Loss is never easy to accept, at any age. Children may have a particularly difficult time dealing with loss because they do not understand the long-range implications of what has happened. But elders have experienced more of life and can share their experiences with young people. Also, from their position of authority, elders can encourage children to express honest grief and respond with care to the suffering of others. Elders can help children understand that expressing sadness is one way to heal a hurt.
- Prepare your Special Letter:
Describe some of the things a person might do to express sadness, such as crying, going for a quiet walk, talking to someone, or praying. Talk about some of the times you were sad and what you did to deal with your feelings. Talk about things that make you happy. Anything you think is important!
- For your grandchild's scrapbook:
Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner across a sheet of paper. Paste a yellow construction paper sun in the upper half and a blue construction paper cloud on the lower half. Cut out pictures from magazines that portray something that brightens or saddens you. Paste these pictures on the pages depending on the feeling you assign them. On the back of the page explain why these things brighten or sadden you.
- In your journal (After completing letter 10)
Describe some of your ideas about sadness. How have you coped with losses in your life? How did your parents react to loss? (After receiving your grandchild's special letter): How did your grandchild react to this topic? When you complete your journal send it to your grandchild's parents for safekeeping.
- Optional Activities (Choose as many as you want to do):
- Feeling Badges. Design badges of various sizes and shapes. Attach labels of feelings like sad, excited or happy to them. Find a picture in magazines to match these feelings.
- Tree of Life. Draw the trunk and branches of a tree on a large sheet of paper. Make some leaves of construction paper. Label some of the leaves with names of living things. Attach these to the branches. Label the other leaves with names of things that have died and place them on the ground under the tree.
- Writing How You Feel. Make decorated note paper from folded sheets of paper. (Collect tiny flowers ahead of time and press them.) Glue these on the stationary or using crayons or markers, draw flowers on the stationery.
- Mail what you have created directly to your grandchild. Ask your grandchild to respond with letter 10 on his or her instruction sheet.