Last year, I took some heat from an administrator at my school for showing a Brain Pop movie explaining what 9/11 was and its impact on our lives today. The video was well-done and informative, and a perfect fit for sixth graders. Or so I thought. I was told I should have warned parents and that the images of planes crashing into buildings was not appropriate to show (even in cartoon). I don’t know. I teach sixth grade and they need to be ready for the world.
Yesterday, I just had to talk about 9/11, even if I didn’t show a single image or movie. And we had a great series of discussions around tolerance and current events, particularly around the uproar over the Mosque/community center project near Ground Zero (most of my kids did not know what a mosque was) and that pastor in Florida who wants to burn the Quoran. When we made the connection between the Bible and the Quoran, most of the students were very offended (and one student from Turkey was already outraged). We talked about the ongoing war in Afghanistan and its roots in 9/11 (we live near a reserve air base, so many folks in our area have been to the Middle East in recent years).
As it turns out, two of our vocabulary words this week are immigrant and persecution, both of which also gave us an entry point into the diverse nature of our country and how many people have come here to avoid their governments, and the result is that there are many different people, with many different religions, and many different cultural heritages.
And then I told them that, in my family, September 11 is a day of celebration, too. My youngest son turns six years old today and I told my students that in this world, you need to find a balance between the good and bad, and while I will be remembering those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks, I will also be cherishing the joy that my son brings to us.
Peace (in the love, not hate),