Sunday, November 7, 2010

Discussing Death with Children

I'm not 100% sure how I ended up with the responsibility of discussing death with our Sunday School students, but today that was my charge.  As this is the first Sunday following All Saints Day, the topic was discussing family and friends that had passed.  Fortunately, our new curriculum, the Whole People of God, had a terrific plan to cover the issue. 

Since many of our children are very young, I was very nervous about how they were going to react to the subject.  Unfortunately, our poor little kids have lost far too much in their lives and each of them had lost someone close to them.  One family had even lost a sister.  This sad truth didn't bring a depressing bend to the conversation, but instead uplifted us all. These little ones had a better understand / acceptance of death than most of us adults. Part of the object lesson that the curricula suggested included the use of a rock and a feather.  The rock represented sadness.  The feather represents a light heart knowing that your loved one was with God.  The kids understood the sadness, tears, and heaviness; but I was concerned that they would not understand the happiness that can also be associated with death.  I cautiously asked why we might feel happy for someone that died.  I waited for some Smart Alec to say that they were happy because they didn't like the person anyway, but none said that.  The kids understood right away.  They knew that we could be happy because our loved one was now with God.

Even more special is that they knew how to keep a loved one alive.  They understood that we could share our loved ones with others through stories, that we can remember them through activities that we once shared together, and that we can keep our loved one alive through memories. 

While I went into this class nervous about broaching such a difficult subject, I left class blessed to have seen God shine through little angels.  Clearly, they were more in touch with the flow of life than most adults.

"The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."  23 Psalm: 1-4 (KJV)

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