This year will be an especially poignant Independence Day for the United States on July 4. While there has been a surge in patriotism since September 11, we all need to maintain a sense of pride and love for our country whether we are at war or living in peace.
Children need to feel a sense of belonging, in their family, their classrooms and their country. They thrive in an environment of respect, compassion and stability. If we teach our kids love, honor, compassion and respect for their country as well as for their fellow man, they will not only be graced by a sense of patriotism, they will become better citizens.
One of our greatest challenges as parents is to raise our children to be healthy, honorable adults. A sense of patriotism is a good reinforcement of honor and ethics.
Our babies learn kindness from our gentle touch; they learn healthy self-esteem by our praise and respect; they learn to maintain their precious bodies with good food and regular exercise. They learn these living examples from their caretakers and schools. We are also responsible for teaching them to respect and be kind to others, to keep their community clean and to trust that their country will defend and protect them as best it can. I firmly believe they should be taught to revere their country's flag and all it stands for.
My children have already been told that, while it might be 'legal' to burn the stars and stripes as an expression of individual freedom, they would be hard-pressed to get past Mom if they ever entertained the idea!
Children need to know they are a very large and integral part of their country's make up. They are the future parents and government that will uphold the morals and ethics inherited from these same entities.
Is it too much to ask that our children be patriotic, honor their flag and stand up for what's right and good about their country? I don't think so.
It is our job to instill a sense of patriotism in their young hearts, offering them the opportunity to love and honor their country and its flag. In doing so, these same feelings will transfer to mankind and the world.
As much as we want our children to love their country, we also need to recognize the importance of global relationships. Setting good examples of patriotism should, in turn, teach our kids that every person counts, no matter where they live or who they might be.