Over the weekend I struggled like I do every September 11th. This year was harder than most, because twenty years is a significant amount of time, and much attention was being called to it. It was hard to believe so much time had passed, and still (sometimes) hard to process the emotions we feel as adults. I can not possibly imagine how a child would process this.
I know my children don’t remember, because they are only 4 and 6 years old. With so much coverage about the anniversary, it made me start to think, how do I explain this to my children?
My children have lived through a pandemic, rioting, shootings, shutdowns, a war against the police, racism, the events surrounding the war in the middle east, face masks, and closed playgrounds to name a few things.
My kids probably know more than the average child their age. It is not because daddy is a United States marine, or for any other reason than we have been as honest as we could with them. We are also trying to raise good humans. We have been honest about what is going on in the world, so they know how to navigate this mess because if we are in the end times the Bible speaks of, it will only get worse.
This is something we find harder to navigate each day. Thankfully we are not alone, and we have God on our side, guiding us as parents. I can not imagine living in a world like this without a loving God like the one we have.
This year alone, we switched to homeschooling full time (not just remote learning, we pulled them out completely), they witnessed the remains of a Korean war vet be returned home as their daddy helped escort him with the VFW. My children have never argued when they were told they had to stay inside, and they did not complain when they stood on an overpass, in the bright summer sun, to salute a police officer, killed in the line of duty, and going home.
I then also had to explain to my children why I always say, “I love you,” to Officer Jeff, a friend of the family, when we hang up the phone. Have you ever had to explain “in case it’s the last time we talk,” to a four- and six-year-old? That one not only tripped me up but choked me up.
So, what does this have to do with 9.11?
Well, nothing and everything.
I decided, having dealt with the aftermath of watching our military family fall apart, (to include their own father) in response to the actions in Afghanistan, this isn’t the time to explain 9.11. They have handled SO much in such a short amount of time, and honestly, I am so proud of them. I felt as though they did not need this one other HUGE thing to think about and process.
I lucked out and made it through the weekend without having to explain it, but there was still something not quite right. While I know my kids can handle a lot, and I’m proud of them for it, I missed HUGE opportunities to grow them in the ways of the Lord.
I did not even realize how bad I missed out on the opportunities until I saw a headline from Liz Spenner which was posted on Her View From Home. Her article “I Want To Raise Children Who Stop And Pray at Sirens” caught me from out of nowhere. While my kids know how to pray, and they do so, at the appropriate time, I never taught them about the most IMPORTANT times. All the things we had exposed our children to over the past few years only taught them how to hold themselves emotionally. I left out the spiritual part.
So what does this have to do with yoga?
Again, nothing and everything.
In the moments when things are seeming to just be out of control, their dad and I focused on how to make them respond as a decent human, not a spiritual one. I also have failed to teach them to uses their prayers and talk to God on the mat. My children will ask to bring donuts or gift cards to police officers, but we never taught them to pray for them. We never taught them to take time with God and reflect on the job these men and women do each day, and sometimes give their life doing! My children have volunteered to escort rescue animals to specialty hospitals, spay-neuter clinics, and wildlife rehab, but we have never talked about praying for the people who heal, or even those who abuse animals.
While I realize for some people Christian Yoga is a contradiction, for many of us, it is where we sometimes feel the closest to the Lord, because we are teaching ourselves to slow down, reflect, turn inward, and pray upward (to God).
The good news is, I caught myself. I have time to impress upon them the power of prayer. I can still teach them being a good human also means praying for people we do not know or are not even nice people because they need God the most. There is still time to teach them to use their time on the mat, as young yogis, to connect with God in a private and emotional way. If you have ever experienced emotional release on the mat, you understand. Not only will it foster good humans, but good yogis as well.