How do you talk to your 8 year old about 9/11, when you don’t believe the official story?

On September 11, 2001, I like everyone across the world was watching television as two planes entered the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.  I saw people falling from the buildings as they collapsed into a sea of chaos with panic and fear spreading through the city as it did through the nation.. the world.  I had never heard of World Trade Center building 7 nor had I heard that no plane had ever entered the Pentagon.  It all happened so fast, the story of what happened seemed secondary to the fear.. the tremendous fear..  I was not a mother at this time and it never once occurred to me that this was something I would ever have to discuss with my future children.  Two years later, I became a mother for the first time.  After a difficult infancy filled with Emergency Room visits, a surgery and two weeks in the hospital I gave 9/11 very little thought.  It was not until years later watching a rembrance show on the History Channel that I would hear stories of boogie men carrying box cutters and cell phone calls made at 30,000 feet.  Having been raised with a keen distrust of government it didn’t take me long to feel something was rotten in the state of New York.  Throughout the years I would continue to catch glimpses of the lies, first in Michael Moore’s film “Fahrenheit 9/11” (and I don’t particularly consider myself a fan although I did like his “Capitalism a Love Story” until it turned into “Obama and Socialism, a Love Story”) anyway.. It was clear that lies had been told and nothing was as it appeared.  Internet fixations brought this awareness to a new level with constant reminders of the discrepancies, the illogicalness of a building collapsing at free fall speed (kind of like a controlled demolition), all of which followed by the fake war on terror.  Mind you I am not a 9/11 truth junkie combing over thousands of documents and scenarios, over hundreds of hours of footage with a vast array of circumstances from elaborate plots laid out by Israel to countless scientific facts about the engineering impossibility of such of an event occurring in the manner in which it occurred.  Nevertheless, I know there is very little chance that the official story can be remotely close to the truth.

 

Nearly 10 years later on September 9, 2011 my oldest son is now 8 years old and it has still never crossed my mind that I will one day need to discuss this event with my children, until that day.. became today.  As I’m shutting the door behind me while my two sons and I are each carrying a bucket of recycling, my eldest son turns to me and asks “do you remember September 11, 2001?”  My initial response, “Huh?”  Question is repeated and this time a coherent response, “Yes”.  “Mommy, did you know that two planes entered the twin towers knocking over the buildings? Did you know that it was all planned by an evil man who was the boss and wanted to take over the world?”  My response, “Uhmm..”  “Yes Mommy, he is dead and we celebrated because we should, because he killed so many people.”  Oh dear, “is this what they’re teaching him”, goes through my mind.  I quickly respond with a series of questions.  “Did you know that it was never proven that that man did it, did you know he was never convicted of a crime, arrested or had a chance to appear in front of judge and jury?  How can we celebrate the death of someone we don’t know caused the crime, is it right to celebrate someone’s death anyway?”  I then ask if his teacher had shown him video footage of the event.  Yes, she had.  I take out a bottle from one of the recycle bins and place it on the ground asking my son to pretend his hand is the plane and to crash into it.  Quickly he realizes this will knock over the bottle and tries to hold it down with his other hand.  “No, don’t hold it down, just pretend to be the airplane.”  “Vroooomm… Crash”  The bottle knocks over.  “Did the bottle collapse?” I ask.  “No” he responds.  “What did it look like when the buildings went down?” I continue.  With his hands he visually tells the story.. “pop pop pop pop…” moving his hands like a falling house of cards.  “Why didn’t they knock over like the bottle?”  I ask.  “Because there was an earthquake,” he responds.  “No, there wasn’t an earthquake.”  I reply. “What do you think causes an explosion like that?”  I continue.  “I dunno.. (long pause) a bomb, Mommy?”  I answer with a shrug of the shoulders.  A long pause as a look of confusion washes over my son’s face.  “I don’t think it happened like they say,” he responds.  For a minute I feel proud, followed by a deep concern.  I know my homeschooling friends will say “this is why I homeschool, so the teacher’s don’t feel my children’s head with nonsense.”  While this is a valid reason, I wonder if I did the right thing by leading my 8 year old who still exists in a magical world to re-examine from a logical prospective.  Did I not mold his mind to my way of thinking?  Was he not trying to please me by changing his view?  I think back to when I was a child and I can’t recall any event where I came home with official stories of Kennedy assassinations and having either of my parents lead me to question it.  As a child I would not give the lone gunman theory a second thought until age 18 when I went to see Oliver Stone’s JFK.. with my parents.  I remember staying up to wee hours of the morning with my father as he recounted all the discrepancies he had discovered over the years, debunking the official Lee Harvey Oswald story with conviction.  Later in a conversation with my paternal Grandmother (who shared my love of movies), about JFK she would tell me that as a teen-ager my father would obsess over Kennedy conspiracy theories with countless newspaper and magazine collections pointing out the barrage of disparages.  Why was I not aware of this until now?  Did my parents do the right thing allowing the school to fill my head with this official historical nonsense or perhaps they did insert an ounce of skeptism without my knowledge?  Is that what makes a critical thinker?  Hmmm.. this forgotten art.  Critical Thinking!  Critical thinking does not come when one merely inserts their mind’s eye view into yours.  It often appears when you least expect it and gives little warning.  It’s that pesky little itch that doesn’t go away until you scratch.  Is that what allowed me to watch the History Channel piece and not see just their story, but the story beneath, in between, above and all around?  I am reminded that my son is 8 and it was just a little over a year ago that he went around telling everyone he was a Hobbit.  Of course he’ll believe in fairy tales.  What’s more is that maybe I want him to hear the official story and not because I told him “hey son this is the official story but that’s all bullshit..”  No, because I want him to practice the forgotten art of critical thought.  I would prefer that over time as his fantasy world sadly becomes more reality, he will see and cut through the lies.  So when I ask the question “how do you talk to your 8 year old about 9/11, when you don’t believe the official story?”  I am in no way being rhetorical or claiming to have an answer.  I am quite sincerely asking.  I am quite sincerely wondering, if I handled this correctly.  I know this is one in a series of difficult questions I will be asked as a parent.  I both dread and look forward to them as I do each year as my children age.  I am both filled with pride for their accomplishments and sorrow for their innocence.. as it passes.  My hope is that one day in the future my son will return to me on this topic asking “did you know that no plane ever hit World Trade Center building 7 and it went down anyway?”  If I do my job right and allow him to ask the questions and not proclaim to have all the answers, this day should come but for today “let’s play a little longer with your castles and knights, son.” -April Boden

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