Their Bad Mother

Their Bad Mother

Teaching Our Children To Remember To Never Forget


Most of my family has served in the military in some capacity or another. My grandfather was in the (Canadian) Navy. My mother was in the Air Force. My father (pictured above) was in the Air Force. My father-in-law served in the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada in World War II.


None of them died in service. But they did serve, and today – as I remember that so many have died – I think that that is going to be what I focus on when I talk to my kids about what Remembrance Day and Veterans Day mean. Not the death, not the sacrifice, not the loss (how can four year olds wrap their heads around loss of life in war? should we even expect them to try?) – just the service, the tremendous service, that so many men and women provide to their countries day after day, year after year. Just that. The service. The protection they provide, the security, the maintenance of peace, the defense of peace, the making – in some cases – of peace.


That, I think, is easy enough to explain to a child. And well-worth doing. So worth doing.

(Is that enough, do you think? How SHOULD we talk to our kids
about Remembrance/Veterans’ Day? Talking about death with small children is
complicated enough – how do we discuss it alongside war and conflict and all
those terrible things that, although we should remember, we so often struggle
to forget?)

(Thank you, veterans and service-people. THANK YOU.)

Comments read comments(2)
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Karen L

posted November 11, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Kids start thinking about war sooner than we expect, I think. I’d heard about war or battles, in church of all places, but I remember specifically trying to wrap my head around the Iran-Iraq war, which was on the news. I had a very naive and yet profound glimmer of understanding and I asked my parents: “So neighbours just stand on the border and _shoot_ each other?” That might be verbatim. I can, to this day, still recall the visual image in my five-year-old mind.

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posted November 12, 2009 at 12:11 am

When my 5 yr old nephew asked my Marine husband what it was like to be in a war, his answer was this:
“It’s like having to be at work all day and all night every day and every night. And having to always be thinking about where you are and what you are doing, and never getting a chance to relax. And all this time you are away from your family, but you feel good because know you are helping people by keeping them safe.”
I liked that answer.

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