I remember very clearly when I would enter the classroom and the principal or assistant principal would come over the loudspeaker asking all children to stand and face the United States flag, put our hands on our hearts and recite:
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
This was in the 1970’s and I had never heard of anyone debating the saying of the pledge in schools.
Often we would also sing the National Anthem too.
Being in the heart of the United States, patriotism was everywhere.
We heard of “hippies” in California protesting what was happening in Vietnam, but in our minds, California was a 3rd world country that really didn’t count.
I remember when my Uncle came home after fighting in ‘Nam and we all waved our small flags and showed our support.
And, I dreamed of being just like him.
We found more and more people arguing that we should not “force” patriotism on our children.
There were court cases, and we witnessed a downfall in the belief that we should support our country and its policies.
Here we are in the 21st century and we find those who show a patriotic spirit, but we also find another side that thinks that patriotic thought is similar to cult behavior.
I often wonder how those people would react if they lived in a country like North Korea, Burma or China.
The fact is: our children are going to hear and see these points of view, so it is up to us to instill a patriotic spirit in them at an early age.
In today’s post, I am going to share 19 tips on how to raise patriotic kids.
Let’s take a look.
1: Give them choices
It is important that we teach our kids that we live in a democratic system and as such, we have choices we can make.
Explain that some people have chose to not be patriotic and they will suffer the consequences of that choice at some point, but we have to allow them to have that choice.
You can then give your child simple choices and after they make their decision explain how their choice could effect other areas.
“What do you want your bedtime to be? 9:00 PM or 10:00 PM? The usual answer will be 10 where you can explain that it may be more difficult getting out of bed to do chores and get ready for school.”
2: Get involved in school functions
The reason non-patriotic parents have been able to “push their weight” in the school systems is because they are involved.
It is up to parents to “fight back” by getting involved and pushing patriotic activities in school.
3: Teach them respect of the flag
Our kids need to know proper respect of the flag.
They should know how to fold the flag, when and where to fly the flag, and how the flag should not touch the ground.
4: Read patriotic books
No matter our kids ages, they should be reading, or be read to.
I recommend finding patriotic books and having them read.
5: Speak softly but carry a big stick
This system was made famous by President Theodore Roosevelt.
Our children will understand it if used properly.
They will make mistakes and those mistakes may be at the edge of being unpatriotic.
If you use President Roosevelt’s method, you kids will know where you stand and what will happen if they go against your rules.
6: Teach your kids the meaning behind all patriotic holidays
Each patriotic holiday should be explained to our kids.
- Veterans Day
- Pearl Harbor Day
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Patriot Day
- Loyalty Day
- POW/MIA Recognition Day
- Flag Day
Other Posts You Might Enjoy:
- Veterans Win Big with a Little Known Phenomenon Called “Corporate Citizenship”… HOO-RAH!
- How to Talk to Your Kids About Joining the Military
- The 20 Coolest Historical Places in the USA to Visit for Veterans
- The History of the US Flag
7: Say the pledge
I mentioned how we did it at school, but why not at home?
You could teach your kids to say the pledge and how to face the flag with hand on heart.
8: Sing the National Anthem
We sing other songs with our kids.
Why not sing the U.S. National Anthem with them.
Teach them about the history of the Anthem.
9: Visit historic sites
No matter where you are, there is surely a historic site somewhere nearby.
Make some time to visit historic sites and explain to your kids why they are historic.
10: Celebrate Independence Day
This doesn’t mean you need to run out and spend a lot of money on fireworks, but do find a way to celebrate the day with your kids and explain to them why you are celebrating.
11: Organize a family debate
Now this should probably be with older kids, but a good, friendly debate can open up minds to why being patriotic is important.
It shows your kids that they do have a right to have their views, and you will allow them to have those views even if you disagree with them.
I come from a large and loving family, and political debates are usually something everyone looks forward too even though there is a huge mix of views.
The key is being able to agree to disagree.
12: Teach your kids about why we have protectors and that we need them (police, military, etc…)
With the many people talking negatively about police and soldiers, we need to instill in our kids how important these people are.
13: Get your kids on-board jumping into a volunteer project
Explain to your kids how that we need to help in various ways as our patriotic duty.
It could be a day of litter pick-up, helping elderly shop or any number of other volunteer activities.
14: Teach your kids about our Presidents and how our government operates
Just explaining how our democratic system works in electing a President, Senators and Representatives can help them understand how our process works.
15: Introduce your kids to a war veteran
Let them hear the experience of a veteran…a patriot, that fought for our country.
Allow them to ask questions.
I am sure the veteran will be happy to answer them.
16: Teach them about our rights and our responsibilities
Explain to your kids how they have rights that people in other countries do not have.
They have the right to speak openly and to pray.
In some other countries, people are not allowed to do these things.
But, we must also explain that with these rights, we also have responsibilities.
Paying taxes and obeying laws are part of our responsibilities.
Even just picking up some litter is a responsibility to keep our country clean.
17: Take your kids with you when you vote
It is good to have your kids see the voting process.
Explain to them why you vote, and you may even tell them why and who you voted for.
As they get older, allow them to listen to political debates and ask them who they would vote for and why.
Tell them your views, but do not force them to accept your views.
18: Explain the acceptance of various cultures
You will probably want to tell your kids how the United States was built on a “melting pot” of various cultures.
Explain to them why and how we accept various cultures.
You may also want to tell them that there are people who will not accept others.
Explain to them that these people are just ignorant and lost.
19: Take your kids to meet a congressperson or legislator
In a similar way as meeting a veteran, take them to meet a legislator.
Allow them to ask questions and learn what they can about how their job works.
It is not an easy chore to raise a patriotic child, but one thing I can say is: your kids are watching you and will try to follow in your footsteps.
You may say you are patriotic but then you start “bashing” the way our military works or the way our government charges taxes.
When your kid hears these things, they get confused about how patriotism works, and then they hear things on the internet or on the television and it confuses them more.
So, keep your actions and words in mind when your kids are near. They are learning from you.
And use these tips to teach them to be patriotic.
Yes, there may be times you think our government or system is falling apart but no matter what, we still reside in the greatest country on Earth.
Do you have any other suggestions on how to raise patriotic kids?
Do you have any questions?
Please post all you questions or comments below.