By Maureen Breeze
Images, stories, and reflections of 9/11 will surround us as we approach the tenth anniversary of this tragic day. And how each of us discusses the topic with our children, especially our young ones who’ve grown up with this grave reality, will differ. Some families may pledge to never forget, some may turn away and focus on better times, while others still clamor for answers.
There are many lessons to pass along to our children on this anniversary including how to honor others’ grief; how to initiate healing; how to move forward after the loss of innocence; and how to remain compassionate in a world high-jacked by terrorism. All lessons which are critical for humanity’s evolvement.
Yet as we read, watch T.V., and participate in discussions about 9/11, it is important to remember that reliving these events can be frightening for children and certainly can heighten their vulnerability. As parents, we wish we could promise our children that this will never happen again, that they will always be safe and kept from harms way. And yet, we know this is a promise we can’t make. So what can we do?
I believe the most important thing we can do for our children this coming weekend—to both honor the anniversary and arm them for their future— is to remind them how much they are loved. Embrace them, play together, and create joy. A survivor of insurmountable grief once said that during her darkest days, her memories of being loved, of happier times and feeling connected, is what carried her through the horrific trauma. Without these memories of a better time, she’d never have made it.
So as we approach one of the darkest day’s of our nation’s history, I’ll remind my children that no, we can’t always control the world around us, but we can create love, beauty, and hope for ourselves, for victims of such tragedies, and for future generations.
Maureen Breeze is a parent, academic coach, writer, and teacher. She is also the co-author of LifeBound’s Critical and Creative Thinking for Teenagers and Leadership for Teenagers. She currently works for LifeBound and is finishing her first novel.