Dads need to do a better job teaching patriotism to their children. While I agree that there are grateful families in the USA, the lack of regard by so many young people and college kids is embarrassing. I truly believe this is because these young people have no idea what it means to suffer for a nation. Most of them don’t know real suffering at all. Due to that reason, they also have no idea what honor means or the price that strangers have paid for their right to act like morons.
I have a boy in the Navy, and one in the Marines. My daughter is also married to a Marine. Can you tell that I am biased? We as a nation are free because of shed blood. We are free because of the bravery of men and women who were and are willing to stand in harm’s way. We owe them our gratitude and respect.
I understand that people can have issues with different aspects of government. They have the right to address their concerns and even protest what they perceive as injustice. However, this has nothing to do with our troops or our flag. Take a stand on policies, leaders, laws, etc. However, this country is the best place you could ever live and your rights are due to the fact that they were fought for. Stand in respect for those that have and will fight for you. That includes the flag, which is a symbol of that honor, fight, and sacrifice.
Your children can only benefit from a sense of patriotism and respect for their country. Take time to watch documentaries, movies, and read books about our nation’s history. Answer the easy and tough questions. If you don’t know the answer, find it together. Take them to patriot events and places of honor. As a child, I remember when my parents took me to Washington, DC to see the various memorials. This left a huge impression on me. It made me so proud to be an American.
Recently, I had an opportunity to go back with my father and many veterans of WW2, Korea, and Vietnam. It was amazing to listen to their stories and to witness their presence at the various memorials. If you have little kids or teenagers, find these men while they are still around. They are living history and will bring to life what exists in the movies and history books. This opportunity is fading fast.
Don’t let “thank you for your service” be a phrase without reverence. Many times we let things that are patriotic to be automatic or done in passing. Show your children why these gestures and pledges are so important. Talk about the freedoms that they enjoy. Discuss different situations and countries that don’t have such freedoms. Then, correlate those freedoms to the flag and the men and women it represents.
Finally, it is important that your kids understand the importance of current events. I never understood this as a kid. However, I am thankful for my teachers that stressed such awareness. Make sure that they understand government, politics, and the opposing arguments of various parties. This awareness gives them a sense of belonging. It is hard to relate or understand your involvement in something that you have little or no knowledge of. They need sources of information. It is important that they understand your view as a parent and citizen, as well as those ideas that oppose your view. Discuss why you believe as you do. When did you come to your conclusions, and what sources of information did you base those beliefs on. Did these beliefs and or convictions change over time? If so, what led to these changes.
Many parents believe in only offering the argument over ideas that align with their convictions. I personally believe that to be a mistake. They will hear the other side from someone. It is important that you maintain an open dialog and trust with your kids. There are those out there that will take ideas and actions of a few and make them look like a mass opinion or a stereotypical issue that is an American issue. Whenever they lump ideas and issues to the greatness or lack thereof of America, this is when we should step in and point out that internal American struggles have nothing to do with the greatness of this nation as a place to live or with those that have for our rights to disagree and debate.
We are Americans. This comes with a plethora of ideas, opinions, and people. We all need to be proud of our citizenship, of the flag, and those that it represents. Being a patriot will instill a sense of pride in a home that is healthy. Do your best as a dad to help develop this in your children. They are the health and strength of this nation for tomorrow. Be a part of this important teaching. Be the best dad possible.