Every family has a family culture. Are we intentionally creating a family culture, or has it developed by default? Strong families don’t happen by accident. They are created intentionally. We are not raising children, we are raising adults; adults who will become leaders in their home, community and the church. Will they be prepared to become the best they can be? Will they be confident in their abilities? Creating a culture of self-reliance in our homes will be an important step to reaching that goal.

Self-reliance should be fun!  Last week we worked on Five Day kits and added food to the kits. Did you remember the snacks? Granola bars and breakfast bars do not count, they are for meals. As you continue toward your goal to become a self-reliant family add sweet treats to all your kits. Be sure to buy extra when purchasing. M&Ms work great in kits as they will not melt but still give you a chocolate fix. Consider other non-chocolate candies your family loves.

Let everyone choose several for their kits, one or two per day. As you divide treats place them in plastic bags and label them with the owner’s name. Inform the family you have purchased extra treats and you will share them during General Conference. Explain that from now on your General Conference treat will come from their Five-Day kits. Every conference you will eat the treats in your kits and replace them with new ones. Next April when conference rolls around if a child has been sneaky and “borrowed” the treats they will not have any for conference viewing. Do not cave in! They will learn sneaking treats from their kit is not a good idea.

Did you practice a power outage and cooking off grid? I hope you did. This can be fun as well as giving us insight into what we are lacking in our preparedness plan. Texans did not expect a freeze that left them without power and water. They found themselves challenged with feeding their family, keeping them warm and surviving without water, many for weeks.

By now your family should understand your desire to become self-reliant. Hopefully you have helped them catch the vision of the peace and comfort that comes knowing you can care for yourself no matter what challenge may present itself.

Winter is coming and with-it new challenges. Hurricane and tornado seasons continue and blizzards, flooding, freezes, are on their way. And of course, earthquakes may come at any time. Ask family members to decide which skills they or all of you, are lacking. We all realized the importance of knowing how to sew when we were all scrambling for facemasks and medical gowns.

Create a list of skills you would like to learn. Skills may include, sewing, cooking off grid, cooking with food storage only, preserving foods, growing a garden, budgeting, car repair, building a fire, cutting hair, how to care for a medical need such as creating a splint or dressing a wound, or a very specialized skill such a getting a HAM radio license.

For younger children consider coaching them so they learn to do the laundry and hang it out to dry, make a simple meal, create a one-of-a-kind dessert from things in the pantry, or add items to the grocery list when they use them up.

Once you understand which skills you want to learn, make a list of those friends and family who have those skills and can lend a hand as you grow in your understanding and competence. Never be afraid to ask for help. You will probably discover your friends and family are excited to pass along what they know and love.

Once you have a plan, list the supplies needed to accomplish your goal. You may want to learn several ways to cook when the power fails, but you are still saving to purchase a Dutch oven or fire pit. Brainstorm who may have those items and be willing to let you borrow them as you save to purchase your own. The same is true of preserving foods. Canning is expensive at the beginning as you accumulate jars, tools, and canners. Borrow what you need but don’t put off learning the skill. Food prices will go up this year so take advantage of any food you are given by those with gardens and fruit trees or preserve the produce from your own yard.

I have grandchildren who love my strawberry freezer jam. When they visit it is always on the table. A granddaughter loves making smoothies for breakfast. I froze and vacuum sealed peaches for her. All these small acts help our family understand self-reliance. When they want jam or peaches for a smoothie, they are there. The power goes out and you have glow sticks easily available and you start the barbecue for a warm dinner. Someone gets a cold, and you give them their own box of tissues to carry around. A friend from school has a bad day or an accident and you have the ingredients for your child to make cookies to take to their friend. Grandma comes to visit, and she forgot her toothbrush, no problem, you have them in your General Store. Use opportunities like these to remind your family all this is because you have been working to become self-reliant.

This week:

  • If you have not done so cook at least one meal off grid.
  • Sit down as a family and decided which skills you will develop and who can help you reach your goals.
  • Purchase or borrow items needed for the skill you will be honing.
  • Work diligently on your food storage. Use the weekly challenge at https://www.totallyready.com/blog  or https://www.facebook.com/TotallyReady

I added that last one because food prices are going up, up, up. If you want to beat the high prices stock up now!

Inflation is coming and increasing, natural disasters as becoming more frequent, food scarcity is a problem in many areas of the world. Visit Totallyready.com or facebook.com/totally ready for answers to questions and help.