Sunday, September 11, 2011

How to talk to kids about 9/11

I went to the library to find some kids books on 9/11.  This subject needed some explaining in our home.  We now live so close to DC, and so many people were talking about it, including Mama and Papa.  The kids didn't understand it.  Books are such a good way to get a conversation going on their level.  I also wanted to go a bit deeper with the older two, explaining more of the world view at the time, and not just focusing on the day of and the twin towers.

 I think for a lot of Americans, this was a time of loss in so many ways.  For me, it was a loss of security and innocence.  I am heartbroken for all those people who were killed, and those who lost friends and family.  I had night mares about being in a plane you knew was  being taken down.  And EVERY TIME one of my family members flies, I remember those phone calls placed from the plane to loved ones back on the ground.  I pray my phone never ever rings with a call like that.  I would say the attack affected me quite deeply.  And still does.  So, how do I talk to my children about this?

 These are three boys who love gun play (despite my efforts to stop it!) and find bombs exciting (although they don't really see them as destroying anything, just as a big boom, like a fire work). So, do I talk about the violence and death? They don't understand death.  They have never known someone die.  They don't get that guns and bombs hurt, it is all to abstract for them. ( Like the stock market is for me.)

 I think I will join the country in celebrating the heros.  I think I will talk about those helped.   I will talk about the rescue dogs, the firefighters, and police, and the ordinary person who helped.
And, I will talk about building peace, and becoming a person who makes good decisions. I didn't find any books on 9/11 at the library, (although I know there are some,)  But, I did find this book;

Let there be Peace by Jeremy Brooks

And this one; 

Becoming Me by Martin Boroson
I want the lesson coming out of 9/11 can be one of building peace and joining together as family and community, and not about the terrorist.  The boys don't know this, but we also decided not to go the the National's game and out to brunch in Arlington today, because of threats around the area.  We are going to just stay home and have family time.  I think it is a good day to hold family close and be grateful.


  1. From NPR:
    SUE ASHER: My name is Sue Asher, and I'm from New Haven, Connecticut. And I was actually on a cruise on 9/11. We were supposed to come back on that Thursday, but they ended up holding us, and so it's around midnight on Friday. And I think we were one of the first - maybe the second plane to land at JFK. It was very deserted.

    ASHER: And I ended up, several months later, coming down - I'm a chaplain. And after the memorial service at 9/11 with the president, families went out to the different centers to get a flag and the urn. And there was a little girl there, and I just walked up to her and the common question was (unintelligible). And she said, my daddy was the pilot on the second plane. And I was just overwhelmed. And she asked me if a part of her daddy's plane would be in the urn.

    GUY RAZ, host: Sue Asher lives in New Haven, Connecticut.



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