Other than Christmas, the Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. Every year my mom and I try to squeeze as many fireworks shows as we humanely can into this action packed weekend that consists of carnivals, baseball games, and barbecues. Some of my fondest memories as a child, teenager, and adult stem from this magnificent holiday.
Now, as a parent, I look forward to creating memories and forming traditions with my own children that also embody family, friends, and tradition. One of the traditions that I would like to incorporate into my family’s Independence Day celebration is the celebration of patriotism-honoring the values, morals and standards we hold as a nation. As I look back at our country’s history, I am in awe of the courage, justice, and magnanimity that our nation’s forefathers exemplified in order to establish the United States of America as an independent nation, thus providing us with our freedom.
During a time of great strife and opposition our founding fathers valiantly pushed forward in order to secure our rights not merely as citizens, but as humans through the Declaration of Independence. Richard Slotkin from Wesleyan University states, The Declaration of Independence “goes well beyond what was needed in order to declare independence. It establishes a philosophical basis for a civil democracy in which all persons are guaranteed rights by virtue of their personhood.” This goes hand in hand with what Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Our freedom is something that we can often, unintentionally take for granted. Every human has an innate right to the morals, values, teachings and virtues that our democratic nation was founded upon. It is important that we uphold democracy and it is even more important that we instill the passion to do so in our children.
Here are a few suggestions as to ways you can start traditions of patriotism in your home on the Fourth of July in order to commemorate those who fought so bravely so we may live as an independent nation.
- Every year research a little bit of our nation’s history with your children. Here are a few short videos to get you started: Independence Day1; Independence Day 2.
- To help your children better understand why we are a free country, the American Revolution, and the people involved, check out Liberty’s Kids. This is a great interactive resource for children from ages 7-12. Aside from the program, parents can pull out key people from the American Revolution and discuss particular virtues each person possessed such as courage, fortitude, and temperance that made a difference not only in the lives during their time but in our lives today. Parents, here is a great link to help you brush up on your history.
- Baking is always a sure way to bring the family together and start some fun traditions. Here are a few recipes to get you started:
- 4th of July Firecracker T-shirts are sure to be a hit with your family! You can also incorporate fun facts while you are making the t-shirts such as where fireworks come from and how they celebrated Independence Day in 1776.
- Establish a family tradition such as attending a parade, spend the day at a park, beach or lake, or host a Fourth of July Party with neighbors and friends. Put together a historical quiz or game that everyone can engage in and provide a prize for whoever wins.
Happy Fourth of July! We wish you and your families a safe and fun-filled holiday.
Families of Character is an online, discussion-based course that develops character through virtues. If you would like information on the Families of Character program please visit familiesofcharacter.com
By Christie McCormack
Christie graduated from Metropolitan State College of Denver with a BA in Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management. She pursued event planning in various aspects of the event industry for over ten years. Christie recently moved to London with her husband and son. While they are enjoying their time across the pond, they cannot wait to be back in the beautiful state of Colorado in 2016. Christie’s passions in life are family, coffee, event planning, writing and consistently learning how to better herself as well as the people and world around her. If you don’t find Christie with her family or planning the next social event, she is probably writing in one of her favorite coffee shops.