A Daddy/Daughter 9/11 Dialogue

Stoplight This morning I made the daily trip to Reidy Creek Elementary school with my first-grader, Anna, in-tow. The drive is only about a half-mile, but is full of traffic. We have some of our best talks during this time. Anna, like many first-graders, has a deeply inquisitive mind.

Her leadoff question this morning was a doozy. Daddy, what’s 9/11? How do you explain something like that to a kid? I was unprepared. The dialogue went
something like this:

“Well honey, 9/11 stands for September 11. It’s a sad day for grownups.” 


“Because on September 11, some really bad men flew some airplanes into buildings full of people and a lot of people died that day. So we remember them and pray for their families today.”

“I don’t remember that.”

“Well sweetie, you weren’t born yet.”


“Should I pray for the families too?”

“That would be great! And we should remember to be thankful every day for each other.”


“OK. You have a great day at school and remember your mommy and daddy love you.”

“I know. (She exits the car, and blows a kiss to me…and runs off.)

And I thought about the moms and dads and husbands and wives and children who didn’t know they were blowing a kiss to their loved ones for the last time that morning.

And I prayed.

Note: this content was originally posted on 9/11/09. Sorry for the formatting. The blog was on a different format back then and it refuses to translate well :)

Author: Tim Spivey

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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  1. Very touching story. September 11th, 2001 was such a sad day. God bless us all as we remember those who died, and as we return to God for love and grace until Jesus comes back.

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  2. Powerful post–both for what was said & wasn’t said. How do we teach the younger generation to remember & believe in things they didn’t see? To share these memories with us & yet live for the future, not dwelling in the past? To embrace the mantle of the character & values that made us proud of our neighbors on that day? Just some thoughts that spilled out as I was touched by your dialogue with Anna.

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  3. Good job, Dad! I’m not sure we’re ever really expecting the most important talks we have with our kids.

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