Monday, April 26, 2010

Self-reliant ..or is it SELF reliant?

This is a “thinking-about” article. With all of the recent thought provoking headlines and happenings I have been thinking about “self–reliance” quite a bit.

Do we understand what self-reliance should/could mean to each of us? Is there a difference between self-reliance and preparedness? In our society is total self-reliance possible or probable?

This is one of those “I hope to help you think” kinds of articles. I’m hoping that I can stir up a little bit of assessing and evaluating in how you think, which means that I am placing the responsibility for the “meat” of this article with you. This also means that arriving at your answers and/or questions most likely will not be similar to the same conclusion as anyone else. Of course, for those of you who have been following along with me for any length of time, you may find quite a few others in your ballpark.

There follows some comments, opinions and a little insight, from my perspective, on a few categories, individual items or principles of self-reliance. They are not in any order of priority except for the first one.

One of the most important points is that, as far as I am concerned, planning to head for the hills with guns and ammunitions does not have a place in any category of my persuasions. Using firearms against other human beings does not and will not fit into anything I teach!

How do you think that the difference between how the know-how and every day usage of a specific skill fit in? Is there a difference and does it affect you? Assess what and if some of these things could or should make a difference in your life.

I know how to make all of my bread, crackers and bake goods from scratch. The key term is “know how”, because I do not do that all of the time. However, is the economy affecting this in your life yet?

I know how to successfully cook meals on a “tin-can” stove or a large variety of temporary non-traditional stoves.

I know how to make a variety of soaps and cleaners, as do many others. But do you make your own lye and render your own lard. Once again, I know how.

I know how to sew and create a variety of clothing articles. I also know how to make quilts and blankets. But I don’t know how to make shoes. Nor do I know how to cure or tan cowhides to make them useable. In fact, I don’t even have a cow, let alone one I would part with.

I do not know how to make my own toilet tissue, nor do many of you. (Whatever you do, do not fall for the old wives take of using catalog pages or printed paper as a reliable resource. The resulting problems will be extremely painful.)

In addition to that, we haven’t built an outhouse in a long time, have you? How many alternatives can you come up with that will work for you?

We have never built our own shelter, let alone a home. This is not referring to a boy-scout or camping-style temporary shelter.

I know how to make the proper kind of emergency candles and oil lamps if needed.
And of course you must know that I love having my little indoor farm. Where and how will yours grow?

Larry knows how to properly build and repair just about everything.

We don’t know how to make money (the actual, tangible, paper kind) in order to be able to pay the house payment. (It might do well to remember that this is illegal as well as a joke. However, being able to “make” the house payment is not a joke.)

By now I’m sure you realize the list of items to consider could be pages long. It might even make a book :)
Differences on your list will certainly exist if you are living in the inner-city in a condo or apartment, compared to someone who resides in a rural situation. You need to be sure to make a critical re-assessment if you have recently downsized, or moved.

Assess your ideas closely; some of your equipment and/or skills may be outmoded and no longer safe.

A concluding thought could be, self-reliance may include preparedness. However, being prepared within the traditional connotation of “food storage” does not necessarily include self-reliance. Our society in the Twenty-first century enables us to rely on one another’s products and skills. Self-reliance definitely includes the category of economics and economic skills...
Self-reliance is possible with the supplies, knowledge and skills with which we are prepared. The key word in self-reliance is SELF
Did you notice how I struggled to not mention the importance of assessing the place or kind of chocolate you should consider?