How can we communicate the emotions that came as we watched the events of 9/11 unfold ... to our children? The hurt, fear, and hope are at times just as raw now as they were then. With the 10th anniversary of September 11th, 2001 quickly approaching, parents should take the opportunity to explain what happened to children – as they’ll see evidence of the anniversary this year – and how we’re moving forward as a nation.
I want my children to understand why we remember September 11th. I do not want them to know it all, nor do I want them to hear about the details that I myself wish I could forget. I do however, want them to know that it is our duty to honor the men and women who sacrificed for strangers and about how our nation united as one to stand on broken ground.
They do not need to know the exact details of how lives were lost that day, but from this tragedy we have learned so much and that should be shared. God can use even the most dire of days to teach us and help us to grow.
Our worries and concerns, our desires for material possessions, and our need to get everything on our to-do list done stopped mattering for a moment. It was a moment we all stood together and prayed to God, knowing it was only Him who could give us the peace that just a day before we had taken for granted.
So, how do you relay these feelings to a young child? How do you explain why this tragedy is so important to our history?
I decided to do a few things with my own children to help them learn about why we should remember September 11th. I would love to hear how you have explained this day to your children as well (comment below).
Here are a few of my ideas:
Make a craft with your child.
We made a wreath. We used ten hearts to adorn it and the kids decorated the hearts with their hand prints. So many hearts and hands helped on that day and I wanted to convey that in our craft.
Have a set time to remember.
You can have a special tree planting or ceremony to take a moment to remember those lost on 9/11.
Set up a prayer meeting.
Have your children invite friends and family over to pray about to pray for our future as a country and for those who lost loved ones 10 years ago and the others who served as first responders. You do not need to go into much detail to have your child pray for our nation and our safety.
Talk about the good.
September 11th is a day that causes many of us to fear even 10 years later. Of course, we do not want our children to feel unsafe or worry about what could happen. It is important to talk in a way that doesn’t scare them. Focus on some of the good that has come out of the wrong done against our nation. Talk about how people worked together to rebuild and supported one another.
Share Bible verses about peace and hope.
When the planes hit the Twin Towers in New York City, I was at church. My pastor and I were praying together when he handed me a Post It Note with Jeremiah 29:11 written on it.
I for one know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
I still have that note. Ten years ago, those words spoke volumes to me and they still do to this day. My pastor had handed me the paper before we were even told about the Twin Towers, the planes, the Pentagon, and the other horrible acts that happened that day. It showed me that God’s words echo in our lives. No matter the gravity of the problem, He is always with us. I want my children to grasp that promise. Bible verses can mean so much to a child who may be fearful or uncertain.
My prayers go out to the victims’ families and to those who lost so much on that day. We should always remember because even in a catastrophe such as September 11th, God showed Himself to us many times. That day may stand out as devastating, but it is also made up of many miracles.