How will we teach our children that joy and sadness are parts of the same experience, the experience of being alive? Do we talk about sorrow as often as we talk about joy; read our children stories of one as much as stories of the other. This is difficult because children’s books mostly accentuate the positive. On the other hand, I have read with my grandchildren the books, Grandpa and Me We Learn about death &The Way I Feel. Can we add scripture to our Sunday School lessons like the following?
Then add questions for conversation like, “What made Jesus sad?” (When his friend Lazarus died.) “What makes you sad?” (When my best friend moved.)
However, we often do not need to manufacture an opportunity to help children learn about their feelings. Those feelings will assault us, threaten the peace and calm of our families, bursting into the open at the exact moment, “I do not have time for this!” Sometimes you simply have to make time for:
The expression of feelings until the child is finished; because until they have gotten the pain out of their bodies, they absolutely will not listen to reason. Just like you and I, kids need to be heard, fully heard. Crying is a great way to get pain out of our bodies. But it is not the only way. Rough housing releases pent-up energy. Laughter works with many children and so does playing tag, chasing them all over the house. Are things getting really “edgy” in your family. Initiate a wild romp around the yard, especially when the weather has been foul and you all have been stuck inside. Puddle jump. Snow-ball fight. Be creative. Above all, don’t wait until is too late!