I got an email from the Peak Shrink (aka Kathy McMahon) asking for some advice for the parent of a little boy who was struggling with real grief around the issue of Peak Oil. As a foster parent, I have dealt for many years with grief reactions in children and participated in dozen of workshops and trainings on the subject.

It is an important question, isn’t it. How do we help our children prepare for what is certainly an uncertain future? If they watch TV, they probably see images of families who seem to have it all. Hanna Montana never seems to worry that her dad will lose his job or that the cost of fuel oil will interfere with her ability to jet off to a concert. It never rains but the flowers are alway prolific and the grass lush.

Community service is a given around here. I expect the girls to help with church and community projects and to take conservation and respect for the planet seriously. They know we store food and supplies. I am careful though to keep the difficult talk for times when they are not present and we often discuss the positive aspects of a more local life. We make sure we have things we look forward to things like building a barn, getting chickens and perhaps having one of the brothers move back home. We have a wonderful time with food. We enjoy growing it, foraging it, preparing it and eating it. We make sewing cloth bags into an event. We gratefully give and receive at the Potlatch. It is such a fine line to walk; informed on the one hand but happy children on the other. I feel pretty good about my kids. How about the rest of you? How are your children reacting to preparation? Are they aware? I would love to get a handle on this.

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