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Why I’m Not Telling My Children About 9/11… Yet…

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We will always remember.

As I was driving my son home from preschool on September 11 last year, he said, “Mom, want to know something really sad?”

Of course I did.

“There were these two planes, and they crashed into twin towers.  One plane hit each tower.”

I’m glad I wasn’t looking at him, because I’m sure there was an expression of shock on my face.

Turns out another 4 year old boy told him about 9/11 in preschool.

I knew that he’d learn about 9/11 eventually, but I really thought that could wait until he was older.  Much older than 4.

After the Sandy Hook tragedy, I remember I thought to myself, how am I going to talk to my daughter about this?  She was 6 at the time.  The same age as many of the victims.

But then, I decided I liked that my daughter believed that the world was good.  I like that she has fantasies about mermaids and fairies, and still believes in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.  I felt that telling her about such a horrific incident would just shatter her childhood innocence.  I decided that the statistical likelihood of a Sandy Hook incident happening at her school was so small that I’d take the risk that I hadn’t prepared my daughter with what to do if a crazed gunman came into her school.

Just as I didn’t talk to either of my kids about Sandy Hook, I also haven’t talked to them about 9/11 or any of the other mass shootings or terrorism in our country.  I was a bit shocked that a parent at my son’s preschool did choose to tell their 4 year old about 9/11.

After my son told me that “sad story”, I nodded and said, “huh”, purposely not giving it any more reaction than I would one of his tall tales.  One day I will talk to both of my children about 9/11, and I will tell them how it impacted me and how scary it was.  But for now, I want my son to think that story about the planes hitting buildings was just another story that a 4 year old made up.

I quickly asked him what letters and numbers he learned at school and steered the conversation a different way.

On this thirteenth anniversary of September 11, I had tears filling my eyes on my way to work as I listened to the tribute on NPR where survivors talked about the loved ones they lost.  I think about the mothers that were pregnant that day and lost their husbands, and how those children are now teenagers.  The world keeps moving, but we will never forget.

As for my own children, this is yet another year where I choose not to tell them about this tragedy.  Here’s to childhood innocence.  May we preserve it as long as we can.

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About Lynnette Bellin

Lynnette Bellin
Lynnette Bellin is the owner and site manager of the Reno Moms Blog. She is a married mother of a tween girl and a rambunctious little boy. Lynnette moved to Reno in 2001 after choosing to live in a place that she loved for its natural beauty. Lynnette has written four children's books, including The Kindness Ninja and a series of three books called Adeline’s Magical Moments Collection. She has been obsessed with blogging since 2002. She is also on the board of Think Kindness, a local non-profit that inspires measurable acts of kindness. Lynnette loves to experience the outdoor adventures in our area, including skiing, hiking, camping, and open water swimming. She is especially thrilled to have her kids starting to love the same hobbies, and spends a lot of time shuttling them to the pool, Lake Tahoe or the ski area depending on the season. Lynnette’s life is a blur of kid activities, mediating sibling arguments, making homemade meals, and hugs and kisses, mixed with days of working in content marketing.

One comment

  1. I’m with you, Lynnette! Let’s let our children stay children just a bit longer rather than subjecting them to the horrors of the world.

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