WISDOM
Welcome a Stranger: Moving Children
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09/06/2013

Parting Tears at Heartstrings

The following poem powerfully describes the painful feelings and issues that arise when friends (of all ages) are separated by a geographic move.  It was written by a ten-year-old boy and given to his friend Jonathan Kleyn, now from Holland, Michigan.

My Best Friend

Jonathan is my very best friend
And he will be until the end.
Laughing, playing and having fun
We loved bright days out in the sun.
Rainy days were fun too,
We never ran out of things to do.
Swimming, gymnastics, spending nights –
We never ever had one fight.
He understood me like no other,
He was more than a friend – he was like a brother.
I liked him
And he liked me.
I thought that was how it would always be.
I thought we’d be together when we were sixty-two,
But it wasn’t true,
There was nothing I could do.

He was moving to Michigan – that’s far away.
And here I was – I had to stay.
I cried and cried.
Whenever I thought about it – I got sick inside.

I knew I’d miss him forever.
Would I forget him?  Never
When he’s gone I’ll have the blues,
But he’s such a good friend – too good to lose.

Letters are nice, but not enough.
You can’t fit in all the little, everyday stuff.
He’ll move to Michigan and meet new friends,
And here I’ll be alone again.

All the time we spent together
Seems gone on the wind – as light as a feather.
But I’ll always have something from times gone past,
Something I know will always last.
-Arthur Hampton

If you have children and are moving, here’s some helpful advice from Gloria Gaither and Shirley Dobson in Let’s Make a Memory (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 1983, p. 143).

  • Discuss with young children the things in the house that will be moved.  Assure them that their beds, trucks, favorite stuffed animals, records, etc. will go along.  This is not a good time to sort out old toys, games, tennis shoes, etc.  Neither should you change from crib to bed, do away with bedtime blanket or pacifier, or drastically change feeding habits.
  • See that the whole family, including young children, is involved in the moving process.  Even young children can neatly stack washcloths, towels, or dish towels into a box or fill a container with stuffed toys, paper products, canned goods, utensils or lids, plastic ware, or books.
  • When you arrive at the new place, assemble the children’s rooms first and unpack their favorite things.  Be sure the children are present for this even if they have to be left with a neighbor or grandparent while the heavy work is done.
  • Encourage children to express their feelings about leaving their home and friends and moving to a new home.  If the child likes to write, suggest that he or she keep a journal for a month before the move and for two months after the move.

For additional caregiving advice, refer to the following categories on this website: “Caregiving Basics.”

The above advice is from  The Compassionate Congregation, pages 165-169.