There is a lot of denial going around right now, in America and probably elsewhere. Denial about what is actually happening in the world. No one really wants to think about the avalanche of poop that is surely headed our way, to our race, to our planet.

One of my beautiful spiritual teachers tells us,

There’s a lot of emphasis on getting our children back into school and keep them there. It’s probably a combination of,

“Well yes! I want my child to have the best interactive school experience possible, and get an education.”

and,

“Can someone please pry the clutching hands of these weird little beings off of my body and get them the heck out of the house for a couple of hours, so I can have a little peace and quiet? Maybe have a glass of wine and a nap?”

My grandies are doing well in school, and want to be there. I think it’s been an eye-opening experience for them to NOT be able to do school. They missed their friends and their teachers, and something that is not the constant presence of their parents and siblings. Or the converse, home alone or with siblings that they may or may not tolerate as their parents work, may wear thin in short order.

I get it. All that said, my question is, what should they really be learning in school, and from us, their parents and grandparents at this critical time on mother earth?

Anyone with an ounce of foresight can see where this is going. The pandemic is NOT over, and won’t be for a while, ignoring it or listening to misguided rhetoric makes no difference at all to the virus and its possible permutations.

The economic fallout is likewise just beginning, as the repercussions of covid spread, so will negative money issues. My darling child recently had her car re-possessed. I had pause to wonder, what is going to happen with that ocean of empty cars and apartments that people simply don’t have the resources to pay for?

With all eyes on the pandemic and economics, it’s possible we are also missing the deeper implications of climate change and it’s sometimes appalling expressions. Wildfires, drought, earthquakes, floods, you know. The lot. There will be more.

Do you remember the last part of Mad Max, where the characters are around a fire and talking about the end of things known, and what they will do next? One of the female characters did a talk on,

“Doing the tell.”

A way of remembering the stories of their lives and ancestors in an oral tradition. Our children don’t need formal schooling so much as learning skills of all the levels of surviving a world shift, like story telling. There is wisdom in our forebears, my materal grandmother could do just about anything, from cooking with half the ingredients, to farming, to medicine woman and teacher. If the internet goes away, who will tell us what to do? We should already have some idea in advance of that entirely possible event.

So this would be my class list for school and home, not to be scary, to be prepared.

  • What to do if you become separated from your family. No one wants to think that this can happen, but what if it does? Do you have a plan? Every child {or adult for that matter) should have a backpack ready, with emergency supplies for what could be a long walk. A real plan, including a working knowledge of maps can bring some comfort to a kid who already has anxiety that he or she is not even telling you. They should know how to get to a police station, fire station or other family homes in an emergency, and how to stay safe doing it.
  • How to obtain food and water when supply is interrupted. This would include how to identify edible plants, how to know what water is drinkable, including how to use a water purifying straw. It would be important to know what not to eat as well, identifying spoiled food or contaminated water.
  • What happens if the lights go out? In our culture, we have gotten very accustomed to light, heat, cool, and handy appliances at the touch of a finger. A child should know where the flashlights and candles are, and how to safely use them. Winter is no joke, a stockpile of blankets and cold weather gear could save a life.
  • A survival guide reading list. There is a LOT of information out there about how to weather catastrophic events, some good, some not so well thought out. Assisting kids to have access to good solid ideas and guidance is another way for them to have confidence that they are ready and informed.
  • How do I use a first aid kit and medicine? We assume a lot about our little people, to our cost. How can they know these things unless we teach them?
  • How to listen to and remember my family stories. Who carries on the memories? We all do. but we have lost the gift of doing it well to the television, the internet and the smart phone.
  • How do I care for my pets if there is an emergency? The little furry ones in our care are often cherished friends of our children. They are helpless in many ways, and there is a need to help them be calm and not be lost, have a supply of food and water for them as well.
  • A spiritual practice of centering and calming, whatever than might be. If a child has a regular prayer or meditation practice, they are going to have one more pillar that will be hard to kick out from under them. A sense of comfort and connectedness to God, the Divine, the Source, Fred, whatever you may call it, is just as vital as any of the other skills mentioned. Maybe more so. Praying, breathing, chanting, and compassion toward others will bring a child through a traumatic event hopefully whole, and even stronger than they were before.

Any parent, grandparent, teacher or good adult friend can think of many more helpful instructions for their children, this is just a sketch.

Don’t fear the dark, be the candle.

Kristin Strachan

Kristin is a writer, teacher and spiritual practitioner in Colorado.

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Kristin Strachan

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