I wrote the following editorial for our local weekly paper.
Every year around this time, I tend to have some pretty serious conversations with my kids, as I certain most parents do. Over the years, I have explained to them that in every generation there are moments in time in which the world as we know it changes. There are events that take place that are so profound, the details of where we are, who we are with, are seared into our minds forever.
For my parent’s generation, it was when President John F. Kennedy was shot. To this day, my mom can recount being in kindergarten and hearing the principal of her school announce that they would be going home early due to the tragedy.
For my generation, it was the Challenger explosion. I very clearly remember my third-grade class joining my sister’s fifth-grade class to watch the launch live. I was sharing a small desk chair with my sister as we watched, not fully knowing what was happening. I still remember her reaching over to hold my hand.
For most of us, September 11, 2001, left that mark on us. Where we were, what we were doing, who we were with.
Whether directly or indirectly affected, our nation collectively held our breath.
My oldest child was a baby, while my other children were all born post-9-11.
Over the years I have explained to my children how these days, these events change and mold us as a society, as a people.
Whether it be with the JFK assassination, the Challenger explosion, or the horrors of 9-11, the result is the same. It is a loss of innocence, a single event that changes the world as we knew it into something new.
The world as we knew it was no more. Flying regulations were put into effect, safety procedures that had never been considered now have become commonplace.
As parents, our challenge is to raise our kids in a world that requires vigilance while not removing their innocence and wonder at the world around them.
As my children have become teens, we have discussed these momentous days, with the hope that when one happens for their generation, and it will, they are aware. I want them to take a moment to stop, to feel the gravity of that moment, to recognize the importance. Then I want them to step out and help make the new version of the world the best it can be.
Most importantly, I want them to learn about the very best of humanity that rises to the top when tragedy occurs. As a people, we are resilient, we are strong, we are caring. While it is true that terrible things happen, we cannot let these events define who we want to be.