August 29, 2016 was our daughter’s Sweet 16 birthday which also marks the 16th Anniversary of Berks · Fire · Water Restorations. For an extra special birthday, instead of a party, she asked to go to New York City with the family. She had a vision of a great weekend with many NYC adventures that included a picnic in Central Park and a visit to 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
Our youngest son is 6 years old. In the business of our lives, we did not take the time to think about how our 6 year old would process the visit to the 9/11 Memorial. We did not think through the impact, the explanations he would expect or even whether it was appropriate for him to go.
We visited the 9/11 Museum and Memorial for the first time and experienced it through the eyes of our 6 year old son. Our visit had a profound impact on each of us as individuals, as a family, and we had to explain why and how this happened in our world. He saw all the “mommies and daddies that were killed” He asked, “ how many children died.”
Then, we got to the “bad guys”; he could not find peace in the fact that the men who did this were dead; you could see and sense the fear in him. He did not understand how these men did this horrific act without care of their very own lives. He could not understand the force that could compel other human beings to do what they had done.
We comforted him and affirmed all of his feelings, and simply explained the importance of protecting each other and standing united in the face of evil. We explained that we were all feeling “sad”, that it is okay to feel that way and that we will never forget the lives of all the “good people” that were lost on that horrific day.
Together we must consider what we tell our children and how to help them feel safe and secure.
That evening, at home in Pennsylvania, we were going to bed and he looked up at me and said, “Mommy – I can’t stop thinking about the planes flying into the buildings.”
With Grateful Hearts,
Ted and Lisa