On a recent flight, I sat beside a man who serves in the Navy. Before I even learned that he was in our military, the subject of patriotism came up. "We teach our children that they live in the greatest country on earth and that they are very blessed to do so," is what I told him. It brought a smile to his face and a comment about how others would be wise to do the same. After learning of his career, I understood just how deeply he must have echoed our love of country and our desire to instill the same love in our children.
The level of patriotism our children possess, like any other value, depends upon the level of patriotism we, as parents, possess. When we recognize that our freedoms came at a cost, we are thankful. And, true patriots want to pass it on. We want others to enjoy the same freedoms that we, as Americans, do. Not because we are better individually, but because we know that democracy and freedom are both things that allow people to flourish as individuals.
A few things we do with our kids to pass our patriotism on:
- We teach them to to be thankful for our military. We point out men and women in uniform and tell our children that they are protecting us and we should be thankful and respectful of them.
-We teach them that America is a wonderful place to live and that we are blessed to be Americans.
-We make it fun--whether it be a Miley Cyrus song or an American flag t-shirt.
-We pray for our country and its leaders.
These are just a few thoughts. I'd love to know how you're raising your children to be patriots--especially in a world (especially in our own country) that constantly tries to tell us that we're the bad guys.