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Explaining 9/11

I don't know about you, but I am very sensitive to 9-11 as we approach the 10-year anniversary. There have been several times this week where I have sat on the sofa watching documentaries about this monumental tragedy and wept. I will never get over it!

There are many children who were too young to remember or understand that Tuesday morning a decade ago and may now be asking questions about why such an event occurred. Actually, there are probably many adults who ask the same question.

9-11 changed the world, and I believe the 10th anniversary provides an opportunity to discuss it further as a family. Specifically, there are five issues, which can lead the conversation surrounding this important historical event:

1) The realities of good and evil.Gullible and trusting children need to be aware that there are people who are not good and want to harm others. This can heighten children's sensitivity to potentially dangerous relationships - something every parents longs for their children to be cautious about. Preventing danger begins with education that it exists and is real.

But, on at the same time, this reality can provide a platform to discuss the good in other people. The sacrificial way that countless heroes put their lives in jeopardy for the protection of others is a quality more needed than ever before. We live in a "me first" culture, where children are getting taught they should always be the starter on the ball team, the head cheerleader, the lead in the school play and the focal point of attention. Parents can use 9-11 to verbalize the honor of serving and putting others first. There is no greater love than a willingness to lay down one's life for others.

2) The invaluable attitude of patriotism.Few of today's children understand the greatness of this nation and the lives that have been given by everyday heroes to protect our freedoms and rights. America is the greatest and most opportune land in the world and deserves for its residents to take pride and joy in what it represents and stands for. Children must understand that America is the lighthouse of the world and provides guidance and leadership for all nations and continents.

3) The example of justice and responsibility.Communicating that those who injured others were caught and punished for their actions is the "must" of the day. Every responsible parent should deem the understanding of consequences paramount.

4) Mortality.While many believe children are too young for this type of discussion, it would benefit parents to discuss this reality with sensitivity. Instructing children of the need to spend life wisely and in a worthwhile cause is never in vain. With television and video games portraying death with such simplicity and carelessness, it's no wonder, that for many, life has little worth.

5) Questions about God and the afterlife.The discussion of mortality often leads to questions about God or the afterlife. Parents can share their religious and spiritual beliefs as a stepping stone of using this life as preparation for the next.

-- Jay

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