On 4th of July weekend we think about BBQ’s, pool parties, fireworks, and whether or not to put salt on watermelon, but as parents we should not waste any opportunity to have important conversations with our children.
Here are 5 conversations to have over the long patriotic weekend.
- Take the opportunity to share America’s history and the birth of our country. Who were the Indians and the pilgrims? The founding Fathers? Why did they seek out America? What struggles have we gone through as a nation? Why is America a Republic and what is the constitution?
2. Play the armed forces medley and take a moment to appreciated our country’s heroes serving all around the world on military bases. Growing up on a military base overseas my entire life, I saw first hand the sacrifices American military families faced on a daily basis and I want to make sure my kids feel the same gratitude towards our amazing soldiers in all branches. Not many countries have the protection of armed forces like we do.
3. Go over the pledge of allegiance and ask your child what they think it means. I remember my dad doing this with me. We used to say it every day in school, but I never really thought about what it meant until he asked. Liberty and Justice for All.
4. Talk about your favorite American patriots and advocates. Why do you like them? What were they passionate about? How did they make a difference and what was the legacy they left behind? How can we imitate them?
5. Share why you love America and what makes it different from any other country in the world. Why are immigrants from all around the world coming to the United States? What does being an American mean to your family?
The past couple years our country has become more divided than ever, and that can be very difficult to explain to your children. I remember when I was about 8yrs old during a presidential election another kid in my class told me that if you voted for one representative your family would starve. I was so scared because as a naive child you believe anything you hear.
I can only imagine now what kids are hearing their parents say and repeating it to their peers. Fear mongering, misinformation, fake news, sensational headlines have an effect on little naive minds, and with social media access kids are exposed to politics wether they like it or not. As parents we are responsible to protect and create a safe place for our kids. Let them know that everything will be ok and teach them to be a model citizen of the America you hope for their future. One day your kids won’t be so little anymore and they will remember these conversations. The best thing we can do for our country is to have open communication with one another, especially our children.
Having traveled to several places before kids, I can say confidently that we have so much to be thankful for. America is a country like no other, and it is a great honor to be able to teach our children the values and beliefs we have without fear, and I am proud to be an American. Pass on the gratitude and help create a better future for us all.
Happy Independence Day!