Take time before the session and find a quiet place for reflection. Helping children accept and name their feelings requires that parents and leaders acknowledge the authenticity of whatever they are feeling. Our next step is to help them find the words to express what they are experiencing.
As leaders and Unitarian Universalist religious educators, our goal is to help children develop inner resources for dealing with the joys and sorrows of life. We need to be aware of our own feelings and attitudes and so that we can deal openly and honestly with children's questions and concerns. It's also important to be aware of children's differing needs and understandings after experiencing a loss or death, based on their age, experience, ability to verbalize, and temperament.
Some adults shy away from the topic of "feeling sad" because they believe it is a difficult subject to discuss, yet leaders often report good sharing and a feeling of increased understanding after such a lesson. Memorial services and end-of-life services are a universal part of the human religious experience and a vital part of our congregational life. Spending time with children, giving them comfort, and inviting them to remember and share their memories reassures them that we care and that it is okay to can talk openly with us about loss and grief.