Growing up I got the impression from my parents that funerals were bad and scary things. Funerals were not to be talked about and children were not invited. I don’t want my children to feel that way.
Some sad day in the future my children will have a terribly, sorrowful funeral they will probably attend because it will be for someone they loved very much. When that day comes I want them to already have an idea of how these lamenting get together’s work.
There was a funeral this past weekend and I asked if my children could come for part of it. The loved one that had passed on was not someone my children knew, but were distantly related. It was my mother in law’s cousin. The funeral was not a big one, and the church was child friendly.
This was a good learning opportunity for my children to learn how funerals work, and to see what other churches look like. We are LDS and our church buildings are not decorated with crosses or large stained glass window depictions of Jesus Christ. Don’t get me wrong, we are Christian and teach about the crucifixion of Christ, we just don’t focus on it or celebrate it. So it was nice to show our children these things and let them ask questions, so we could share how others worship.
I’ve been to a few funerals now, but I remember how confusing, and uncomfortable my first one was. The whole experience was pretty overwhelming and I didn’t have an adult to walk me through it. My parents were busy and I had many unanswered questions. I feel like these gatherings can be a good setting to have serious conversations with my children, and I can help them go at there pace, taking breaks when needed.
Recently my boys have decided that dying isn’t a serious thing, or even realistic. They have been having a hard time understanding that it’s not funny or silly. And I think going at least helped mr. C start to understand how others felt when people passed away and how they don’t just come back.
By going, our kids also got to practice wearing their church clothes in other settings, and they got to see how others interacted with each other in this non-daily experience.
Funerals are not fun, but they can be a way to find closure, and they are a part of life. I don’t want my children to be scared of them, or overwhelmed either. I want them to have a basic understanding of how they work, and what is expected of them.
Do you think kids can go to funerals? Or is that a big no in your family? Tell us about it 🙂