Posted by: babbo | April 8, 2008

Teaching Our Kids How to Cope with Loss

I read a blog post a few days ago on a great dad site called Building Camelot. The name of the post is: My 5 Biggest Fears Being a Dad, and it covers the fear of loss in a very honest, real way.

The post came along at the perfect time, as loss has been on my mind lately — ever since I had my tooth pulled a few days ago.

My tooth’s clinical name was #13. And although the procedure was quick and physically painless, I have been thinking more and more about loss. Other than my hair (which I’ve been losing for years), this is the only part of my body that I have lost. And the experience has quickly transcended into a life metaphor.

What else have I lost? I’m not talking about a set of keys or a receipt from Target. I’m talking about real loss, the type that takes a piece of you along with it. The kind that leaves you with little gaps, like cavities, that never fully disappear or heal.

And yet we go on – battered, weathered and full of tiny little holes. Somehow, we find a way to function. What choice do we have? To give up?

Here’s what I’d like to know. Why weren’t we ever taught how to cope with loss? How to come to a place of acceptance, and have what we’ve learned from the loss propel us to a better place. In school, we learn about calculus and how to dissect a frog. Have you found that helpful? Unless you are a mathemetician, or a freak who likes to look at frog guts, it hasn’t.

Mom and dad? Yeah, they were a big help. The only serious talk I got was ”boys have a penis, and girls don’t. Did you know that?” As a matter of fact, I didn’t. But nothing came after that sentence except my uncomfortable thoughts about what girls did have down there if there was no penis.

Like it or not, loss is a part of life. We have the power to give our chilren the tools they need to cope with loss in a positive way. We can help them learn to heal (as best as possible), and come to a place of acceptance so they can move on from loss instead of dwelling in it.

We can also let them know that it’s OK if they need help to cope or heal. Just being approachable, and telling them “mom and dad are here,” is a huge deal. Then, of course, there’s the power of spirit (but that’s a topic for another blog post).

Can we protect our kids from loss? I don’t think so. And why should we? If we want them to be healthy, successful adults, it’s our repsonsibility to help them be fully functioning people.

My parents were incapeable of this. Were yours? I think they did their best, which is all I can ask. But we can do better.

And remember, you are not alone…


Responses

  1. Yeah…teaching my boy how to deal with loss is going to be tough. Not real sure how to even go about it. I’m sure it will all work out in the end. I mean, no one can really teach you how to cope. I think everyone has their own methods. Some healthier than others. All we can do is offer advice and be there for support. Just my 2 cents…😀

  2. Loss very recently visited our family. This post is helpful.


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