I got a text from one of my co-workers last night with the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death. It took me just 2 seconds to look at my twitter feed to see what had happened. I spent the rest of the evening watching the President’s speech, the news networks, the celebration in the streets of NYC and ground zero, it was on every TV station and all over the internet.
My kids were in bed so I didn’t have a chance to talk to them and I’m glad I had time to think about what I was going say. They will undoubtedly hear the news at school and from their friends. My fear with every “big” topic in life be it the birds and the bees or major news stories is that my children will hear it from someone who doesn’t share my values or explains difficult topics in a scary way. Use this historic event to connect with your kids.
I have three kids. One is too young to understand (18 months) but my girls are 10 and 6. Here is what I intend to talk to them about. I’d love to hear from you on how you talked to your kids about this day in our history.
Refection - 3,500 people died in the 9/11 attacks. They were people just like you and me. Many kids won’t know about 9/11 or the significance of that day nearly 10 years ago. I’ll be telling my girls that those people were Moms, Dads, kids and people very loved and missed today.
Patriotism - Americans gathered in many places waving flags, chanting, singing. I’ll be telling my kids that we may have disagreements when it comes to government but we stand together in moments like this.
Murder? - This is the hardest to explain. We saw a lot of celebration and the video from the initial announcement was very jovial. Kids might be confused by the happy nature someone’s death. I’ll explain to my kids that Osama Bin Laden was a very bad person who made bad decisions. People who make bad decisions usually end up in a bad place. Our government did what it needed to do to protect innocent people like those who died on 9/11.
Thankfulness - I tell my kids all the time how thankful I am to live a comfortable life and to have a healthy, loving family. This is once again a good chance to tell them how people around the world live in terrible conditions where they don’t have the freedom to believe whatever they want and they are under terrible scrutiny for their choices and religion. We should be very thankful for our freedom!
Terrorism is real – Our kids may not know what terrorism is and unfortunately terrorism still exists despite the death of Osama Bin Laden. We can teach our kids to be aware of their surroundings and to watch for things that not normal. We can also remind them that the death of this terrorist is the beginning of the end of terrorism but it’s a war our nation is still fighting.
Pray for others – This is specific to my family but can be personalized with your beliefs. I’ll be telling my girls that God loves all of us even those who are evil but I’ll remind them that we have to practice that love in return. We’ll pray for the families who are living without their loved ones and we’ll pray for peace.
Blessings to you as you take this time with your kids.
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Natalie discusses with an expert on the show the subject of talking to your kids about Osama bin Laden.
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