Teaching children to love America
By Paige Hamilton
It’s been a year filled with national unrest, and as a result many feel less hopeful about America’s future. Youth are the future of America, so in order for our country to have a bright hope, it is important to diligently teach children to be respectful, responsible citizens.
What exactly is patriotism? And how do you teach it? While patriotism is defined as a love of one’s homeland, it actually begins with personal awareness and responsibility. Essentially, being a patriot is learning to be a respectful citizen of our country.
September is a great month to talk with children about what it means to be a good American because there are two unique patriotic holidays this month. Patriot Day, observed on September 11th, is a day set aside for remembering American citizens who have given their lives for our nation. Less than a week later, Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day) is observed on September 17th, the anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the United States of America.
Here are some patriotic activities to do with children of all ages during the month of September:
- Teach children to pray for our nation and our national leaders.
- Take time to thank local first responders and civil servants with thank you notes or gifts delivered to their work places.
- Find small ways to make the community a better place for everyone: picking up litter, returning shopping carts to proper locations, etc.
- Read the Preamble to the Constitution. Better yet, listen to it. School House Rock produced a short song called The Preamble, which can be found on YouTube. After you watch the video, talk about what the words mean.
- Challenge older children and teens to take an online citizenship test. (Sample tests found at www.uscis.gov) Allow this to be a springboard for discussions about the process to become an American citizen and why knowing this information might be an important part of that process.
Paige Hamilton, a former teacher and veteran homeschool mom of five children, is a freelance writer from Lafayette. She and her husband Jon are just beginning to learn the joys of empty-nest parenting.