Each one of us faces times when we have to say farewell to people who have molded and shaped us into who we are. Although the farewells can be sad, each farewell is also the start of a new journey.
Parents help children say good-bye when they go to school for the first time, helping them learn new routines and letting the kids know that parents will see them at the end of the day.
Final farewells to a loved one who has died are the hardest of all. Parents who are grieving often struggle to control their own grief while helping their children.
Organizations like Kids' Haven in Lynchburg can help when kids lose a parent, sibling or loved one to death. Meeting other kids who have lost a loved one can help grieving kids understand that they are not alone.
Kids also say many good-byes in life to friends and adults who have played an important part in their lives. This includes teachers and other mentors.
Parishioners at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Lynchburg recently bid farewell to our priest, Fr. Richard Mooney. Fr. Richard came to St. Thomas More over four years ago and has made many friends during his time here.
Fr. Richard leaves Lynchburg for a new prison ministry in the Petersburg area. His ministry will include meeting with prisoners in four large facilities to bring the word of God to the imprisoned.
The young people of St. Thomas More will especially miss Fr. Richard, who enjoyed a special connection with youth of all ages. From young children to teens, Fr. Richard connected with all.
One of Fr. Richard's previous assignments was in campus ministry at Virginia Tech. During his years at St. Thomas More, Fr. Richard often shared stories of his days at Virginia Tech.
Church members of all ages attended the farewell party for Fr. Richard. A welcoming party will be held soon for our new priest.
St. Thomas More will welcome Monsignor Michael McCarron, who comes to our church from St. Bede Catholic Church in Williamsburg.
Food is one of the ways we say farewell. From going away parties to funeral luncheons, food plays a part in our lives as part of the good-bye process.
When you are planning a going away party for a loved one or family member, let the kids help with the planning and food preparation.
Let kids make good-bye cards for friends or family members who are moving away. If there will be a big party, make a good-bye banner to hang on the wall that all can sign.
Keeping in touch is important when a friend or family member moves away. Sending cards and letters or making phone calls were once the only ways to stay in touch.
With Skype and Face Time apps, kids can stay in touch much more easily. From computers or iPhones, kids can see their sibling, friend or grandparent and it's almost like being there.
Saying good-bye will always be difficult for most of us. As adults, we understand better than kids that good-byes are a part of life.
We have learned to say good-bye to retiring coworkers, friends who have moved away and family members who have died.
The way parents approach farewells is a model for their children. Although we may shed tears as we say good-bye, we share our wishes for a safe trip and an exciting new journey.
We teach our kids by example that each life contains farewells. The excitement of a new journey waits at the end of each farewell.