Badges for the win. I know I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth repeating!
In the traditional (now thought out of date) Stages of Grief by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, the last part of grief is ‘returning to meaningful life’. That we find a way to get back to our old ‘normal’. I have thoughts on that whole thing here. This post is more about what ‘meaningful’ might look like.
When we want to inspire/bribe children to behave in certain ways, we often use a sticker chart or rewards of some sort. I’m a big believer in adults having rewards too. I think we are not only conditioned as children to respond to reward schemes, but we just like our efforts being acknowledged.
Badges can be part of that system of self-congratulation. Continuing on with life after a deep loss is hard. Many people seriously consider if they want to live at all, let alone making it meaningful. To support us, it may be helpful to note all the effort and claim a small treat for it.
Considering what your biggest hurdles are, and then setting up what you would find an appropriate reward, might be well worth your time.
I hate the school run. If I do the ten school runs of the week I get a reward (a pot of loose leaf tea in the afternoon on Friday). It’s OK to ask for help and have a break from that challenge, but it’s also nice to take a moment to pat myself on the back when I achieve it.
Badges for our family have also had another positive impact. They have kept us focused on the moment and given us things to do.
Entertaining young traumatised children, while experiencing traumatic grief yourself turns out to be pretty exhausting. I was the kind of Mum who always had a load of ‘fun’ ideas – until I wasn’t.
Initially I found badges for myself. They allowed me to find something positive and kept my brain occupied. I enjoyed the physical reward of an actual badge to sew on my scarf, and the sparking of ideas with others in an online group.
You can read more about the Rebel Badge Club here.
Via my own badges, I found the Pawprint Family. It was around the same time that the children came to me with their worries about Dad not getting any badges. They each got them via their Beaver, Cub and Scout groups and I had the Rebel Club.
For our 25th wedding anniversary we got a family blanket and some starter badges, and planned some for our Summer holiday. It’s become rather an obsession. We have discovered fun ways to be together again, given ourselves healthy things to focus on. Allowed ourselves to be successful and achieve in a world where that can feel very wrong and uncomfortable.
It’s started a new chapter of things that Issac never was part of, never did. That’s not always easy to live with, but does give a certain emotional freedom. So much of our every moment is the absence of him – in these we can consider our new reality with elements of positivity.
They have also stretched us. The desire to stay at home, just us, is strong. While we still prefer not to be around crowds or large groups our ‘badge work’ has meant small forays back into the world. We are engaging more (and better) with each other and our wider community.
As a grieving parent, it’s also given me a whole host of things to entertain the kids with, largely prepared by someone else. Our blanket is rather impressive, and we have included lots of friends and family in our shenanigans.
Options to explore
These are just the two I have discovered, there are lots of other things out there that may suit you better.
A short while mooching around the internet or any social media platform and you’ll probably find something worthy of further investigation. If you’re braver than me, you may even consider meeting up with real people who have a shared passion.
Subscription boxes can also be a nice regular stimulus, or maybe they could be the reward. More to come on that in ‘S is for…’.