Monday, June 6, 2011

Preparing Children for New Experiences

Bucky was my first dog.  He was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  As you can see from his picture, he was a smiler.  He had the most beautiful face, with soulful eyes, a turned up nose, buck teeth (hence his name) and beautiful ears.  Just looking at him made me happy.  He was gentle, sweet, and brought love everywhere he went.  My heart fills up when I think of him.

Bucky passed away at the age of 12 this past October.  He died in my arms on the way to the vet.  He had been sick and was ready to cross the Rainbow Bridge. 

When I returned to school the next day, the students sat in circle with me and my co teacher, Robin.  I explained what had happened.  They all knew and loved Bucky.  He was a regular visitor at school.

The majority of these students had not had an experience with death.  We explained to the students that when someone loses a loved one it is proper to say how sorry you are for their loss.  It is also appropriate to share how you feel and a memory of Bucky. 

One by one, each student took a turn to express what he or she was feeling.  Because of the preparation we had given, each comment was said with genuine sincerity.  Some shared memories of Bucky.  Some told me how sad they felt.  All of them said how much they loved Bucky.  One child said that Bucky was in heaven and watching over all of us.  One said that he would live in my heart and in her heart forever.  Many cried.

Each child was able to express their emotions and sentiments because they were prepared to do so.  This is the point of this blog.  Children who are prepared and know what to expect usually act appropriately.  If your child is facing a new school, new camp, new teacher, new experience, take a few moments to talk about what the right thing to say or do would be.  Children who are prepared can act with confidence and poise.

I will cherish my memories of Bucky and how my students helped comfort me with their words.

1 comment:

  1. Outstanding insights, Deb. I couldn't agree with you more. Nice job.