As we sat and chatted we brainstormed what type of losses we can have in our lives – anything from losing your teddy bear and a youngster, to your phone, to health, job, a move, death. We created a list of over 10 types.
I then asked the girls to raise their hand if they had experienced 5 or more of these types of losses. I was floored as the majority of girl’s hands were in the air. One girl even said she had experienced the whole list. Holy Cow!As a parent, I often reflect back to my childhood and school years and compare my experiences to my kids. I am pretty sure that I would have raised my hand to about 2 items on the list. When did teenage years become so complicated? Why are our children having to cope with so many issues in their young years? It broke my heart.
During the presentation, many of the girls show emotions. Some are in tears, many are just looking down not making eye contact (and I know it isn’t at their cell phone – lol). Each class there is someone that I try to connect with after, someone that seemed more upset than the others. As I talked with one girl, again I was amazed at all she was trying to manage – unbelievable. The teacher even spent time with her and did what she could to support….not just in that moment, but for the future as well. Wish I had a teacher like that.
But the good news was, that as we talked about coping strategies and how we can help our friends through their grief, they we on the mark. They were compassionate, informative, caring and in tune with how grief affects you. And they understood that grief lasts longer than 3 months or a year. That warmed my heart!
Maybe we are raising a generation that is more in tune to the effects of grief and loss. Maybe we are teaching them coping strategies that will help manage through all the twists and turns that life will have for them. Maybe this young generation will lead us into the future of more empathetic and caring listeners and supporters.