By Beth Buck I expect many of you will be joining me tomorrow in partaking of pumpkin pie in celebration of Thanksgiving. It's that time of year when we hearken back to what we learned about the Pilgrims when we were in 8th grade, in hopes that we turn back to our roots and focus on what is most important. We learn history so we can learn from history. What lessons can we learn from the Pilgrims in 2017 that have to do with Emergency Preparedness? Be mindful of the seasons. In some ways, the Pilgrims are a good example of what not to do – I am sure they had their reasons, but objectively speaking, traveling to an unsettled part of the world in the winter was not the wisest plan. Half of the Pilgrims died during that first winter because they didn't have adequate shelter or food stores. Make sure you have seasonal clothing packed in your 72 hour kits, and learn how to erect a makeshift shelter. Make friends with your neighbors. Communities thrive when individuals share resources, knowledge, and skills. The Pilgrims would not have survived at all were it not for the kindness of the Wampanoag Native American tribe living in Plymouth, who taught them new farming techniques and gave them additional food supplies. Stand up for your principles. The Pilgrims fled first to Holland and then to the New World for the sake of their beliefs, for what they believed would be best for their families. Their dedication to the cause even in the face of extreme adversity is inspiring. What do we feel that strongly about in modern times, and how far are we willing to go for what we believe in? Maybe that's not a straight “emergency preparedness” issue, but it's at the core of what preparedness is all about: wanting what's best for your family, even in the face of your worst-case scenario. Don't give up. If the Pilgrims can stick it out and live through a treacherous sea voyage, a terribly cold winter, disease, and famine, you have it in you to live the preparedness lifestyle that you want. Put your 72-hour kits together, build up your food storage, and do all those other preparedness-y things you've always wanted to do but were too afraid to try. And of course: Be thankful for what you have. The Pilgrims lived through conditions that would constitute a state of emergency. Even after surviving that first winter, survival in the New World remained tenuous, yet they still set aside some time to express gratitude for their meager successes. We talk a lot on this blog about acquiring more food storage, more neat gadgets for your kit. I often say, “the time to rest on your laurels is never!” I changed my mind. This weekend, forget about rotating your wheat and fussing over your kit and appreciate what you have done. Go ahead and rest on those laurels, because every little bit of preparedness helps. For additional reading that reaches beyond the basics covered in your 8th grade history class, try Mayflower: a Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathanial Philbrick. For younger audiences, Dianne Stanley's Thanksgiving on Plymouth Plantation is informative and engaging. Beth Buck has been involved with emergency preparedness since her very earliest years. She enjoys hiking, martial arts, reading, and writing about food storage. Beth lives in the Intermountain West with her family.