By Brandy Walleshauser of No Time Mommy
I met my husband a few weeks before he left for basic training. It was one of the toughest decisions he ever made, but after 2001 he felt like he had to defend his country. We welcomed our first daughter while he was still in the Army and he deployed to Iraq a second time two weeks after she was born. Just three short months later, we lost some incredible friends by an IED. It was at that point that we decided it was important for our kids to know the true meaning of Memorial Day and Independence Day, letting them know what it means to be patriotic. After all, for most people it is a day of fun and barbecues, but to us it’s so much more.
I think it’s hard for my kids to really understand the true meaning of being patriotic because they are so young, but we have taught them a few simple things.
Flying the flag: The American flag is a big part of being Patriotic, and while we can’t fly one where we live we make sure our kids know what it means and the proper etiquette when holding or hanging a flag. We do have a flag across from us along with a POW/MIA flag in honor of those missing. The kids love looking at it.
Showing your spirit: You can buy a child’s flag shirt for just $5, it’s the perfect way for your child to show off their spirit.
Read a book about our country: My daughter came home one day from school and was teaching me about patriotism and our founding fathers, etc. It was really amazing how much she knew, all from a children’s book.
Showing self respect: This could be the most important thing to teach your children. For a child to learn what it really means to be patriotic they need to show respect to our culture and country. We would not have freedom without responsibility. Teaching your kids not to liter or damage their surroundings is a great way to show respect for themselves and the world around them.
There is also the option of taking them to a concert or a fireworks show, to show your child how patriotic others are.
My son decided that he wanted to show you his spirit by getting a star style teddy from Build A Bear Workshop and dress it up as a soldier.