The most important component of self-reliance isn’t a garage full of food storage. It isn’t a big garden. Nor is it living debt free or having water storage. No, the most important part is knowledge. If a fairy-godmother were to put a truckload of food in your garage, install a complete alternate power system in your home and plop a lush, thriving garden in your backyard, it won’t do you much good. Because if you do not have the skills to put these things to good use, they will profit you nothing. That’s why this month’s goal is to learn a new skill or improve a skill you’ve already learned.
What kind of skills should you know?
Just for fun:
Not all learning has to be academic. You should try something just for fun. Craftsy.com has classes on cake decorating, sewing, crocheting and knitting. Another place to learn cake decorating is Wilton Cakes. They offer a wide variety of has several cake decorating classes. I’ve really enjoyed this course on permaculture. The library, as well as the local Adult Edcuation program, offer classes on ethnic cooking, painting and other crafts.
Where to learn
Take an adult education class. Many school districts and most colleges offer some sort of adult continuing education. Moorhead Community Education offers whole host of evening classes. This is where I took the class to learn how to make a compost tumbler.
Find a friend who can teach you a skill you want to learn. There’s no better way to learn something than hands-on learning, so find someone you can apprentice with.
Make full use of what’s at your local library. There you will find a wide selection of how-to books and instructional videos.
And of course, there is always the Internet. It’s no secret that the Internet is a treasure trove of information. Put it to good use. You can learn most of the skills I’ve listed above by watching Youtube videos, visiting websites or taking one of hundreds of online seminars and courses. I’ve linked to several good educational sites in this post to get you started.
Better Skills = Better Income
Remember we are not only preparing for the short-term disaster–the flood or earthquake, whose aftermath may impact us for 2-3 weeks. We are also concerned about the long-term disasters: a serious illness or accident that leaves us unable to work. Or an economic downturn that leaves us with reduced or no income.
Financial security and being debt free are key to your family’s well-being. Consider the need to learn or expand skills to increase your earning power or give you greater job security. Take a class, a course or a seminar to increase your earning capacity or keep you updated in your career. Many professions require on-going education or re-certification. Many employers will reimburse yoiu the cost of classes that improve your job skills.
There are many online college courses that are free, but you may need to pay a fee for certification. I recommend starting your search of online classes sites like Edx, Coursera and Udacity. These are organizations that coordinate with hundreds of universities around the world to offer thousands of classes. And many of these classes can transfer to college credit or certification. Please take advantage of these courses! With these online courses, you and your children can get a head start on a college degree for very little money. With this array of free classes, there really is no reason to go into debt for a college.
No Time for a Class? No Problem
It takes 35 minutes for me to get from my house into town, so I’ve made it a habit to have lots of podcasts to listen to while I’m in the car. There’s no end to what you can learn while listening to educational podcasts. Listen while you are driving in the car, working in the garden or doing other chores.
Life is like walking up the down escalator: if you stand still you will soon find yourself going back to where you started. It’s important to continually work on improving and expanding your knowledge and skills. Make life-long learning a part of your preparedness plan, not just this month, but all year long.