Monday, September 12, 2011

Memorials and Remembering

I had the television on Sunday morning; most stations were airing the memorial services from 9/11. Our boys were both born several years after that event. They are probably oblivious that there is a war going on because of it (not because we intentionally keep it from them, but just because it really hasn't come up much in our daily discussions).

They were mesmerized by the coverage of the events in New York. And at that point it was mostly just names being read, but they didn't want the channel changed. Our 7 year old asked what it was about. So we explained what happened (actually my wife did as I was taking care of something else at that point). It was good for them to know that and see what was happening 10 years later. People were still remembered. That's important. They need to know that events and people will be remembered.

A few years back we were with my grandmother on Memorial Day weekend. We went with her and my sister to the cemetery where my grandfather, great-grandparents and other family members are buried. I never knew my grandfather. But it's important to remember and respect. It's important for children to see that as well. We haven't been able to get back for Memorial Day to a cemetery, but we still talk about our family members who the boys never got to meet. It's important that we remember.

We remember events and places, too. After watching a movie that brought Anders to tears recently because the family was getting too busy ("successful") to have time for one another after they had moved to a bigger house. We talked about our old places where we've lived. We talked about neighborhood friends and things we used to do in those places (walks around the pond, playing with neighbors in the pond, community events). we also talked about our place, friends and opportunities now.

Sometimes we try to protect children from death and loss. And while they don't need to see the horrors of war or other tragic events, death is a part of life. We can't hide it from them. Rather, it is good to remember. It is good to acknowledge. It is good for children to see that life matters as we remember those who have passed away, as we remember tragic events.

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