I'm a New Yorker. Here’s How I Teach My Son About 9/11

September 11, 2001 is woven into the city where my son grows and learns, and it is a story he needs to hear. Here's what I tell him.

It happens every year around this time. I emerge from the subway, leave a play, or walk out into my backyard, and there it is again: Two piercing blue lights racing razor-straight into the dark skies. It’s jarring, in a somber and soft kind of way, I can feel it in my whole body.

A few years ago, something new happened when I saw that ghostly tribute to the Twin Towers. My son asked, “Dad, what’s that?”

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York alone are not easy to talk to young kids about. Along with the sadness of so much death, there is introducing a kind of evil that would kill thousands of innocents out of depthless hatred. For kids, especially kids in New York City, comes the fear of it happening again.

When the time came to tell our son, my wife stumbled upon a remarkable resource. In 2002, Maira Kalman wrote and created the art for an extraordinary children’s book called “Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey.” The beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a decommissioned fireboat bought and restored by some friends for fun. On 9/11, the boat not only helped ferry people from lower Manhattan, it was pressed into its original service and once again put out fires.

The book’s focus on positive action while not being shy about what really happened that day makes it a great introduction to the tragic events.

There were firefighters, police, and more who rushed in because they knew their duty and loved their fellow man. These are universal stories that our boys and girls need to hear. They are songs as old as man.

Read it all @ Telling the story of 9/11

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