In light of the tragic bombings in Boston today and the loss of life and the number of injured, I thought I’d repost this blog (with some slight edits) from about a year ago.

Grief is on my mind and it’s probably on yours. And, it’s in our hearts. Fear and confusion may be on your mind and you may notice it in your children, depending on how aware they are of what happened. Would it surprise you to know that understanding how we are smart can help us process grief, fear, and confusion well? It’s true. And, it’s important because grief isn’t well understood. Too often, people can be made to feel they’re not grieving right. Really? Disappointing.

If your children have definite intelligence strengths, you’ll want to help them use those as they process their feelings. Using several of their smarts will help them process fear, confusion, and grief more completely and come out the other side, when they’re ready, with a healthy perspective.

Word-smart people will need to talk through their feelings. Believe it or not, someone to listen isn’t essential. But, they will often want to share stories with people. They may also write out their thoughts. They may also want to listen to you tell stories about your grief and other feelings.

Logic-smart people will need to ask more questions than others might. They’ll want answers, when possible. They’ll always want to be heard. They will not appreciate being told to stop asking questions that can’t be answered or hearing other statements designed to placate them. They may struggle with anger more than others if things don’t make sense to them.

Picture-smart people may benefit from drawing pictures of their thoughts and feelings. They may remember relevant dreams and think more about heaven than others as they imagine what a loved one might be doing there.

Music-smart people may be supported in their feelings by music. They may want to listen to their favorite music. They may want to perform it, too, if they sing or play an instrument. This music may increase their likelihood they’ll experience some peace.

Body-smart people will need to move freely and often. Movement and touch help them think and relax. They may want and need even more hugs than normal. If exercising, dancing, drumming, or crafting are normal activities, they’ll need to continue these or stress will badly build.

Nature-smart people may need to spend time outside just sitting on a bench or walking in a park. They can benefit from doing this alone and with others. They also may pay more attention to the flowers at a funeral than others do. If they have pets, they’ll gain comfort from interacting with them.

People-smart people will grieve best and process their fears and confusion when spending time with other people. They’ll need to talk and listen and test their ideas by sharing them with others who are able to continue the discussion. Interacting with others who knew the same loved one or who can understand the feelings and thoughts they’re having will be essential to them working through their feelings.

Self-smart people will process their thoughts and feelings alone, thinking and feeling deeply inside of themselves. Others may be concerned that they’re not processing their feelings, but they don’t need people to process with like people-smart people do. They’ll want quiet, peace, space, and privacy and if these needs aren’t respected, stress will build. They should be encouraged to share their conclusions with people they’re safe with.

Grief, fear, and confusion are never easy. It’s essential that we not hurry or deny our feelings. The same is true for children. Let’s encourage people to process things the way they’re designed.

I truly hope these ideas help you and those you love.