Here are a few things we've done to help our kids:
How Are You?
Daily since the fire we've asked two questions that are "How Are You?" & "What Are You Thinking?". This allows us to just get a surface read on both the boys. Now these questions have been asked while driving to football camp, during lunch, walking the dog and hanging out before bed.
We've tried to daily check in with the boys as well as share with them how we are doing? I want them to hear that mom and dad are processing as well and we need each other to support one other through this event.
Conversation, Conversation, Conversation.
We have not shied away from conversation, in fact I feel we've stepped up some of our conversations. I want to create as much family chatting, laughter and consistent family time in the midst of all of this. Some of these conversations are as normal as we've always been but some are intentional to just bring our family together. Kim's done a great job of this especially during meals or a family game at the end of a long day.
We took the boys out to breakfast last week and we went around the table summing the fire experience up in a key word for each of us. Our words were;
Cody--Chaos, Cole--Sad, Kim--Chaotic, Danny--Uncertain
The rest of the breakfast was us sharing about our words, our feelings and how all of our words we've all experienced and it helps us all have a common experience. It was encouraging for each of us to share our word and hearing everyone else share how have felt that emotion as well. I think this was a huge help for both of our boys as we affirmed their feelings as well as allowing them into what we've been feeling.
Tears Are Ok
We have not shamed or made our boys feel bad for tears they emote. We've allowed them to see us cry and be emotional as well. We've never said "grow up, suck it up or man up" in the midst of this experience. Tears help us process. Tears help us feel alive. Tears also bond and right now family bonding is crucial.
As a family our praying together and individually has increased in the midst of this life experience. I've tried to be very conscious of modeling for my boys the words as well as my heart of really living out saying,
"God you are God and we are not and we want to trust you in the midst of anything we go through."
If we do not depend on the power of God with any and every situation then we are going to be trying to do it on our own and that is not the model I want for my sons.