Tough Conversations

Posted by Jon in HB | 8:20 PM | 4 comments »

Tomorrow is a day of remembrance at Dylan and Megan's school. All the kids will be wearing red, white, and blue and there will be a moment of silence. At dinner tonight we were talking about it. Megan asked what we will be remembering tomorrow. Gina explained that it is a day to remember a bunch of people that died.
The kids immediately began listing names of dead relatives. "You mean like Grandma Birdie?" "Are we remembering Grandpa Gundry?"
Gina and I started to explain it, but just tapped danced around the subject. I guess we felt that it was too much for a kindergartner and a second grader to digest during family dinner.
Then I thought, where do I want my children to hear about important things like 9/11? From friends making casual comments about it, or wait until they get old enough to surf the web and come across idiotic conspiracy theories like 'Loose Change'?

So I began to explain it to them as best as I could and realized how do you sum up such a horrific cowardly act to your child. How do you make them understand that there are people in this world that hate them, simply because of where there were born. How do you explain to them that tomorrow they might see mommies, daddies, teachers and friends cry for people they never met. How do you make them feel safe and let them know this won't happen to them. How do you let them know that there won't be terrorists on our plane in October when we travel to Indiana for their Great-Grandmother's 100th birthday party.

I guess you just do your best. You put it plainly and simply and if they have more questions, they'll ask. And at the end of the night you tuck them into bed, kiss their check, and snuggle them a little tighter, and pray.


  1. tony // September 11, 2008 at 6:22 AM  

    I agree, you do your best. Tell them that you love them, that you're there for them, and as long as you can, you'll take care of them. Teach them that this sort of hatred and conflict doesn't improve the world in any way.

    I don't have to deal with any children of my own yet, and it's still a hard thing to deal with. Even my girlfriend will ask "Why do they hate us?"

    It really comes down to "Why do they hate?" and how do you teach people to channel hatred into something more positive.

    Anyhow. It's simply bad timing that this was the first entry I read of your blog, but I'll be checking it now, so you better keep me entertained!

    -Tony B.

  2. Heidi // September 11, 2008 at 6:21 PM  

    Good post Jon. I was a little concerned about what would be said at school today. Hope is in first grade, and I was having a tough time with wondering, "how young is too young?" How do you talk about it without scaring them?

    I like what you said - especially the part about hugging them a little tighter and praying. It's so important....

  3. Diane Davis // September 11, 2008 at 9:58 PM  

    great post. it doesn't seem like that long ago to me, so it is strange to think about friends with small kids who were not even born yet. evil in general is a pretty tough thing to talk about with kids. sounds like you and gina did a great job with it.

  4. Sarah B. // September 12, 2008 at 8:50 AM  

    This was the first year we had to talk about it too. Their father's are both in the military and one is actually over in Afghanistan right now so they know about "the war" and that they are over their to protect people and us but this was the first time they had to hear the beginning of the whole story. Neither one of them got scared (I was very honest) but more or less shocked that their are people out there with that much anger and hate and it made me sooooo grateful that they are surrounded with people that have so much love that they wouldn't be able to understand the hate and anger. This is the tough part of parenting...explaining the world.