3 comments on “Dancing With Death

  1. We have gone with the circle of life approach. My daughter loves animals, and it has been easy to talk about death in the context of nature and the animal world. We talk about returning to the earth and going to sleep forever. That being said, I do protect her from the death conversation if possible. I don’t mention every death on the news or tell her all of the things that I have experienced. There will be enough sorrow in life. We haven’t talked about heaven yet. She does know that some people believe in religion and god(s). In our house, gods are just myths.

  2. I love the idea of discussing death within the context of nature as the above comment suggests. My husband and I usually ask our kids what they think happens and we usually get an answer that is surprisingly frank. When my 6 year old daughter asked us one night about “heaven” we told her that many people like to believe in the idea of heaven because it makes them feel safe or comforted but that no one really knows what happens when you die. My 8 year old son piped in at that time and said, “so it’s kinda like Santa Clause? He’s not real but it’s a nice idea, right?”. We really strive to let our kids come to their own conclusions organically and rationally. They are really too young to have any real philosophical debate with and we don’t want to taint their perspective with our life’s experience so we try to give both sides of the argument for now.

  3. I just recently (like, YESTERDAY) ran across your blog, and I’ve been spreading it around to all my other atheist mom friends today. I think you’re an AWESOME mom with an AWESOME brain! ;)

    Butt-kissing aside, here’s my thoughts:

    I have a soon-to-be 6 year old daughter who probably knows more about death, reproduction, and everything in between than your average 30 year old (or maybe it’s just that my peers are REALLY, REALLY DUMB). I HOPE it’s healthy, but she’s like Wednesday Adams. She LOVES watching Bones with me and her dad, and knows how and when to flip the channel over to watch Dr. G. — Screw Spongebob, she wants to watch her medial programs. I swear, she’s gonna grow up to be a surgeon or a medical examiner.

    I don’t try to over-soak her in knowledge, but she’s an inquisitive little thing, and I do my best to answer her in an age-appropriate manner. When her pet rat died when she was 4, we buried her in the back yard and I explained that even though she wasn’t with us any longer, her body was gonna turn into good, rich soil that would feed the grass and flowers in our yard, and that in that way, she was still with us. (She told her cousin that her pet rat had died, and her cousin told her “It’s okay! Tak went to Heaven!” to which Faye replied “No she didn’t! Mom buried her in the back yard!”) She’s also dealt with the death of my grandpa, who she was really close to. She understands that it happens to everybody, and I’ve tried to help her understand that it’s just a necessary part of life and that NOBODY knows for sure what happens after death.

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