Our kids are hearing a lot of rhetoric these days on the news, in school, around the dinner table, and even in church. Kids tend to believe what they hear most often. Will our kids grow up to think America is great, or only that it used to be?
Israel is known for its patriotism. In Israel, when young men and women graduate from high school they serve a mandatory two years in one of the Israeli military branches of service. Every young person serves and patriotism is not a problem in Israel.
If you looked at America from your children’s perspective, what would you think about our country? This Fourth of July might be a good opportunity to remind our kids they live in a great country already—and they can make it even greater.
Here are a few simple ideas that will speak volumes to your kids and help them learn to be patriots:
- During the Pledge of Allegiance, or when the flag is marched by, men should take off their caps; all can place their hand over their heart and speak the pledge with conviction; we can sing “America the Beautiful” with pride, even if we can’t sing on key; and we can take the kids to the front yard to hang the flag outside. The flag represents our country, and we can show our kids that we honor both.
- Parents can vote—in all the elections. Wear that little sticker and let them ask you why you have it on. Help them look forward to the day when they can do their part.
- Honor the soldiers in your neighborhoods, churches, and airports. If you are able, buy their lunch or speak a word of gratitude. Maybe your kids will drink water or skip dessert so your family can treat a soldier to a meal. That small sacrifice would say a lot about respecting theirs.
- Google some great quotes and share them with your kids. America has been a great country for a long time and a lot of important people have said so!
- Skip a reality show and choose to watch a PBS concert from the lawn of the White House. Those concerts can be kind of lame at moments, but then again, so are those reality shows!
- Look for moments to remind your kids why this country is great. The evening news will provide at least one opportunity every night.
Our president talks a lot about “making America great again.” You are raising the generation of kids that can do that. Even as I type I wonder which of you are raising a mayor, a governor, a senator or a Supreme Court justice. Which of you are raising teachers, news reporters, philosophers, pastors, or politicians? All of you can raise patriots.
I hope the fireworks are spectacular. I hope the hot dogs and hamburgers are perfectly grilled. I especially hope the potato salad stays cold enough in the cooler! July Fourth is a great time to celebrate America and remember that we live in a country we can love.