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Teaching


There are many things that I will one day teach the Kid. What makes the world turn? Why the sky is blue? Wait, before I tell him the answer I might need to find the answer to that one. It is my responsibility to be able to come up with answers to everything that Kid brings my way. But there is one question I am not looking forward to answering.

Daddy, why is Great-Grandma laying in that box? Can I go up and play with her in it?

How can you explain death to a child?

This occurred to me after a phone call from my sister (Aunt MeMe as the Kid calls her), telling me that an uncle passed away.

At the old age of 2, the Kid will never understand. He has brushed death many times as he has fallen off the couch nearly knocked himself out but got right back up and did the same thing over again. But how can you explain to him that he will never get to see someone again. He is just now starting to form these close relationships. He sees someone he knows walk in the door and runs up and gives them hug and immediately wants to play. How can I tell him that, he will never get to play with them again? That he/she will never walk through that door again. As parents we are supposed to have the answers, but how do we answer this?

I almost look forward to having “The Talk” with him rather than talking about death to the Kid.

No one likes talking about this subject. Dealing with it hard enough.

As I grow older it almost seems right though to start thinking about my own death. I want to leave a legacy for my son and wife. What kind of man was I? What kind of husband was I? What kind of father was I? What kind of family member was I? Evaluating my own life is tough. What kind of friend am I? What will I be remembered for? And please God I hope it is not for my blog! These are the times we look deep into our own heart and find the strength to answer some of these questions that we have about ourselves.

In loving memory of Uncle Rich. May you rest in peace.

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About The Rookie Dad

I am husband and father foremost. Secondly, I am a PBS producer and contribute to Traveling Dads and Dads Round Table.

Posted on August 28, 2012, in Fatherhood and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I know you as a kind, intelligent, and honest person who works hard at being a good dad, husband, and friend.

  2. I should write a post on this as well. My son battled cancer when he was little and survived. There was a little boy that he played with in the hospital regularly. After we were done treatment that little boy had to continue treatment for a relapse. Every Sunday my son prayed for that boy. One day I had to explain to him that the boy had lost his battle, had passed away and gone to heaven. Tough talk and he didn’t truely understand it until a couple of years later. He kept wanting me to drive to heaven to visit his friend.

  3. I’ve had to talk to my kids about death from a very early age. My oldest was 3 when my dad died. And we have lost family members during the next 7 years. I don’t know if there is ever a good time but when the time comes, be honest. Answer every question.
    And I agree with Jim. Kind, intelligent, and honest. Summed up perfectly.

  4. Developmentally they don’t grasp that death is permanent until 4. My 3 surprised me weeks after our dog died saying I know we can take her back to doctor, make her better and bring her home.

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