Pausing to Remember 9/11

I had a recent conversation with friends who are sending their first child to kindergarten this year. It occurred to all of us that it feels different to send our children now than it did in 2001. My oldest daughter started kindergarten a week before the terrorist attack on 9/11.

We, at Two Writing Teachers, pause today to remember all the lives that were lost and the heroes who gave their all in trying to save others. In 2016, Kathleen referenced Fred Rogers who stressed the importance of looking for helpers. You can watch his 58 second video here. It remains one of my favorite affirmative videos.

If you are looking for ways to mark this day with your students, please visit Stacey Shubitz’s post she wrote on the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Additionally, TIME published an article just yesterday about ways to address this historic event in middle and high schools. The featured image in this post is from that article.

While some children may be curious and want to ask questions or talk about these events, other children may become upset, and we need to be sensitive to the spectrum of reactions. Many of us teach younger children, and here are a few considerations inspired by the National Association of School Psychologists :

  1. Reassure children that they are safe. Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate their feelings.
  2. Redirect curious children to their caregivers. Acknowledge their questions by saying something along the lines of, “That’s an important question, and you should ask your parent/caregiver about it.”
  3. Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate. Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them.

While every day is an opportunity to practice kindness, put our arms around the people we love, and cherish all that is good in our lives, perhaps today is an especially good day to remember the importance of doing those things.

Peace to all of you.