9/11 for all ages
My sister plans to explain the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks using the story of the Grinch. When talking with children (most of whom were not yet born on September 11, 2001), she wanted to be as honest as possible, without frightening them. Her insight: use the Dr. Seuss story, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. She’ll ask them if they know who the Grinch is, and ask them about what he stole from the Whos in Whoville (gifts, decorations, musical instruments, food), then ask what the Whos did. Rather than crying, or crumpling in defeat, the Whos gathered in a circle and sang. The spirit of the holiday was not in the gifts, it was in their hearts. Then she’ll draw the parallel: some angry people attacked the World Trade Center, expecting the citizens of the US to crumple in defeat–but we gathered in solidarity and helped each other, expressing the spirit in our hearts. Her church will light candles in memoriam, and the children will be invited to “light” electric tea lights.
It is not a perfect parallel. The US *did* gather in solidarity for a while, but many then turned their rage on innocent Muslim-Americans. And we did start a war on an uninvolved nation… Nevertheless, for young children, this does seem like a decent way of talking about a tragic event, and the positive ways that some of us responded to it.
(original post, with links, at So May We Be)