by Christi Neville, LPC
Sending our kids back to school has given me the opportunity to reflect on the many parallels between the classroom and grief. Our culture places heavy emphasis on quantifiable learning…almost daily, we teach our children valuable skills in math, reading, science, and
athletics…lessons that are often visible, tangible, or at least easy to measure our success in. It strikes me as interesting how little our culture teaches us about how to deal with matters of the heart, which oftentimes, matter the most! I don’t know about you, but I didn’t receive much instruction as a kid about what to do with my feelings; for many people, learning to read the language of the heart is truly like a foreign language, especially when life suddenly asks us to endure overwhelming loss and pain.
Just as we provide our kids with necessary school supplies and a classroom curriculum, we can view the Kids Who Kare program as part of their curriculum for learning skills in Grief Ed 101! Just like learning math or any other subject, there is practice to be done outside of the limited classroom time. Furthermore, there is not always a finite completion point (we don’t say “I’ve learned math, now I can check that off the list”)….rather, it’s an ongoing process where skills build on each other year after year. And finally, just as kids feel proud when they get a good grade in school, they also increase their sense of self-efficacy and empowerment when they learn emotional skills that can be applied to real life.
About the Author
Christi Neville, LPC is The Christi Center’s Kids Who Kare and Peer Support Coordinator:
“My interest in grief and loss began in 1997, when a tragic accident claimed the love of my life, and catapulted me into a humbling journey of healing. An intern counselor at the time, I was astounded to realized our culture’s lack of understanding of grief, and as I committed myself to my own personal growth, my thirst for knowledge led me into professional realms as well. After graduating with my Master’s in Counseling from The University of Denver in 1999, I began a holistic private practice in Colorado devoted exclusively to grief, and from that foundation, have led support groups for children, for surviving family members at Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and have run several hospice bereavement programs. After relocating back to my native Texas, I was lucky enough to find The Christi Center, and am excited to contribute my blend of personal and professional experience as I support the resiliency of the human spirit in the face of loss. Outside of work, I enjoy music, meditation, and spending time outside with my super-duper son, who reminds me daily to stay present to the magic and wonder of life.”