Fireworks, watermelon, parades, sunburns and barbecues may be what your kiddos associate with the 4th of July. Indeed, it is America’s largest secular holiday, and a beloved day for those of us blessed to live in the United States. The 4th of July marks the day that members of the Second Continental Congress, during a meeting in Philadelphia, adopted the final draft of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence itself has become one of the most admired and copied political documents of all time. Written by Thomas Jefferson and revised by historical greats, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, the Declaration of Independence is a justification of the American Revolution. In it, Jefferson wrote that all people are entitled to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It is a document that has inspired freedom-seekers around the world, and continues to remind Americans of the incredible foresight and determination of our forefathers.
So, how do we make the 4th of July a teachable MOMent for our KID-Os, beyond red, white and blue cupcakes, face painting and fireworks? After all, kids develop a sense of patriotism over time, gradually as they learn how they fit into their family and how their family fits into their larger community and it’s roll in the fabric of their country. It’s that feeling we get when hearing our national anthem played at the Olympics or a ball game. It’s that surge of pride we feel when we pass a returning soldier, our child graduate or wave our flag. We remind our kids that ours nation is full of opportunity, but with freedom comes an enormous responsibility.
O-MAMAs have the important task of helping to shape the citizens of tomorrow…of passing on our patriotism to them…teaching them that we are all stakeholders in guarding and perpetuating our unique and incredible shared history. We must teach our kids to take pride in their country, have respect for their fellow Americans and an appreciation of their many opportunities. So, as you hang your flag or see it flown on the 4th, point it out to your kids. Explain that the 50 stars stand for our 50 states, and the 13 stripes stand for the original 13 British colonies, whose citizens inspired the Declaration of Independence. It stands for our whole country, and it’s one way we tell the world who we are as a people. It also shows we’re connected to each other as Americans, like a banner that says, “we’re on the same team.” Because our flag is special, we treat it with respect.
As you watch fireworks after a long day of festivities, remind your kids that the fireworks signify the celebrations that occurred over 200 years ago, following the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia July 4, 1776. Fireworks were set off, along with bells rung, guns fired and candles lit.
This 4th of July, wipe the watermelon off your kids’ faces, give them a big hug, and tell them you are proud to be their O-MAMA. Have fun with your family this weekend and let your flag fly! Happy birthday America…and many more!