Today’s blog entry has been a hard one to write. Tomorrow is President’s Day, an in-your-face reminder of the turmoil roiling our country, in large part having to do with our new President. Some people will celebrate the change they hope this new person in the White House will bring. Others will march in protest of all that he represents. In the face of all this, what do we teach our kids? Perhaps, no matter what we feel about the current President, we can teach love of country.
We are in trying times. A lot of Americans do not love the current condition of their country. For many, it’s harder and harder to make ends meet. Time with family is harder and harder to squeeze in. Retirement recedes further and further from our grasp. It’s a scary time where hatred is palpable. People are often suspicious of those who look different, talk different, worship different. Some of us wish desperately for the good old days. Others of us wish just as desperately for a future that has been an elusive promise since the days of our founding fathers.
How, then, do we teach love of country in times like ours?
Teaching Love of Country
Maybe the greatest fundamental thing about our country that we can all (well almost all) agree on is that we live in a democracy. WE THE PEOPLE is how we roll. And our children can understand that from a pretty young age.
So, what to do?
Actually celebrate President’s Day. What an opportunity! A day off to share with our kids, to read about, talk about, watch movies about our country’s leaders, past and current. In my youth, we had a recording of a comedian named David Frye who did impressions of President Nixon. I may not have understood all the references but some of the issues sunk in. I also had a favorite book about Abe Lincoln. I loved it that he was called “honest Abe” and that he wore the simplest clothes. Somehow, that book gave me an image of what I thought “WE THE PEOPLE” should mean.
These stories might conjure up more than just thoughts about presidents past. Your child might be inspired to declare he or she will be president one day. Maybe explore your child’s Presidential agenda – sometimes an eye opener. Your child might rhapsodize about world peace. Or maybe about making school for kids optional.
Get involved with your kids. These days, my email box is flooded with suggestions of how to get involved. Right now, for example, our representatives are headed back to their hometowns, providing us, their constituents, a chance to meet with them, ask questions, raise our concerns. If you decide to attend, maybe take your child with you. Then stop for a smoothie or milk and cookies and talk about what happened.
Share your suggestions for teaching love of country.