This is a week full of patriotic celebrations in North America with Canada celebrating Canada Day on July 1st and the US celebrating Independence Day of July 4th. Parades, festivals, fireworks, and family get togethers are great fun! Recognition of those who have served our nations in the armed service is also meaningful. These celebrations can also be a good time to share with our kids what patriotism is all about.
This can be pretty straight forward if you have family members who serve or who have served in the military. Their willingness to stand up for those in harms’ way, both at home and abroad, makes it easy to understand what a patriot is. Those who serve as policemen, fire fighters, and doctors also provide lessons in service and protection that are a big part of patriotism. The heroes in these stories are easily identifiable. It’s no wonder that children are awed by them.
Of course, all heroes don’t wear uniforms. Anyone who works to make the country a better place is a patriot, too. Hopefully those we elect to represent us in government are patriots who will work to uphold the laws of the land. Business owners and workers are also patriots when they work to provide jobs, products, and services that are beneficial to the citizens.
This week-end my daughter asked me who I plan to vote for in the US Presidential Election which will take place in November. I told her I didn’t know, because I’m not thrilled with either of the main choices right now. She suggested that maybe I wouldn’t vote at all. It was a good opportunity to explain that I have a right and a responsibility to vote. Patriotism is not necessarily fun or easy. Before November rolls around I will have to decide which candidate I believe will best serve our country.
Later this week I plan to share some of our family’s military heritage with my kids. It will be a good history lesson as well as a good discussion on patriotism. None of the family members we’ll discuss are living today, so we’ll have to imagine what their motivations may have been based on the times and the family’s situation. The discussion about those who served in the US Civil War should be interesting as we had family members on both sides of the conflict.
We’ll also celebrate the holiday in the traditional way. Although it looks like we’re in for a really hot week, we’ll still enjoy fireworks and family fun time outdoors. Family traditions of fun are important for our kids, too.
How will you share your patriotism with your child this week? Does your family have a holiday tradition? I would love to hear about it!
From my parent’s heart to yours,
Joy Goodman is a mom whose mission is to encourage parents and to celebrate joys of being a parent.