We will be brining you a series of film reviews for our newest release “Children & Grief”. The first comes from DJ Harris. Who writes a very personal review on how she and her children reacted to the film and workbook.
Read her review below or at: http://dj6ual.jigsy.com/entries/reviews-2013/professorchild
Sometimes you have a bad day and other times you have a catastrophic year! In a span of six months my children lost their great-grandfather, their grandfather, the family dog, and their grandma’s cat. My kids were suffering, as well they should, but I was in no place to help them because I had experienced a tragedy of my own. I felt helpless as I watched them spiraling farther and farther down a pit of despair. It was obvious my little ones and older ones need someone, or something, and so I found them Professor Child.
Professor Child believes in the power of children teaching children. They provide grieving children and their families with educational films and workbooks that aren’t condescending or scripted. It is real children with real stories talking to your kids about the same issues that they themselves are dealing with. It is perfect for children focusing on challenging events that may arise in their life.
Children and Grief is a documentary-style film available for download or on DVD and comes with an accompanying workbook that is FREE to download. The movie highlights personal stories of children who have experienced grieving in their own way and their stories offer advice, hope, and relatable messages for any child going through a similar event. I wouldn’t put an age limit on the Children and Grief video, except to say that it was obvious that my thirteen year old son got more out of it than my twenty-two year old son or three year old grandson. Both my sons benefited equally from the workbook exercises though.
In Children and Grief, ten brave children share their stories of losing a loved one. Your child listens as they describe their stories of grief and loss as well as how they are coping and healing. Their advice for other children who have lost a loved one is honest, sincere and heartfelt. These children have experienced a life-changing event, yet they manage to share their stories with a sense of strength and resiliency. Your kids are left with a sense of hope and an understanding that they are not alone in experiencing death.
This 40 minute film covers many aspects of grief including:
-What Grief Means To Me
-Worries and Challenges
-What Has Helped
-Life After Death
-Celebrate and Remember
-What I’ve Learned
-Hopes and Dreams
The Children and Grief workbook features over 40 pages of thought provoking discussion questions and creative exercises. The ten chapters of the workbook correspond with the ten film chapters. Like all Professor Child workbooks, this extensive workbook covers various aspects of grief and will be a powerful tool to help your child work through the grief process.
The Children and Grief workbook is meant to help children continue to heal by expressing their feelings through discussions and creative activities. Many of the activities will help adults struggling as well. My two sons and I all did the workbook, but my grandson didn’t do the workbook because he just couldn’t grasp the concepts.
The “My Story” workbook challenge was harder for my younger son then my oldest. He just couldn’t figure out what to do. The wonderful thing about the way Professor Child structures their materials is that he was able to skip over the exercise without missing out.
My youngest really benefited from “What Grief Means to Me”. The exercise asks for the child to choose an animal to represent their grief. My son took this very seriously. He spent hours thumbing through wildlife books and reading webpages to find just the right one. He even used his allowance to buy a totem to represent his animal, but that’s another story.
I had a very hard time being involved in the “Worries and Challenges” activity with my kids. Guilt and my own grieving kept me from participating. I think it did a lot for them though. They are given a project where they make their own clay beads and create a necklace out of them. With each whole they punch in a bead they imagine another concern they might have and as they bake to set beads in the oven they visualize all those concerns floating away. It is so simple and yet so effective.
Both my kids related to Dominic the most in the movie. They too found the sleeping a lot and playing video games helped them cope with things. In “What has Helped” they wrote thank you’s to their grandmother for taking them shopping for video games and musical instruments.
The “Advice” chapter was very personal for my kids. They did that on their own. They did say they really learned a lot from it and it helped them feel like there were other people out there that felt like they did. It is nice to know they don’t feel like they are alone. The section where they were able to tell adults what they needed helped me understand what I could do for them, and that took a huge weight off my shoulders.
In “Life after Death” I was astounded by just how little my youngest child knew about my own beliefs about what happens when you die. When we played the afterlife game, this is where you act out a scenario about what your departed loved one might be doing right now, it became apparent we needed to share more about religious and spiritual beliefs.
We all loved the “Celebrate and Remember” chapter. We find new ways every day to celebrate and remember our loved ones.
When going through the workbook with my kids I found the last chapter, “I AM”, to be my favorite project. It was equally helpful for both my thirteen year old and myself. I would encourage you to print out a copy for you and your child. The basic premise of the exercise involves asking your children to fill it out with items that represent who they are, what they love, and what brings them joy. It may surprise you! So while you are at it, fill one out for yourself too. That may surprise you more!
My kids and me still miss our loved one very much. This is not a cure all by any means, but it sure does help get through the process with a spoon full of sugar. If you have lost a loved one, I would highly recommend visiting the Professor Child website for information on materials they might offer to help you through your difficult time. Thank you.