Should You Take a Child to a Funeral?

We recently had a death in the family. Like most families in this situation we had to decide if we should take our daughter to the funeral.

I attended my first funeral at age eight. My favorite babysitter, Jeff, died in a tragic car accident when he was still in high school. I didn’t understand all that was going on just that I was sad he wouldn’t be around to bake cookies with anymore. He was an awesome babysitter. Should you take a child to a funeral?

In the end, we decided yes, and our daughter joined us on a cross-country trip to the funeral.

Three Things to Consider Before Taking Your Child to a Funeral

  • How old is your child? Our daughter was the only child there under the age of 13 with the exception of one very cute baby. The cute baby’s two-year old brother was not in attendance and that was probably a good thing. There were enough tears and trying to control a toddler during a funeral would’ve just brought more tears. Toddlers rarely belong at funerals.
  • How mature is your child? Not all kids are created equal in the maturity department. Frankly, I think my nine-year old behaved more appropriately than the 13-year old but I may be biased. Seriously, take a hard look at whether or not your child, regardless of age, can maintain a respectful demeanor. Without the aid of electronics. If not, a funeral is not a place for them to be. That’s not a bad thing. Really, it’s ok.
  • Does your child want to go? Please, please don’t drag child to a funeral because you think she should be there. As bad as a cranky toddler might be a sullen tween can be just as off-putting.

My daughter wasn’t close to her step-grandmother and had only met her a few times. However, she adores her grandfather and wanted to be there to support him.

That was the clincher in deciding she should attend.

If you do decide to have your child attend, discuss with them what your expectations are.

They should know that they’ll see adults upset or crying. That is scary for kids. Let them know it’s ok and they don’t have to be frightened. It’s ok to cry and it’s also ok not to cry. Everyone grieves in their own way. There is no wrong way to mourn someone.

Attending the service did provide opportunities to talk about our particular family dynamics and history. We talked of the things we want to be remembered for and what we hope to accomplish in our lives. Discussions we may not have had otherwise.

We found the good in a sad situation.

Would you take your child to a funeral?

Seven Interesting Things About ~ Alan Turing

Did a quick read of Common Sense Media’s review of the Imitation Game and despite the recommendation for kids at least 13 I took my nine-year old daughter.

As a parent of a gifted child I love sharing movies with her about people she can relate to. The movie’s about a geeky guy who got bullied in school and went on to basically win the war and save thousands of lives. Definition of a hero and pretty good guy.

She (me too!) is a Benedict Cumberbatch fan thanks to Sherlock. She also likes codes so this seemed like it would be a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Alan Turing The Imitation Game

Alan Turing

The movie provides opportunities for conversation ranging from bullying, wartime ethics, and how movies may play fast and loose with facts in order to tell a better story.

We came home and of course she wanted to know more about Alan Turing.

Here are seven interesting things we learned.

  1. The second most influential Princeton alumni of all time. He came in second behind only President James Madison. High praise.
  2. He was at Princeton the same time Albert Einstein was at the Institute for Advanced Study which was housed on the campus.
  3. Turing studied at Cambridge University and elected a fellow at the young age of 22.
  4. Developed the Turing Test for machine intelligence assessment: if an observer cannot tell whether they are interacting with a human or machine, the machine is intelligent.
  5. The computer room at King’s College at Cambridge University is the Turing Room.
  6. The Association for Computing Machinery gives the annual Turing Award to “an individual selected for contributions of a technical nature made to the computing community”. An announcement in November 2014 that the funding for the Turing Award increased to $1,000,000 and is provided by Google. Wow!
  7. Suspected of having Asperger’s Syndrome.

Have you seen the Imitation Game? What did you think? Will you take your kids to see it?

Anarchy in the Elementary School Car Line

Recently while waiting in the elementary school car line I found myself pondering what I consider to be nothing less than anarchy taking place right in front of me and what that means to the children of the anarchist parents.Anarchy in the Elementary School Car Line

Ok. That may be a bit dramatic but here’s the thing, if you’re unable to successfully navigate the rules of the car line I honestly question your ability to raise a child who’s able to successfully navigate the big wide world on their own.

Going Rogue

The signs (there are several) clearly indicate to pull up so that long line of cars behind you can also pull up and not stick out in the road – blocking traffic and disrupting the commute of all the rule-abiding people who’re on their way to jobs, Starbucks, or yoga. Or maybe back to bed.

So, when you decide that your little person can’t manage to walk the additional 50 feet from the designated drop off spot to the school entrance you create a cascade of problems. Problems ranging from messing with my blood pressure to creating a generation of entitled children who don’t know the meaning of resilience.

There are a few parents (mostly just me) that wait for the rogues to let their precious cargo out at the front entrance and pull up to the designated spot. Part of that is I want to set a good example for not only my daughter but for other parents who may not have completely committed to the rogue lifestyle. But mostly it’s because my kid is an even bigger rule follower than I am and wouldn’t get out of the car early even if I wanted her to. This may also be affecting my blood pressure.

Car Line Lessons

Seriously, what does this behavior teach your kids? The rules don’t apply to you or them? They’re too delicate to walk those extra 50 feet? That they (you) are more important than the 40 other families behind you?

We’re not talking about a once in a while behavior. This is every single school day. What other rules of civil behavior are these anarchists teaching their children? Parking in the designated handicap spots at Chuck E. Cheese?

I bet these parents also value all those participatory trophies that permeate elementary sports. I bet they’re the ones who are on Facebook saying how proud they are of their kids because they won some random contest that required no effort. I bet (know) these are the parents who don’t understand why I always pull up to where I’m supposed to, always make my kid walk the extra 50 feet, and could care less about a trophy that means absolutely nothing.

When you routinely disregard rules about something as simple as a car line you rob your child of knowing that walking 50 feet, even in the rain, is no big deal. They also may learn just a little bit about grit, resilience and respect for others.

I’m talking to you dark blue Toyota Highlander. I bet your kids end up living in your basement. Forever. Enjoy.

Disclaimer: Car make and model has been changed to protect the guilty. And me.