The month of July is full of patriotic events including the United States celebration of the 4th of July! With the exploding colors of red, white, and blue all around us, it’s important to teach our kids what it means to be patriotic. As parents, I feel it is critical that we explain what it means to proudly be an American, while also helping them understand that other countries have their own patriotism. So, how can we do both?
Independence Day is a federal holiday in the U.S. commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. This is a great time to discuss patriotism with the kids and instill in them a sense of pride and community in our nation.
If you are contemplating this, don’t worry! Here are a few suggestions of how to explain American patriotism to our kids, while also instilling open-mindedness in them about other forms of patriotism:
-The Pledge of Allegiance: Explain to your kids that placing a hand over the heart and reciting our Pledge is a way of expressing pride, commitment, and loyalty to our country. Tell your kids how reciting the Pledge and facing the Flag is a way of expressing gratitude for the independence we have in America to speak and act freely.
-Red, White, and Blue: Your kids might already be aware that these colors represent the USA, but explain to them how wearing these colors is our way of showing pride for all that America is. Give them a few examples of other countries’ colors, like Japan showing off red and white or Mexico sprouting red, white, and green.
-American Core Values: Justice, Liberty, and Equality are three core American values that might help your child understand what our country stands for in comparison to others. Explaining these values could help your child understand that in wearing our nation’s colors and reciting our pledge, we are also proud of our core American values. All of these forms of patriotism are connected!
-Appreciating Diversity: Sum it up by pointing out all of the various cultures and backgrounds in our country to your child. Addressing the different dress codes, traditions, and rituals of people in our country could help your child understand that American patriotism is just one form of patriotism. Use the analogy of the American flag, which hangs outside many of our homes, as compared to the Mexican flag hanging outside Mexican homes. This way, your child can recognize that patriotism is an expression of pride that applies to many different nationalities and cultures.
AlpharettaMoms is a proud writer for North Fulton Family Life publications. This article can be found in the July 2018 issue. All opinions are my own.