|September 11th: Feeling Freaked Out
Let's begin by looking at the emotions September 11th created in our country.
First of all, the word terrorist comes from the word terror, which, as you probably know, means fear. A terrorist's goal is to stir up panic by either attacking or posing a threat to a region, which is exactly what happened to the U.S. As a result, you may have experienced many different kinds of fear since that day: fear for your safety, fear of losing loved ones, or fear of another attack.
Below are some common fears that many kids around the country experienced. Read on to find out how to deal with these feelings.
Facing Our Fears
We are all stronger than our fears, whether we know it or not. We can't let them get the best of us. Acknowledge your worries -- that's important -- but don't limit yourself because of them. For example, if you're afraid of large crowds or tall buildings because you feel there may be another attack, try NOT to avoid those situations. Instead, distract yourself by talking to your parents or friends when you're in an environment that makes you nervous. Take deep breaths. Let a trusted adult know what you're experiencing so they can figure out how to help you cope.
Another thing that helps many people feel less afraid is to take control and "prepare for the unexpected"...so the unexpected will seem less scary. A great way to do this is to come up with a disaster plan for your family -- a "to do" list for what needs to happen in case of an emergency.
The Plane Truth
Before you say "forget it" to flying, here are some facts to take into consideration. If you've been to an airport lately, you know that security is tighter than ever. The long lines to check luggage, extra-early arrival time, random security checks and the presence of the National Guard are all evidence of our country's new and improved airport security system. In some cities, an air marshal is required to travel aboard certain flights.
Flying is actually a lot safer than most Americans think. In fact, it's still the safest mode of transportation. This means that you're safer in the air than inside a car! Remember that commercial airline crashes are still extremely rare.
Finally, while fear of flying is understandable, make sure it's not keeping you from some golden opportunities. For instance, if you have the chance to see your grandmother in California or take a family trip to the Grand Canyon, go for it! It's important to be cautious, sure...but it's more important to live your life. Consider this: Would you rather sit in your room bored or go on a fun vacation? If you find yourself avoiding activities that you used to enjoy, have a chat with a trusted adult and see what he or she can do to help.
Focus on the Positive
While you may always remember September 11th with sadness or anger, realize that good things happen - and will always happen -- every day, whether it's spending the day at an amusement park, celebrating a special birthday, having no school on your favorite holiday, reading a good book, or simply spending time with friends.
If you find yourself experiencing dark feelings about these events, don't let them take over. Focus on the positive things going on in your life. Did your crush smile at you today? Let yourself get psyched about it! Did you ace that test? Celebrate! Do you adore your friends? Get together for a fun outing. There's still lots of good in the world -- give yourself permission to be a part of it. Here are the cool things that happened to these kids recently:
"This summer I went to Australia and New Zealand for four weeks. I met a lot of new people and made lots of new friends. Also, I got to spend a week with my grandpa and reads lots of good books. I even got to go to the film premiere of "Crocodile Hunter.'"
"I got my new Gamecube to play with my friends and I got more time to spend with my family this summer."
"Last year my little cousin Sydney was born. Also I learned how to surf, which was the best thing in the world."
"My grades were better than my brother's last year!"
"We got a winter vacation over the holidays last year and I was able to rest and have fun all the time. The holidays are one of the best times of the year when things make you happy, so I think it's probably a good thing to remember!"