Ten years ago, I was the Mom to one 9 year old boy who was at school when the planes crashed into the World Trade Center, and for everything that followed that day. I wondered how I would tell him about the events of the day, and how it would impact him. When I picked him up from school, I learned that the kids had already been told about the attacks. From what he told me, they were told in a very factual way, and I was okay with that. It gave him time to think about it through the day and ask me the questions that he wouldn’t feel comfortable asking at school. I let him watch some of the news footage, but not a lot. I could hardly comprehend the horror of seeing people jump to their deaths, and I certainly didn’t want that burned into my son’s memories…although I’m sure he has seen it in the years since.
Since it was all that was on the news, and all that anyone spoke about for quite some time, it was easy to initiate conversations about it. We talked about terrorists and their beliefs that led them to do what they did. We spoke about our own beliefs too, but mostly we talked about the people who were lost and the people they left behind. We read about the stories of heroism on United 93, and how people drew strength from one another. There were so many amazing stories of heroism on that day.
Now I have three more children who weren’t here ten years ago, but who are impacted by it nonetheless. Every year they hear about it on the news, but with younger children in the house we often change the channel to avoid scaring them. Kellen is 8 years old and has always had an interest in learning about the past, especially things like 9/11 that had huge world impact. I know he knows about 9/11 to some degree, and I think it is fine to let him learn more about it, but what is too much? I recorded a movie about 9/11 called The Heroes of the 88th Floor, and he would like to watch it. I haven’t watched it, and I will before I decide, but it sounds like a good subject matter for 9/11…about heroes and helping others rather than focusing on terror and fear. I hope to watch it tonight and make a decision. If you have any other suggestions, I would love to hear them.
Did you have children ten years ago? How did you talk to them about 9/11? If you are a newer parent, have you told your children about 9/11?