We must teach our children about Poppy Day and war. We can’t hide.

I came across this article recently discussing the views of someone who thinks we shouldn’t be teaching our children about the World Wars and what happened, how many people died, and the loss and cost. His argument is that it’s to traumatic and that our children are under too much emotional pressure and can’t cope and shouldn’t have to.  I don’t agree, and I firmly believe we must teach our children about Poppy Day and why we remember.  The man who thinks we shouldn’t tell our children about war is barely an adult himself.

They did make the point that our children should be taught about the environment and how to manage debt and live a better life, and I do agree with that. However, we also need to teach children about the past that made our country what it is and where we have come from. It’s not about “telling children people died for them” it’s about helping children to understand that sometimes terrible things happen and that we remember that and what people did to try and solve it. It’s about respect, for sacrifice. We cannot forget that.

We must instill that in our children. 

My children are very aware of what Poppy Day means and what Remembrance Sunday is, and why we remember and commemorate. My own great grandfather died in Belgium at the start of the battle of Ypres, over one hundred years ago. His death, along with the hundreds of thousands of others, must be remembered. Those who died in World War 2, the atrocities committed against the Jews, must be remembered.

There are ways to teach children appropriately. We don’t have to show small children horrific images, that scare them. We don’t need to cause them anxiety. We don’t need to make it something that worries them. We can take them to services to remember. We can take them to museums to learn. We can support their learning in school. We can ensure they spend time with those who can remember, to help them learn about it.

It can be explained gently and carefully. We cannot deny it happened, and we cannot hide it.

But we do need to teach them the lessons learned from history. 

I worry that we are forgetting. The generation that fought in World War 1 has all but gone, and eventually, those who served in World War 2 will also be gone. People’s memories will fade and we won’t remember what caused the war and man’s evil and arrogance that led to the deaths of so many and so much loss and brokenness and is part of our history and heritage.

I feel that if we don’t teach our children, and keep the history alive, then one day, it will happen again. 

My children know and understand at levels that are reasonable for their age. I have strong feelings about war history, and we have been to war memorials and sites of special interest so I can learn more myself.

So I don’t think we should forget. I think we need to keep teaching it. My children will learn in school and at home. We cannot sweep it under the carpet and claim it protects our children. Teaching them in a way that helps them understand, will hopefully make them a better generation than went before. If they know, they can do better.

We must teach our children about Poppy Day, Remembrance Sunday and war. We can’t hide. Denying them the history and what happened does not protect them



Posted in Family Life and Parenting and tagged 11th November, Lest We Forget, Remembrance Sunday, World War 1, World War 2.

One Comment

  1. I agree it’s important our children know our history. My great great grandfather fought in the first world war and I wouldn’t want my children to forget him and the many others that served. My oldest daughter is 3 and this year she asked why I was wearing a badge it was a poppy and I explained that it was a poppy to remember those that died in the war. I have also worked with a reception and year one class as they were learning why we wear poppies and the same thing was said to them that was 9 years ago now and I would like to think those children now have a better understanding of our history.

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