Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hard subjects to explain to a child

My daughter has had a tough week. On Saturday her husbands uncle dropped dead of a heart attack and on Sunday she received a call one of her friends from high school was found in her car in a river or lake in Tennessee. They believe she got lost and made a wrong turn. If this wasn't bad enough she had to explaing to her three year old daughter where her Uncle Steve was. When they went to the aunts house Haylee walked through asking where her Uncle Steve was. My daughter sat her down and said he was in heaven. Haylee looked at her puzzled and my daughter said. You remember where we sent your binky? That is where Uncle Steve is. He's in heaven helping God take care of the babies. I asked her about the binky. They had been trying for quite some time to break her of the binky (pacifier). I noticed she didn't have it when she spent the night with me last week. It seems my daughter told her it was time to take her binky and send it to heaven for the babies up there. They tied it to a helium balloon and Haylee released it. She told her mother that she would go to heaven and help take care of the babies. Her mother told her that God didn't need her yet but one day she would. My daughter said Haylee thought about that for a minute and said, "Okay, I'll wait." Death is a difficult subject to talk to a child about. However, most of the time they handle it better then we expect them to. When talking with a child about death, if they were particularly close to the deceased watch for signs that they are not handling it well.

When my sons preschool teacher died one weekend my son shut down. Everything he had learned in preschool he suddenly forgot. He couldn't recite his ABC's or count or anything. At that point he could name all 50 states in alphabetical order. He and this male teacher had bonded. It was a family owned and run daycare/preschool. At the wife's request we removed him and a year later he started kindergarten. At the end of the first week his teacher said he walked up to her and suddenly said all 50 states. I explained what had happened. He had just shut down. The preschool teacher's wife was wise in recognizing this. May we never have to have such terrible discussions with the young ones we love.

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