September 11

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on September 11, 2001.

The Hero Dilemma
Raising the Sept. 11 Generation
Helping Children Cope
How to heal when there's pain in your life...
New York Lottery Draws 9-1-1 on 9/11/02
Attacks Force New Thinking On Mental Health And Trauma
9/11 Caused Stress In Many Americans

The Hero Dilemma

September 11 presents a dilemma for every family who loves their country and loves their children. We are grateful beyond words for the firefighters and policemen who sacrificed their lives for the possibility that others might live. When someone does this for a stranger, and in defense of his or her country, that is the quintessential example of heroism.

What, then, is the dilemma? As we sing these men's praises, we send the message to our sons (and some of our daughters) that they will be held in the highest esteem if they too are willing to sacrifice their lives for a stranger, especially on behalf of country.

The first dilemma, then, is that our praise may tempt a son or daughter in great need of attention to risk death to gain appreciation. As a firefighter, he is likely to die earlier of lung cancer or other toxins; as a soldier he or she is more likely to die on a Mideast battlefield than in a midtown office.

The second dilemma involves taking care of country vs. taking care of family. If our son or daughter has children at home, is it right to have him or her put the children's life in jeopardy? His willingness to die contributes to protection of our country and homes, but jeopardizes the well-being of his own family. A father who is a hero at war may never come home.

The third dilemma becomes apparent with an understanding of the personality that often develops as a man becomes a hero. To be successful as a hero, it helps to repress feelings, not express feelings. ("When the going gets tough, the tough get going," not "when the going gets tough the tough see a psychologist.") To be successful in love, it helps to express feelings, not repress them.

The more a man values himself the less he wants to die. To teach a man to value himself by dying-- to give him promotions to risk death, to tell him he's powerful, he's a hero, he's loved, he's a "real man"-- is to "bribe" a man to value himself more by valuing himself less. Thus volunteer firefighters are virtually 100% males; all the Drug Enforcement Agency officials who have died in "The War on Drugs" are male; men died in the Gulf War at a ratio of 27 to 1, and, overall, 93% of people killed in the workplace are males.

The psychology that perpetuates this paradox includes calling our firefighters and police officers "heroes." "Heroes" comes from the Greek word "serow," from which we get our words "servant" and "slave."We think of a hero as someone who has power. In fact, a servant and slave possess the psychology of disposability, not the psychology of power. Many men have learned to define power as "feeling obligated to earn money that someone else spends while he dies sooner." Real power is best defined as "control over our one's life."

Why do we praise men as heroes when they compete to be disposable? Virtually all societies that have survived have done so by socializing men to be disposable.

After our acknowledgement of our heroes, then, we are faced with a dilemma of morality and survival: whether the incentives and laws that produce our heroes also produce the men most capable of loving.

It was part of our genetic heritage to socialize both sexes for disposability. Women have questioned their genetic heritage; men have not questioned theirs. The result is that women are still falling in love with a sex that is less well socialized to love. Is that good for our children's genetic future?

On the other hand, if we don't socialize men to die, will women take on 50% of the responsibility to fight in our wars, save our homes from fires, build bridges and be the truckers, miners, lumberjacks, welders and sheet metal workers who build the next World Trade Center? And if so, will they become the women we want our daughters to be?

There are no perfect answers. But our heroes have left those of us who live the challenge of deciding how much to encourage future generations to die so that others may live to praise those who have died.

Source: Warren Farrell, Ph.D.,

Raising the Sept. 11 generation

For a year now, Americans have had the luxury of reacting to last September's events primarily with emotions, everything from fright to resolve to bravado.

Remarkably, though, we've been compelled to do little else. We are living out a freak of history: a subsequent military struggle that, except for the loss of several lives in small battles, has asked next to no sacrifice of most Americans.

Measured against the all-consuming impacts on the home front of earlier conflicts, this nation is fighting War Lite. And yet it wasn't quite a year ago that many of us swore we would not allow our lives to go unchanged. We would strip away distractions and focus on "what really matters." Where, though, should that quest take us? Most of us are not members of Congress or of the president's Cabinet. We don't decide national debates. Still, as a group we have even greater opportunities to influence the future of this nation. We can do so through our everyday interactions with the tens of millions of children who, soon enough, will live that American future. The issue is whether we seize this rich, regrettable chance to help the young generation still sorting through Sept. 11--in short, to raise and to educate kids who will be stronger and smarter for the horrific moments they observed. The risk here is serving up mawkish imperatives that presume to tell adults how to raise a generation. It's tempting to play safe, to mark the passage of a year with traditional editorial page fare--what the United States next should do to quell terrorism, or whether this political candidate or that can help get the job done. And yet it is too comfortably detached to view America's emergence from its year of mourning as fodder only for policy debates or electoral politics. None of that matters as much as doing what we can for those who will inherit this land--and who will protect, or surrender, that legacy.

Last autumn more than a few parents wondered whether, in more carefree times, they had focused too narrowly on building careers or getting the bills paid--and whether, as a result, their children were being raised by the Discovery Channel or PlayStation 2. In the past year, Americans have had extraordinary opportunities to include children, at whatever level the kids can manage, in national debates of historic proportion--about defending this country from harm, about ensuring personal freedoms, about hatred and fear, determination and dissent. And yet how many of us have to admit that, rather than drawing children into these discussions of what America is and should be--in other words, rather than helping them learn what it is to be an adult--our kids still mostly hear us fussing over who will chauffeur them through their busy activity schedules, or needling them to do their homework, or otherwise reinforcing the narcissistic notion that life revolves almost exclusively around precious them? - - - The challenge is for adults to dial back our role as coordinators of childhood events and again become . . . adults. To openly discuss our world--and not just what's next on the calendar that hangs from the refrigerator door--with the children in our lives. To teach them essential character: how to lead good lives and be good citizens. No advocate for young people has been sounding this call louder than Alvin Rosenfeld, a New York psychiatrist whose book on out-of-whack family priorities, "The Over-Scheduled Child," was a bible for many parents, teachers and other adults who interact with kids before Sept. 11. This is a job quite apart from last year's task of helping children cope with the mass murder of more than 3,000 Americans. Rosenfeld's agenda focuses on the longer haul: arming children with the skills and spines they need to withstand cataclysmic events and still lead enjoyable, generous lives. That wouldn't be difficult if children paid close attention to what parents and other adults tell them: We could sit them down for earnest lectures and then congratulate ourselves for suffusing them with megadoses of character. Most kids, of course, listen barely if at all to what adults say. Instead they watch what adults do. And, for better or worse, there may be no lesson we impart to them so efficiently as how we adults react to events that upset us, from a fender-bender to a threatening new era of conflict. What many kids too rarely witness is adults thinking through what we believe--about citizenship, about war, about how not to let concerns over far-off events snuff out ordinary kindness and joy. One practical lesson adults can teach by their actions, Rosenfeld says, is that what protects and stabilizes us in times of danger is being close to people we care about, talking through with them what scares us and how we can react. That notion of confronting how a terrible struggle affects us, rather than glossing it over, is more than a platitude. Example: During World War II, the U.S. military often tried to keep emotionally distraught servicemen with their combat units and give them medical attention at the front, rather than removing them from their supportive friends for treatment elsewhere. The upshot was less incidence of shell shock, the debilitation that during World War I plagued many soldiers who, at the first sign they were overwhelmed, had been removed from their buddies for treatment behind the lines. A companion lesson from World War II: British children who stayed with their parents during the German bombing of London, and who learned from them how to cope with imminent danger, emerged healthier psychologically than did kids who had been shipped out of the city for their safety. Exploring perils, and teaching kids how to react to them, doesn't have to be overly complex. The point isn't to sit children down and solemnly inform them that, "Tonight we'll be discussing how each of us feels about Sept. 11." A talk might instead start with an adult saying, "I'm a little uneasy about Sept. 11 coming around again. How about you?" After gentle prodding, most kids will talk--and listen. As Rosenfeld puts it: "We have an opportunity here to teach kids how to be adults--how to manage fear and risk without being overwhelmed or forgetting that life is about treating others as we want to be treated. They'll need that balance all their lives." Those lessons can begin early, and simply, through the intimacy of the ordinary day. Elizabeth Berger, a Philadelphia-area child psychiatrist whose book "Raising Children with Character" also predated Sept. 11, echoes the message that parents transmit their own strength of character when they routinely display such building blocks of adulthood as respect for others, self-discipline, and the ability to accept victory or defeat without coming unglued. "Remember that after the terrorist attacks, survivors were on TV saying to the rest of us, `Go hug your kids and tell them you love them,'" she says. "You notice they weren't saying, `Go hand your kids a list of demands and make them improve their behavior.' "Trying to `make' your child grow up to be honest, responsible and generous will make him wish he were somewhere else. But making it clear that he brings meaning and joy into your life will cause him, over time, to develop into an honest, responsible and generous person. That was the unspoken insight of those survivors." - - - Some children have a head start at absorbing these traits. They've seen adults donate money, food or clothing to help people who suffered losses, either because of Sept. 11 or economic recession. They've noted who does, or doesn't, respond to requests to donate blood for others in need. And, once made welcome, they've stopped obsessing on the child-centered activity of the moment to witness adults wrestling with issues that have erupted over the past year. They have joined debates about warfare that takes the lives of combatants and innocents alike, about constraints on liberties in times of conflict, about fighting a murderous foe without blaming others who share his religion or his looks. The sum of what these kids are learning approximates Berger's definition of character: striking a fair, ethical balance between protecting one's own interests and having a concern for others. That is not a balance we as Americans have always struck perfectly in our dealings with the world--a reason why we ought to help today's children learn to do the job better. Rosenfeld is drawing attention nationwide for promoting a practical tool to help one generation impart these lessons to the next.

It's called Family Night, an experiment he helped launch last year in Ridgewood, N.J. For one night that suburb had no school events, no homework, no civic meetings, no other distracting activities. Instead, families spent time together as they wished--playing board games, going for walks, or just talking about what matters to themselves and their country. Yes, it sounds awkward, but for many families the night helped build fresh ties. Rosenfeld now is pushing the idea to community leaders and parent groups nationwide via a new Web site, . Or we can just continue to do what many of us have done: bloviate about how we really must prepare children for a more menacing world--and then return to our grown-up concerns while leaving kids to their school and youth activities. We can let our busyness tug us apart at a time when we ought to move forward together. But that would be an opportunity squandered. Like the adults in their lives, the generation of children who witnessed Sept. 11 suffered a blunt emotional assault. Depending on what they learn now, they will grow to relish--or to avoid--the burdens and triumphs of citizenship. We adults can treat the quiet qualms and noisy debates provoked by Sept. 11 as the province of grown-ups. Or we can draw children into our discussions about self-defense, freedom and responsibility--and show them by our day-to-day actions how to lead responsible, principled lives. What we should not do is waste this chance for children to begin learning how to respond to future crises when this nation belongs to them. They will take those crucial lessons from us now--or, in all likelihood, never.
Source: Chicago Tribune

Helping Children Cope

No doubt your child has seen images and heard talk of the tragic incidents of September 11th. Some may have been personally affected or know of another family who has suffered. News stories about the bombings in Afghanistan and the threat of biological terrorism may have prompted additional questions and concerns. These are difficult issues for everyone and helping children feel safe and secure during this time is a challenge for all parents. Father's World has gathered links to a wide variety of websites where experts discuss these challenges and offer advice. We hope you find them useful. Resources

How to heal when there's pain in your life...

There are some things that happen to you that you don't easily forget--like where you were last September 11 and what you were doing when the planes struck New York City and Washington D.C.

If you're old enough, you can remember where you were when President Kennedy was shot or when the space shuttle Challenger exploded.

While these are graphically powerful examples of events that have affected millions of people, most of us experience painful situations and events in our own lives that have just as powerful effect on us as these national tragedies.

Painful situations can be very obvious like the death of a loved one or a divorce-- or they can be moments of being ridiculed as a child that are carried throughout life if not healed.

The point is that when we are faced with traumatic events in our lives, we have two choices--we can either hold on and stuff the feelings down or we can heal.

The master key to healing any situation in your life when there is pain is to allow yourself to feel all of your feelings deeply--whatever they are--to be with your pain and allow your feelings to move through.

If it requires you to enter skilled therapy to heal, do it. If it requires journaling about the situation, do it. If it requires calling a friend, do it. If it requires you to do a walking meditation, do it.

The main idea is to take the time to be with your pain and to feel it and move through it. If you do this, the pain dissipates through time.

Susie's best girlfriend Melissa's mother passed in January 2002. This week, something happened in their family and Melissa immediately started to phone her mother, forgetting for a moment that she wasn't on this earth. Melissa allowed herself to feel her grief--she cried, she called her son and told him about it and she felt a closeness with her mother. She acknowledged her painful feelings and then allowed her grief to flow without hanging onto depression.

Our emotions are our signposts along the way of what we need to pay attention to in our lives.

When you find that painful memories and feelings are coming to the surface in your life, here are some suggestions to help you to heal and move past the pain:

Whether it's painful memories of what happened on 9/11/2001 or something painful that happened today, it's important to acknowledge the event and then to move forward toward the process of healing.

Source: ©2002 by Susie & Otto Collins

New York Lottery Draws 9-1-1 on 9/11/02

Really, what were the odds that the three-digit number randomly picked in last night's New York Lottery drawing would be 9-1-1? The official lottery video is at:

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Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make good use of it! -- John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, April 26, 1777

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