Editorial Response to September 11, 2001 Events
The following is a last minute editorial written by Lynda Altmann, Editor
of Parenting Plus magazine, to her readers.
It's Our Time, Parents…
On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, our October issue was complete and ready to go to the printer. Then just hours before it left our hands, the unthinkable happened. American buildings and airplanes began crumbling onto our precious soil as did all we, as a generation, took for granted.
I was glued to the television that terrible morning until I had to pick my son up at school. As I waited for him, news radio broadcasts sounded like some cruel War of the Worlds-like prank on the American psyche. But it was real.
Then through tear-filled eyes, I saw my son. He was skipping, not simply walking, as only a carefree 8-year-old silly, wiry boy can and does. I stared at him as he approached desperately trying to absorb his every whimsical movement for somehow I knew even though the story that was unfolding was only two hours old, it would forever shape his future.
I wanted to keep watching him. I wanted his silly dance to never end. But then he leaped into my car. Sensing that he was told nothing about the world's events, I enjoyed his incessant chatting about every little wonderful thing he spoke of about his day. I mentioned nothing on our short drive realizing that once he got home, it would be the same house but not the same world he had left that morning.
I let him view the TV; but as he watched the screen, I watched him knowing that my little boy's eyes were viewing images that brought grown men to their knees. At that moment, I knew his childhood, the one I'd envisioned for him, would never be the same. He looked to me, his mommy, the woman never at a loss for words yet all I could say was, "This is what hate does." That was the best I could do. And days later, it is still all I have.
Parenting Plus could have scrambled and removed existing editorials replacing them with stories fresh off our emails and faxes about terrorism and war but we made a conscious decision to leave the issue as it was except for these two pages. We realize our future issues and parenting articles may take a turn that we never imagined in our worst nightmares but for now, I'd like to look at this issue as I did my little boy on September 11, as they were before hatred touched every American and changed us forever.
To our family of readers who have lost loved ones, we extend our heartfelt sympathies. To the emergency, medical and law enforcers at the scenes of destruction, we sincerely thank you for showing our children (some for the first time) what a true real-life hero looks like. And to all of us raising children, I've always said that parenting is the most difficult and important job on this earth if done well. It just became harder. But together we will find our way. Together we will build new roads to lead our children down. And at the end of those roads we just may be better parents with stronger children because we will do it together. Parenting Plus will be here learning along with you and providing information to you. So please keep in touch, let us know how you and your families are and share your experiences with us.
Everything has changed but don't fear change itself. We may, in the long run, find ourselves in a better place to raise our children. Already flags fly everywhere. Violent Hollywood new releases and video games are being shelved. Strangers are hugging one another. Tolerance for all Americans is being reiterated daily. These are baby-steps that will benefit us all and were all borne in the wake of terror.
Perhaps it's time to look at The Greatest Generation for parenting tips and guidance; "to" parent" not just "be" a parent; to show strength, dignity, compassion and faith that we didn't know we had. It's time to instill in our beautiful American children something this writer confesses to have neglected until now: a true sense of patriotism. It may be our time to see our lifestyles take a temporary downturn but also our time to see our lives permanently become more multi-dimensional and valuable than we ever dreamed. As we arrive at the end of new and uncharted roads, which we'll pave together, it may just be our time in history to become The Next Greatest Generation. Parents, it's our time to prove ourselves. Let's make our children proud.
God bless America.
Copyright © Lynda Altmann, Editor of a Parenting Plus Magazine. Reprinted with permission.