Practicing Joy: Week 2 – Joy in Sadness

This is a hard concept for adults let alone for children. There is a Japanese practice called Kintsugi,  it involves repairing something broken with gold. The idea is that when something that has been treasured is broken, ignoring the break is almost disrespectful.  So rather than try to repair the break so that it doesn’t show, the repair is made with gold. The history of the piece is included and treasured. 
We are all a bit broken in one way or another. If we are brave, and don’t merely acknowledge the break, but embrace it and lift it up as a treasured part of who we have become, we too become pieces of Kintsugi. 

Children will, I think innately understand the idea of Kintsugi – it is very concrete, and they are concrete thinkers. As you speak with your children about practicing joy in sadness, you might consider watching: I Walk with Vanessa (

It’s a lovely story about kindness and about sadness. I think your children will be able to see how Vanessa felt a lot like the bowl pictures above and understand the idea of joy in sadness. They may not be able to use words to explain it, so you might ask them to draw a picture and tell you about it or see if they have words to describe how the story makes them feel.  I suspect you will be amazed at your child’s depth of emotional understanding. Another book that you might consider, though it is much longer, is The Velveteen Rabbit.          
-Carolyn Hayes
Director of Children & Young Family Ministries