Can You Define Self Reliance?

The dictionary defines self reliance as

self-re·li·ance  noun   reliance on one’s own powers and resources rather than those of others.
But can you define self reliance for you?  Do you know what it looks like in your life?  Do your kids?
teaching kids how to garden

teaching kids how to garden

The world we live in calls me a prepper.  But in truth, I was raised to be self reliant.  My family’s income was very seasonal, and my parents modeled self reliance.  My dad built a root cellar.  We planted a big garden to supplement our store groceries.  In the summer when he was working, we would go to the grocery store and fill 3 or 4 carts with canned food and noodles etc. We bought soap, shampoo,toilet paper, paper towels and toothpaste by the case.  We never ran out.    In the winter, the only groceries we bought was milk and eggs from the neighbor.  We just didn’t go to the store.  Usually by April, we were really sick of the same food, and my mom was creating some crazy kinds of dishes, but we were never hungry.  My mom bought our Christmas presents in September.  Everyone got two presents and their stocking.  One present was always socks or underwear.

If we broke something, we had to fix it ourselves.  If we ruined something we were in trouble.  We learned to repurpose all kinds of things.  You learn to use what you have, and that is OK.  Now that is called a prepper.  To me that’s being a grown up.  I learned that little kids are always asking for new shiny things.  Grown ups learn to use what they have.  By that definition, there are a bunch of 40 year old kids around.
swiss army gizmoSo how has this world gotten so consumed with having new stuff ?  I blame it on TV and the internet.  We spend all day watching commercials about the latest greatest thingy.  We are totally focused on our desire to have it.  If we didn’t see it, we wouldn’t want it.  We wouldn’t even know it existed.  Most of the time, it is unimportant in the scheme of our lives, yet it consumes our thoughts.  When my kids were younger, I wouldn’t walk by the toy aisles in stores.  They have a rooms full of stuff, but if they walked by the toys, they would talk for days about all the cool toys they didn’t have.  Why torture them or me?  I wouldn’t buy them more stuff to poke in that room if I had enough money to buy them 10 toys.
Kids need to learn the difference between needs and wants.  A person needs food, water, shelter, heat, and soap.  A person wants an IPhone.   But we as grown ups have to model that.  Whether we have the money to buy it is not the point.  Is it a need or a want.  You take care of your needs.  You help others with their needs.  Then you talk about wants.  Do you model this for your kids?  I don’t always do the best at it.  Sometimes, my gimme shows a bit too much.  But it has become a priority for me.  I want my kids to understand the difference between needs and wants.  I want my kids to be ok with not having everything new and shiny.  I want my kids to be ok with living with what is available, and sharing what they have.
I hope you join me in modeling self reliance for those around us.  If we make it ok to have less stuff around us, and have useful things, instead of gadgets, we will lead our circle of friends to a more sustainable healthier lifestyle.  It will also prove far better if a crisis ever did occur.  Folks would be able to help each other, not fight over outlets to plug in an IPod.


  1. Great site and great content. We too are trying to be as self reliant as possible. In today’s age it amazes me how frowned upon it is. To me it only makes sense. Great job. Keep opening people’s eyes.

    • Congrats on being aware of the issues. Everyone needs a little push sometimes. I’m kind of pushy so hopefully we who see can help others before its too late.

  2. Hello. This is a really interesting post. We all seem to have so much ‘stuff’ around us these days and shopping appears to be some sort of an addiction. I must admit I’m as guilty as the next person, but I know it’s wrong and you’ve inspired me to at least try and change!

    • I am glad you are inspired. I am a reforming stuff-o-holic my self. I still have a lot.But we are burying ourselves. I am basically preaching to myself too. Reminding both of us that shopping isn’t what needs to be done…Living is.

    • I hope not, but it is definitely an uphill fight. I think that there are a lot of people who are bored and dissatisfied with their lives and the culture. I am hoping that this site is a wake up call for what is real and true, not hype. Stay tuned and we’ll both see what happen! Have a great day.

  3. Hi Enid,

    I do not consider myself to be a prepper, however, I do believe in being prepared!
    Your statement about self reliance speaks volumes about your message in this post.
    Thanks for posting.

    • Thanks Andy,
      If a prepper is a crazy guy getting ready for the zombie apocalypse, I ‘m not either. But I sure believe that people need to be more intentional about their own lives, and be prepared for the possibilities in their own area. We all need to quit worrying about what others are doing, and take care of our own lives.

  4. Enid, Awesome site. We are in the same business! Just different aspects but definitely interwoven concepts exist among them. Nice site, Well done. Joy Confidence and Good Fortune to you. It is an honor to experience this segment of the Journey with you. See you ‘down range.’ ;-D Jackson.

    • Always good to meet others of a like mind. I am hoping to remind people to do for themselves. I definitely think we are on the same page there. Have a blessed day.

  5. Hi Enid yes you are very right we have a great need to become self reliant especially in this day and age. As a prepper myself and not thinking of a zombie what ever…….More like your Father and Mother , we are living in a time of abundance but what happens when that all goes away? There is a time for everything and every thing in it’s time. We need to stand up and look what is happening around us and take it very seriously. The great depression just didn’t happen, we are going that way again but it will be much much worse. I hate the thought but, Our world is getting much much smaller. My Moto is “always a better way” have a good one, see you down the road. I love this saying “out of small things proceedeth that which is great”

    • We do live in a time of abundance. Even if we are in the lower pay grades in the US , we are so much better off than so many other places. We need to prepare for a time when that isn’t the case. I don’t encourage pessimism or paranoia, but I definitely encourage people to be aware that the economy and the weather have cycles. Bad stuff will come back around and we need to be aware and prepare!

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