Listen to the children on 9/11
Most children below high school-age have no remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001. As the 10th anniversary of the tragic day is marked, they will see images and hear stories of the devastating loss in the days and weeks leading up to Sept. 11. Pastors, teachers and parents may not be able to answer all of their questions, but we can share God's gift of prayer and help provide a sense of peace and understanding.
Peaceful Remembrance of September 11, 2001: Forty Days of Prayer for Children offers scripture, music and other activities that will help children faithfully process what they are seeing and hearing. Download it at www.gbod.org/children.
Other ways to help children deal with the anniversary include:
- Listen as they ask questions and express fears or concerns. Discuss what occurred openly as is appropriate for their age and understanding. Reassure them as you listen to their observations and concerns
- Give children the space to talk, draw or write about the images and stories they are seeing. Limit "screen time" (TV, computer or other) they spend watching 9/11-anniversary-related programs.
- Enable children to find ways to do good for others. As a family, take treats to local emergency workers. Join with your church or another group to serve others.
- Pray, light a candle or sing a special song each day to remind them of God's love for them and all the children in the world.
Melanie Gordon, director, ministry with children, General Board of Discipleship