Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Works For Me: Teaching Patriotism
So often, the fourth of July is spent preparing and eating food, spending time with family, and enjoying fireworks. These are wonderful, and the source of great memories. But, often the meaning of the holiday gets lost for us big people, and sometimes is never found for our little ones. A spirit of patriotism is not something that should be left to school teachers to give our children. It is something we should be teaching our children ourselves.
I recently found online a list of ideas to use in helping instill a sense of patriotism in our children. I think the best way to do this is to take your children to historical sites and talk about what happened there and how that blesses our lives today. Unfortunately, that isn't all that easy, especially if you live on the western side of the country. Here are four ideas from the list I found:
-Flag colors and symbols. Talk to your children about the symbolism of the flags colors and symbols. Then, on the 4th of July, have everyone wear those colors. You can buy everyone a new matching article of clothing, use ones you already own, or let them decorate white t-shirts with blue and red fabric pens.
-Have a birthday party for America. Make cards to display on the fourth of July. Include in them your gratitude for our freedoms and a "gift" for our country-something you will do to be a good citizen in the next year. Display these on the fourth. Don't forget to have a cake and sing Happy Birthday!
-Music and Literature. Preceding the fourth of July, take time to learn patriotic songs, especially "The Star Spangled Banner". This is a focus I am working on in my piano practice. Or, memorize a patriotic poem, such as "Paul Revere's Ride", or the Preamble to the Constitution.
-Veteran Devotional. Honor a veteran in your family, or invite a veteran friend to your home for a special devotional. Sing patriotic songs. (This would be a good time to present a patriotic poem you have memorized) Ask the veteran to share their experiences and feelings about America. Be sure to open and close with a prayer of gratitude for our freedoms.
This year, the fourth of July is on a Tuesday. So doing the birthday party or devotional on Monday night for Family Home Evening would be a great way to kick off the holiday! I am planning on doing the American Birthday Party one that night. For more ideas and more information on the idea's above check out LDS Living Magazine.
What have you tried to help your children learn to love their country?
And don't forget to check out the rest of the Works for Me Wednesday posts at Shannon's Rocks in My Dryer!