September 11, What should Kids know?

September 8, 2010 | Categrory: being an American, events, military families, parenting

Though September 11th is burned into the consciousness of nearly every adult American, our young children were not here then. Unless they were about 5 or 6 in 2001, they will have no recollection of the national grief and fear that you and I know all too well.

What should they know? What do we tell tender little ones that will not frighten them, but give them a sense of the weight of the day, but more, the questions of honor, protection, and what is worth fighting for?

Remembering is something that we need to do as a nation. In Biblical times, the nation of Israel would build piles of stones to remember things that were important so they could tell their children. The reason they did that is because human beings have fairly short memories, and life moves forward quickly. Without teaching our children that memorials are important, they will lose their history and some meaningful pondering of life. Memorials are important to bring together people who have shared an experience and then the question, what can be learned from it, what does it mean to us?

Children can be told more with age. For our little ones I suggest that you stay on the positives, and not detail too much of the fear. Answer the questions children ask honestly, but simply. You do not need to go into the politics, or the graphics with kids. Do not ignore the bad part, but don’t accentuate it. A simple answer to what happened on 9/11 might simply be that some bad people made some big towers fall in New York City, then tell them that there were many people who were there to help.

Here are some things that you may want to share with your little ones:

*Talk to them about the heroes of 9/11. Here is a website to help you with that:

*Talk about resiliency and that we bounce back after bad things happen. Here are plans for the site of the towers

*On September 11th, we remember the people who work to keep us safe. They are soldiers and airmen, they are marines and sailors, coast guard and policemen, they are fireman and doctors. Our country is made up of many kinds of people, they are all Americans and they are the ones who are there when you need help, or when we all need protection.

*Today we remember that sometimes when bad things happen, we learn to come together and fight for what is right. We learn that we are America, and we have a long history of being there for others in the world. We protect others as well as our own people.

*Do something to help your children with expressions of gratitude. Make some cookies and bring them to your local firehouse, draw pictures of police, firefighters, and others who are protectors and give them your pictures. Send a letter to a soldier overseas and express your thankfulness for the sacrificial work they do. Here is a website where you and thank a soldier right now!

Children can understand honor, courage. Help kids to appreciate what it means to be an American. The gifts that we have as a people, and the wonderful country God has given us. Teach them that there are people that want to reach out, that being brave does not mean we are not scared, but that we push through it and help anyway.