9/11/08

Making History

9/11 still makes me weepy and a bit off. And it's a dreary day. Rain makes me weepy and a bit off too. I don't mind though. Some days are good for being weepy and getting the emotions out.

I often sing that little crying song to Miles and Asher,

"It's alright to cry.
Crying gets the sad out of you.
It's alright to cry.
It might make you feel better."

Sometimes I sing it to myself too. But in my head rather than out loud. It feels sort of crazy to cry, rock back and forth, and sing.

So yeah, I'm a bit off today. I've never been good at wrapping my mind around time. When someone said this morning that it has been seven years since the terrorist attack on NYC, I just felt a bit stumped. SEVEN? How is that possible. I'm sure the families of the people who died on planes and in the towers feel as though it happened yesterday. Even though life's pace picked up and raced right along without waiting for them to catch up.

I want to be able to tell my boys about that day seven years ago when they're old enough to understand. I remember it vividly. But I'm sure a lot of the gravity of it all has faded without me noticing. I wonder if they'll be interested. I know that I never took history all that seriously as a kid. I didn't fully care to understand Vietnam or Pearl Harbor, World Wars or the Depression. As most kids go, I was pretty much only focused on my current world and the atrocities therein. You know, like not being able to get the safety pins lined up correctly at the bottom of my cinched jeans and making sure my bangs were high enough.

So how do we help our children understand that history matters? That lives have been effected and it brings us to where we are today. That the good and the bad that we are today can be chalked up to Faithful History. We couldn't escape it if we tried. It happens, it changes us, and then the clock moves forward like a hunter, reaching out to grab more history.

Maybe teaching our children about past history is all about how we deal with what is happening in the present. Maybe if we live by example, pointing out what's going on in the world and moving to action, the desire to see outside of themselves will be contagious.

"Miles, something really hard is happening in Haiti. Right now. Today. We can't see Haiti, because it's really far away. And maybe you haven't heard about it because not many people are talking about it. But people are having a hard time because of a storm. Let's go to our mailbox and send money to Haiti. They need it for food, clean water, clothes and a place to stay. Let's go now so we don't forget."

I want my boys to know that history is in the making whenever they act. It is in the way they treat others in the big world around them. It's in the goals and dreams they aspire to, and the way they treat themselves. Maybe if we praise them for the ways they positively effect their world, it will bring them to a curiosity of how others have done the same in years past. History is people surviving, thriving, failing and trying again, shaping, changing, moving into action. Making history.

(the "send money to Haiti" link above will bring you to a really great blog you may not have discovered. There's a lot of information there on the devastation in Haiti and ways to help.)

12 clicked right here to comment:

a Tonggu Momma said...

Wise words, Heather. Wise words. I'm so glad I read this post, especially today.

mike said...

dad is very proud of his baby daughter, if you read her thoughts in this weird blog world i'm sure you understand.

Heather of the EO said...

Today marks the day that My Dear Old Dad learned how to COMMENT!

Thank you, Bapa. You make me proud too.

Adam and Kristina said...

Great post. Just got back from my training. The majority of it sucked, but they started with showing a video that was made by a Muslim, of other Muslims, holding signs of what they want us to know. It was funny, sweet, and moving.

Thanks for the wise words.

(I'll be sending you an email shortly. :))

Peanut said...

Doesn't the responsibility of having to teach our kids about all thus important stuff (justice, care for others, poverty, grief) sometimes overwhelm you? It does me. But then I see your dad's sweet comment and think that, even though we were all busy making our bangs stand higher... we did get it... eventually... in time to pass it on to the next generation. I think we're probably doing ok.

MidnightCafe said...

You know, I like what you said about noting & making current history with our kids. I'm not sure they can grasp the old history (like, you know, from back when we were kids) until at least college or sometime thereafter. Vespera is in high school, and, although she understands cognitively the relevance of history, she just can't get into it. I know I didn't really get into it until I was older and had lived long enough to understand the impact. But that shouldn't stop us from teaching our kids about the world as it is today. Great post!!

MidnightCafe said...

Oh, and HI to Heather's dad!!!

Abra said...

I didn't fully understand "history" until 9/11. Then it dawned on me, and a sobering thought came to my head. "Here we are, in the midst of an historic event, and my children are going to read about it in their history book." Which then led to the other thought: "I wonder what they'll take out of "history" to make room for this... and anything else to come..."

I also remember exactly what I was doing when I heard about it on the radio. Deklan was almost two, Piper almost one, and I took stopped outside of 7-11, Deklan, of course could walk, Piper could not, and I took the carseat out of the car and almost flipped her onto the side walk. The handle had not locked into place. I will never forget that moment. I almost face-planted Piper, and I had not fully absorbed the primary tragedy yet!

JCK said...

This was a lovely post, Heather. I also want to wait until my children are older before broaching these subjects. But, history is important. Especially as we as humans seem to repeat ourselves...

I look forward to digging into your blog. Thanks for being patient in waiting for me to come over. I appreciate all the comments you've left on my blog.

Congrats on your Dad commenting! :)

Kelly @ Love Well said...

For some reason, the ending of your post -- here's how you can help the desperate in Haiti -- was the perfect foil to the heaviness of 9-11.

Yes, the world is a horrible, painful place. But through the grace of God, we can act to make a difference.

charrette said...

I love your perspective on teaching children the importance of history by teaching them they are making history. Great post.

p.s. I love that your dad commented. It made my day the first time my dad left a comment on by blog too.

Kimberly said...

What a beautiful lesson to teach them!

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