My 9/11 survival story

I was at the World Trade Center when it fell.  It’s a great way to teach history to the kids. Or politics. Or science. To tell the kids I was there, and tell them what it was like.

And after that lesson, I could teach them about resilience. Which I think is probably the most important thing in all of the world to learn  in order to have a good life. I learned about resilience in my 9/11 group for post-traumatic stress.

The thing is, the day was horrifying for me.  And I’ve been doing interviews about 9/11 for the last three months, and each time a TV station came, I shielded my sons from hearing the discussion.

But if I shield the kids from what’s horrible, I will shield them from what we learn from what is horrible.

5 replies
  1. Zellie
    Zellie says:

    Hearing an account is less traumatic for young ones than seeing video footage of it. Telling about horrifying events all around the world is too much, but in the context of their (family’s) world, it makes sense that they know something about it. You have to decide how much is too much at what age.

    If you tell it as a traumatized victim I don’t know that they’ll benefit from what you’ve learned, but if they hear it told from a healed point of view, they should surely gain strength from their mom’s.

  2. Someone in WI
    Someone in WI says:

    Penelope… I’m reading between the lines and hope I’m reading it wrong. But between your posts mentioning how single parents shouldn’t homeschool, and about resiliency, and not shielding kids from what’s horrible in life…. I fear things are not going well with The Farmer. There seems to be some sorrow in your posts, too. Yes, resiliency, but still, sorrow. Maybe I’m nuts, and maybe this is all imagined on my part.

    Anyway — still praying for you. Hoping that things are OK.

    • karelys
      karelys says:

      maybe things are just fine. Often things are just fine between the husband and I but I am just not chirpy. That’s just not who I am. Sometimes I have many concerns I just make myself sick.

      I really hope things are okay with the Farmer though.

  3. karelys
    karelys says:

    I was watching game of thrones last night and I was reminded of how, back in the day, parents didn’t innoculate kids from the realities of life. I don’t know when this started to be the norm in America.

    All I know is that your kids will probably have a lot of questions regarding who and why would they attack and kill people, re 9/11.

    I guess trauma happens when reality, or life events are extremely opposite to what we’ve been taught is the norm, what should happen, what life should be like.

    The show is fiction but it’s true in the sense that young boys were trained to kill either to defend their families or trained for war. There was no ptsd. It was just the norm. So people were not traumatized to see blood gushing out of someone or watching the soul leave through someone’s mouth in their last breath.

    There were different stages of growing up for me. And one I distinctly remember truly and deeply hurting at the realization that I had been raised to behave according to how life should be: with honor, respect, no cheating, etc.

    Realizing that it was not how life works and that evil people prosper, that cheaters prosper, that bad stuff happens to good people and I didn’t have a say so in that just really hurt.

    It was hard to embrace. But I wish I had a parent or mentor tell me “this is how it is. I don’t want you to be scared but I don’t want to lie to you either.”

    Maybe your kids will embrace pain as part of life rather than constantly avoid it and live a “safe” life just because they fear pain more than they want the positive outcome that may come from taking a risk.

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