Parents talk about 9/11 with a new generation
Bishop LeBlond High School/St. Joseph, Mo.
COLUMBIA — Ten years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, mention of the event brought tears to Christine Sandvol’s eyes.
For her 7-year-old son, Paul, talk of 9/11 brought a look of confusion.
“Why would they do it on purpose?” the boy asked his mother during an evening trip for ice cream at Sparky’s.
The unexpected question sparked a conversation many Columbia parents may face as children born in the past decade become aware of the attacks.
Ahoo Tabatabai already has a plan for discussing 9/11 with her son, Kaveh, who is 3.
“I want to be able to teach him about it as soon as he can understand,” she said.
Tabatabai wants to teach Kaveh about the Sept. 11 attacks “in context of events from all over.” She plans to teach him about events leading up to the day, as well as the changes that followed.
Another mother, Diana Carter, had to think about how she will tell her 5-year-old daughter, Alice, about 9/11.
“I don’t think I would treat it differently than any other event resulting in death,” Carter said.
Sandvol, whose son’s question led to an impromptu discussion at a sidewalk café table, said Wednesday that she had planned to tell Paul about Sept. 11 whenever the subject came up.
Over ice cream on Ninth Street, she told him a “crazy person” had flown a plane into a building on purpose and that many people died because of it. She kept the story simple, avoiding details.
Further explanation, she said, can wait.