A friend shared this article with me a while back on The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino. It is well worth the read. Christine has Lupus and created The Spoon Theory to answer a friends inquiries about life with Lupus. A handful of spoons begins to represent the resources available for the day. It is a powerful illustration of the choices and mindset of someone with health issues.
While I have never had a serious illness or disability The Spoon Theory made me think about how we all need to guard our time and emotional resources instead of taking so much for granted. This came to me again as our family is dealing with some big losses. One morning when my second son was having a particularly hard time I introduced the idea of emotional spoons. Each day we start with a certain number of spoons (emotional energy, capacity). Normally we have more than enough to get through a day.
With a handful of spoons we went through a day talking about what would normally use a spoon or gain one. I took spoons away for school work, chores, and arguing. I showed when we are grieving we may be short some spoons, or they may be harder for us to hang on to. Every day is different.
Since I was using the spoons to represent emotional capacity we talked about ways to preserve spoons and to get spoons back. Being kind. Patient. Remember others are hurting, too – even if it looks different for them. Being in a family that is all grieving it is a relief that not everyone experiences the same emotions at the same time. What a wreck we would be then.
Keeping the grief inside costs you a spoon. Sharing someone else’s grief helps you both hang on to one.
I considered having everyone actually have a container of spoons they could take from to show how they were doing. I really like the idea. It would be a great visual. However the chances of me following through to have it be meaningful are not very good. I decided we would each decorate a spoon to hang on the family board as a reminder that we all need more grace, for ourselves and each other.
While they finished their spoons I read to them from A Time to Grieve by Kenneth C. Haugk. It was helpful to hear what grief is. They felt better knowing their questions and emotions were normal and would get better. As we do more reading I’ll be posting other books we find helpful. Tear Soup by Pat Schwiebert is one I really like. It puts the process of grieving in a story that is more relatable to children.
|On the Family Board|