09/10/02
September 11th; Help on the Internet
    by Laurie Taylor

With the anniversary of September 11, many children may be confused and scared because they can not fully understand this tragedy and what they might be able to do in response to it.

When considering how to talk to children about September 11, it's useful to keep in mind the PBSkids website where one can find the comforting advice of the puppets and people on Sesame Street and the calm, familiar face of Mr. Rogers. Mr. Rogers reminds us that often children don't comprehend these traumatic events, and so it is always important to ask them about what they know, to discuss and explain where necessary, and to follow up with questions that make sure that they are not confused. And sometimes it is the simplest advice that works best, like the kind that Mr Rogers' mom offered to him: "When (Fred) Mr. Rogers was a boy and would see scary things on the news, his mother would say to him, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."1

While children can't donate money or give blood, they can give of their love, support, and creativity. Artwork by children already hangs in most schools across the country, in the Pentagon, around the World Trade Center site, and all around the nation as part of memorials to those lost and as a source of inspiration for the rebuilding process. A number of websites offer more ideas and possibilities for children to contribute their imaginative efforts by providing places for children to display their artwork or writing. Other sites, like Myschoolonline.com, present suggestions and guides for projects, like making friendship bracelets in honor of those who were lost and as a way of staying close to others who are coping with other problems. Globalkids.org/ea911 -- ea911 standing for 'everything after 911' -- presents memorials for kids made by kids. But the site also adds an international dimension to these efforts by focusing on how these events have affected other children around the world. Globalkids.org provides message boards so that children can talk to one another and exchange ideas for an international memorial for all the nations that lost loved ones in the attacks. Websites like these are important because they help children to create ways in which they can actively participate -- at home, in school, or on the web -- in this process of coming together to rebuild and to heal.

Notes
1 http://pbskids.org/rogers/parents/sept11.htm.

Copyright 2002 Laurie Taylor

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Monday, 16-Dec-2002 00:07:14 EST


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