Why Self-Reliance

Two nights ago just over half of the citizens of the United States voted to re-elect President Obama for a second term. While half of the country celebrates that victory, several people I know are feeling a sense of loss. I see it as a confirmation that, despite hoping otherwise, the makeup of our country has indeed changed. I suppose I had a sense of it over the last few years as I began taking measures to rid our family of debt, change my approach to home management, become a work at home mom and stumble unintentionally into homeschooling. I just didn’t realize the switch had indeed already taken place.

As I see a general shift in the values and culture of our country, I wonder what can be done. Raised by a stand-up-and-fix-it mom, I knew there had to be something, but I felt that the political solution ship had sailed. It occurred to me that all I could do was preserve the values I held dear by teaching them to my children and sharing my resources with family and friends. If the next generation knows nothing about personal responsibility, freedom, hard work and the like, it won’t be because of my negligence! I also decided to start this blog as a place to share the resources I’ve found in my journey of preparedness and self-reliance. I hear from many family and friends about their desire to have some extra food on hand or to create a 72 hour kit and now I will have a centralized virtual location to send them for all the necessary information. I am in no way an expert on the topic and welcome any input from you as you interact with the topics presented here. I simply desire to start the conversation and provide resources.

I choose the term self-reliance to describe the topic of this blog because I believe it is an important quality in a good citizen. We have so many recent examples to pull from as we’ve watched Super Storm Sandy, Katrina, and the recent Tsunamis. Many people failed to have even just an extra bottle of water on hand and the resulting anger and outbursts about the failure of the government to rescue them was astounding to me. What if we adopted this vision instead: Imagine you have, little by little, gathered a 72 hour kit, worked to eliminate your debt and have some camping supplies on hand. Disaster hits and you can not only have supplies to sustain your family until the dust settles, but you are free to help your neighbors. Imagine that someone in your household loses their job but because you have maintained a debt free lifestyle and have some extra food on hand, you are able to better weather the economic storm until a job can be found. What I am promoting is not panic-based hoarding, but wise plodding that leads to gain (Proverbs 21:5). Being self-reliant in this way frees us up to be helpful to others.

Being someone who relies on God, I find the term “self-reliance” a little unfortunate since it essentially means to depend on one’s self. My use of the term on this blog refers, in the earthly sense, to the difference between depending on others for your well being and becoming co-dependent in a way that leads to slavery, and taking the responsibility for your livelihood as much as possible so as to owe no man anything. I believe self-reliance was a value of those who founded this country and the government was set up to take care of certain things, but to be hands off on most everything else, allowing each man to pursue the life he dreamed of and worked hard to build. I write from an evangelical worldview, but I do not want to pretend I speak for God. Where I use scripture references, I am simply siting the reason for my perspective.

Again – Please feel free to comment and pass on your own tips and ideas – I’m starting this blog not to set myself up as an expert but to hopefully spark some discussion and I hope you’ll join me in rediscovering self-reliance.

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