Be Prepared: A Book About Everything We Stand For

The book is Be Prepared: The Frankie MacDonald story, written by Frankie himself and Sarah Sawler and put forward by Nimbus Publishing. If you’re not familiar with the Frankie MacDonald, here’s the short version. Frankie became internationally recognized when his online weather reports went viral. Frankie’s message of “Be Prepared” has spawned T-shirts, bobble heads, and even an action figure. It is a remarkable story and so we wanted to share a few takeaways from the book and from the crafting of the book that we believe are particularly important.


People Are Capable of Incredible Things

The traditional weathervane helps us forecast what is coming

One of the tenets of Community Living Centres is our focus on life tasting. Part of our mission is to provide individuals with the tools they require both physically and mentally but another very large part is helping people achieve personal goals. Essentially, we want people to live their lives.

This book is an amazing example of what happens when you help people do the things that they want to do. As Frankie’s father, Frank Sr., states in the book;

“The things Frankie knows about the weather is beyond what most people can comprehend.”

There’s no caveat here. It’s not “for someone with Autism…” 

Frankie is an exceptional individual who has had a lot of people supporting him over the years in a way that helped him grow as a person.

People are capable of incredible things. Sometimes it’s not even about helping them. Sometimes you just need to get (mostly) out of their way.


Sometimes You Need Cheat Codes

Sometimes in video games we use cheat codes

One of the interesting things in the book comes when they bring up the topic of video games. It seems that Frankie was a big video game fan and while his father loved to play with Frankie, Frank Sr. wasn’t quite as talented as his son.

Because he wanted his dad to feel better about playing during a game of Tomb Raider, Frankie decided to give his dad cheat codes. Frankie didn’t use them. Frankie didn’t need them. He got the weapons and items that he needed all on his own. But his dad needed the codes and so Frankie wanted to give him a little bit of help.

We often think that other people need us to do things for them. We think that other people need our help. We assume these things. Sometimes the best way you can help is by supporting independence. There’s nothing wrong with asking someone if they need help with something but you need to realize that not everyone with a disability requires any help with a given thing.

Be there to support individuals. Give them the help that they need, not the help that you think they need.

And take those cheat codes if you’re the one that needs the help.

More Than a Motto

Always Be Prepared

One of the things that are really heartwarming about the Frankie MacDonald story comes from his most well known catchphrase;

“Be Prepared.”

Frankie has been interested in the weather since he was very young (an interest he shares with his father) but Frankie taught himself how to use YouTube (when nobody knew how to use YouTube) because he wanted to help people.

Be prepared isn’t just something that Frankie says in passing. He means it. Again, we often think that we need to help people with autism and that we need to help people with a variety of mental disorders and diseases however we need to realize that our desire to help them is sometimes no less prevalent than their desire to help us.

Frankie is a truly exceptional story. There are people who need more support than Frankie and there are people that need less. There are people that need physical and medical assistance so that they can live safe and healthy lives.

If we want to see what people are truly capable of, we need to see what they are truly capable of and this can mean letting them see what they are truly capable of.

If you get a chance to read this book, please do. It’s a wonderfully told story that truly highlights the life of a wonderful young man. It is both light and easy to read while still telling an important and interesting story and is a great example of what we support as it relates to life tasting.