Teaching children about death and bereavement
In assembly time in November we will be talking to the children frequently about the fact that it is a special month in the Church in which we remember the souls of the faithful departed. In our assembly on 1st November we re-launched our Book of Remembrance, and explained the importance of it.
For many children death is a remote idea, and thankfully for many families not something that effects their young lives too profoundly. Sadly, however, we are also aware that there are several families in our community for who bereavement is recent, devastating and has a deep effect on their children. How can we, as a faith community, offer support and love at a difficult time for them?
My personal experience is that the greatest gift for the recently bereaved is time and prayer. We cannot share the pain of loss, but we can make it clear to the person that we are at their disposal when they need a sympathetic ear, and that they remain in our prayers. It is a small but vital comfort. I have recently returned from Manchester after spending time with my godsons, who unexpectedly lost their father two years ago. He was my closest and dearest friend. In our time together we did not talk much about him, but the important thing that everybody knew was that the opportunity was there if needed.
Our children grow and deepen their faith when they understand that there are rich traditions in the Church that offer structure for the trials that they will encounter in their lives, and grief is one of these. It is important that we speak to them frequently about departed family members and leave no doubt for them that our loved ones are now with God.
In school we will be allowing children time to pray around this issue in November. In your prayers as a family, please remember Giles and Gemma, the children of Mr Frank Game. Mr Game was our Deputy Headteacher for many years and passed away in May. RIP.
Further support: if you know anybody who might need further support with grief, please direct them to Grief Encounter, a children's charity that provides specialist support. Their telephone number is 0808 802 0111.