I loved this blog posting from Dad Steve Olson called 10 Things I Learned from My 4-Year-Old. Too bad that the comments section degenerates into juvenile name calling regarding Steve’s wish to teach his kids that when the cat dies he went to heaven. Regardless of what my beliefs may be, if Steve wishes to teach his kids that there is a heaven then great. If he wanted to teach his kids otherwise, then that is great as well. The key point here is that he is teaching and passing on his values.
Itâ€™s tough to know how to handle the death thing. On one hand, saying that when things die they go to heaven seems to be an easy concept for kids to understand, despite the fact that it leads to bigger questions, which can also be handled with concrete answers. I think kids like concrete, and I can see where the idea that there is a physical place in the sky called heaven would be comforting for kids. The notion that we may just â€œstopâ€ is hard for grown-ups to comprehend, let alone a pre-schooler.
At our house, we talk openly about death and dying with The Girl – my wife’s Mom passed away before she was born and we still talk about her to The Girl to keep her spirit alive. As my wife says, she wants The Girl to grow up knowing her Grandma despite the fact she is not physically here.
In addition, one of The Girl’s favorite books is called Day of the Dead, all about the Mexican celebration. This is a favorite.
I think may parents – both moms and Dads – can relate to Steve’s list, and it is a good reminder that in the school of life, we are both teachers and students.