Wealth, cash flow and Ben and Jerry’s are all good things but, when the bridges or the banks crumble will you have access to an ATM or Starbucks? How prepared are you and your loved ones should we experience a natural disaster or financial crisis?

Just as a squirrel must make a nest and collect acorns for winter’s food; men and women must also prepare a home for shelter, food for nourishment, warmth against the freezing temperatures, and of course the inevitable onset of old age. The squirrel who does not prepare will perish.

If a man or woman squanders their money and youth, and does not prepare for the unexpected, they too shall suffer. Social programs in the U.S. are vast and a person may not perish, but what if the nation as a whole suffers from a catastrophic event? What if the government could not get to you in the aftermath of a blizzard, landslide, or an economic collapse?

Self-reliance is the key to order. Relying on the government or a credit card to carry you through hard times is a recipe for further disaster.

If power is disrupted or the roads are blocked, you cannot get to your favorite restaurant to eat. The employees cannot get to your favorite restaurant to cook. The trucks carrying the food cannot get to your favorite restaurant. Just in case this isn’t enough reason to think this through, your debit card will not work at your favorite restaurant either as it requires electricity. The traffic lights and the restaurant require electricity to operate.

According to Urbandictionary.com, ” A prepper is a person actively preparing or being prepared for situations that may affect the stability of home, life, or financial situation. Also known as survivalists and doomsday preppers” (the latter is also a reality television program on National Geographic”).

Our grandparents simply called this “saving for a rainy day”. High on a shelf in grandma’s kitchen cupboards she hid money in an old jar that she saved from her grocery budget. Stored in the basement were jars of jam, pickles, beans, tomatoes, all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Grandma grew these foods or purchased from the local growers. I watched and learned as my grandmother cooked and canned food for use during the winter months. My grandparents did not have a farm; it was a modest house in the city with a vegetable garden in the back yard.

Grandpa would help clear out old trees, chopped the wood and use it to heat our home. My grandparents rarely had to pay for heating oil or electric heat in the winter.

Nothing was ever thrown away; everything was re-cycled, re-purposed, and re-used. Furniture was repaired and painted when needed. Hand-me-downs were sewed, altered and hemmed for each new recipient. When an old shirt was worn and torn and beyond repair, the buttons were removed and put into the “button” jar. The fabric was carefully cut into squares or rectangles to be used as kitchen rags. Arguments were known to start when grandpa took the rags from the kitchen to the shed, even though it had once been his shirt.

Old jars were handy for a variety of uses; food storage, lightening bugs, company would drink lemonade out of Mason jars. Grandpa used them to store nails and paint. He would deny it, but he also had a one with moonshine high on a shelf in his shed.

They taught me the difference between order and disorder. To survive or to perish. The ability to ride out a crisis versus to be in a state of panic and chaos.

Just as his father had lectured him, and his father before him, grandpa always said “do not forget where you come from”. I have not perfectly adhered to grandma’s thriftiness or grandpa’s lectures on life, but I have not forgotten where I came from.