Ten years ago yesterday the world changed and not for the better. The world we woke up to on September 11th, 2001 is a far cry from the world we knew when we laid our heads down that very same night. The kids that were in that classroom that President Bush was reading to are now 16 and 17 years old. They don't necessarily know anything different. This is the way it's pretty much always been for them.
And unfortunately, my boys will not know anything different either. They were born almost 6 years to the day of that horrendous morning. A beautiful, sunny, blue-skied day that turned tragic in a matter of seconds.
When is the right time to explain what happened to your children? And I don't mean the generic "there are bad people in the world and they tried to hurt us" parental explanation for something that we as parents don't want to or are not ready to address with our children. I mean the real explanation. I feel badly for those parents who had to explain the events of that day to their children because they had no choice. It was live and in color and they were going to ask questions.
You can shield your children from many things, but this is something that is in our face and all around us pretty much all the time. Whether it's on TV, at the airport or a train station it's hard to ignore. Security measures are increased and my boys will know nothing of meeting a friend or loved one at the actual gate of their flight to welcome them home or pick them up. That would be a total foreign concept to them, however it was commonplace just a short time ago. At what age would they even begin to comprehend what happened, the ripple effect it has had on the world as a whole and how it changed their futures? It's such a complex situation and it's difficult to grasp the gravity of it that there are some adults that still don't understand it.
How deep do you go when discussing it? Do you stop at that day? Do you go into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? What about the economy? What about before 9/11 and how past events had a role? They need to know how it is all intertwined, yet can they understand and comprehend it? It will affect them without them even knowing it, and it already has.
I used to think that the "sex" talk and the "drugs" talk would be the most difficult talks I had with my sons. Now I'm not so sure.