Q. Our young children recently asked about flags flying in the neighborhood for a veteran who returned home. We explained he risked his life to keep our country free. We also told them that people fly the flag because they are proud to live in a free country. Their questions made us wonder what else we can do to teach our children to love this country and to not take our freedoms for granted. How can we teach our children patriotism?
A. As a result of wars and uprisings around the world most citizens have become passionate about their love for our country and more aware of the many freedoms we enjoy in the
. We are now less likely to take for
granted our democratic form of government and our guarantee of the rights of
all citizens. We are also more aware of our responsibility to be good
citizens. United States
We must teach patriotism to our children. How can we do this? You teach what you model. So model patriotism and talk about why you do what you do. Here are some specific things you can do to teach patriotism to your children.
1. Fly the flag on special holidays and talk with your children about why you do this. Show them the proper ways to display the flag. Let your children help put up the flag on these special days.
2. Ask your school aged children whether they say the pledge of allegiance to the flag each morning in school. Find out what they understand about this and explain more about why we do this. The library and the internet can provide more information about the flag and related subjects.
3. Take your children to the 4th of July parade and other parades. Take them to a ball game and explain the reason for taking off their hats and placing their right hand on their heart as the national anthem is played.
4. Take your children to monuments and museums that tell the story of our nation. In
we have the Soldiers and Ohio in Sailors Monument and the Hamilton in Wright Patterson Air Force Museum . Take a family vacation to visit historic
places such as Dayton and Washington, D.C. . Learning about the history of our
country and how our government works will come to life by visiting Congress,
the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, and Independence Square and the Liberty
Bell in Philadelphia. Philadelphia
5. Be responsible citizens by voting. Talk with your children about the privilege we have of being able to vote and the fact that many countries do not have this freedom. As they get older have family discussions about how to decide which candidates will get your vote.
6. Ask older children what they’re learning in school about our democratic government, the history of our country, our freedoms. In contrast, what have they learned about other countries?
7. Read books to your children on the heroes of our country - Betsy Ross, Clara Barton, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and many others.
8. List the freedoms and rights we have which many other countries do not have such as freedom of speech, freedom to vote, freedom to choose our work, freedom to learn including free education for all children, and freedom of worship. Our court system also assures us of a fair trial if we’re accused of a crime.
9. Teach your children also that with our freedoms go responsibilities. In a democratic society, all citizens have the responsibility to pay taxes, vote, serve on jury duty, obey the law, and defend our country if needed. As good citizens we also need to be involved in helping others in our community and in our world.
10. Raise your children in a church where patriotism is taught as well as God’s Word.
Patriotic children will become responsible citizens, proud of our country, eager to support democratic values and willing to fight (by democratic means) any threat to our values. On this Fourth of July thank a veteran for his service to keep our country free.
Pray for “peace on earth good will to men.” Luke 2:14
This post originally appeared on Tabers Truths, Modern Christian Living