Talking to your son about ANZAC Day

Next Tuesday 25 April is ANZAC Day. And for me, this is the first year that I’ve had to address what that actually means with my sons.

(Well, the first born anyway – when I asked my 4-year-old what he thinks ANZAC Day is about, he just shouted “BISCUITS!” at me…)

My eldest son is almost 7 and he is a serious question asker, which I love and encourage. But his questions about ANZAC Day have been much more complicated than the ones about how Santa gets in when we don’t have a chimney…

In the past week, my son has asked: “Why do we get a day off for people dying?” “Why didn’t they just make friends?” “Were the other guys the bad guys?” “Will dad ever have to die for Australia?

Usually in the car while running late for school.

I’ve tried to be honest without making him feel scared or anxious, but my answers have been missing something – a core message. Something positive yet realistic that my son can apply to his own life. A simple message that offers him context.

This article by Melina Mallos, a commentator on art and culture for children, has given me exactly what I was searching for.

As Melina puts it: “the main Anzac Day lesson/reminder for all of us is about peace and acceptance… Our kids, even though they are young, have the opportunity almost daily to choose and feel peace.”

Peace and acceptance. Biscuits or no biscuits, it’s worth talking about on ANZAC Day – and indeed every day.

Lest we forget.


Brought to you by Brighton Grammar School

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