We Will Remember Them

My son told me last night he “doesn’t get” Remembrance Day. He seemed a little forlorn about it – everyone else in his class understands what’s going on, but he, for whatever reason, is feeling a little out of the loop.

D is seven, he’s learned about Remembrance Day in school for the past four years, he knows about the poppies we wear, we’ve shown him pictures and told stories of our grandfathers who were in WWII, talked about the brave soldiers who fought to keep others safe, and about being thankful for the country we live in. He says he knows all that, but it’s all about people he never knew who died a long time ago and he just doesn’t get it.

grandpa
My grandfather, who served as a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot in WWII.

I read an article from Today’s Parent about others dealing with similar issues. Getting younger kids to grasp the horrors of war without getting into the horror part is a tough task. We want them to understand those long-ago soldiers’ bravery and sacrifice, but we don’t want to give them nightmares either. D’s in that rough-and-tumble little boy stage where he thinks fighting is cool, and not something we should be trying to avoid at all costs.

After the kids went to bed last night, my husband and I joked about sitting D down to watch Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List, but again there’s the whole NOT scaring the bejesus out of him part.  There must be a kid-friendly movie out there that helps to explain in terms he can understand. I know there are a ton of books for younger kids to help broach the subject, which we’ll have to look into for next year.

So parents, let’s hear from you. How do you talk about Remembrance Day with your kids? For those of you with older kids, was there a light bulb moment when it clicked?

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