store while in this period of bounty, then cometh the times of famine wherein there can be no new purchases.

6 Replies to “Procrastinating the Day of Preparedness”

  1. Good post I love this part “Your neighbor squandered away his income, choosing to entertain himself with baseless frivolity. Now, the law of harvest demands that he reaps what he sowed. And yet this justice—needful though it may be—is tempered by the mercy of those who have lived wisely and now can act, rather then be acted upon, to help those in need.” I would like to be able to “act” by being prepared and having a small stash set aside for sharing, and when that is gone, say sorry that's all I can do for you, the rest is for me and my family. Poor planning on your part does not equal starvation on my part.

  2. Thank you so much for this, I serve on our Stake Welfare Commitee and they keep telling me that in an emergency I will “get” to share with those who are less prepared and I keep telling them that no I will not, I by no means am super prepared (we are working on getting there) and what I have I will be using not sharing with those who have choosen not to listen. I am glad to read that other might feel the same way!

  3. Excellent post! I really like the line you wrote that says “Their focus on the here and now blinds them of any need to reflect on the future.” That is so right on the money especially here in Hawaii, I strongly believe that this state will be in terrible shape when things start crumbling big time, no one realizes what's right around the bend.

  4. Excellent post! I really like the line you wrote that says “Their focus on the here and now blinds them of any need to reflect on the future.” That is so right on the money especially here in Hawaii, I strongly believe that this state will be in terrible shape when things start crumbling big time, no one realizes what's right around the bend.

  5. But, but, “bad things” DON’T happen HERE in Utah! Don’t you people realize that?

    All sarcasm aside, I fear that most in Utah, are NOT prepared, nor will they ever be. I recently sat in our Stake’s Emergency Preparedness council meeting, when two of the Stake Relief Society Presidency, and three other Ward EP coordinators, all asked, WHO, will come and rescue us?(seriously) I nearly fell out of my chair, stunned in disbelief of the concept of being self-reliant.I do believe there is a “cultural” misconception, that somehow, somewhere, SOMEONE will “come to our rescue”. Such fallacy and foolishness is mind boggling to our family.

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