Friday, July 3, 2015

5 Simple Ways To Teach Patriotism


 Please welcome Elizabeth Tatge as a new guest blogger. Elizabeth left the Air Force after a four-year tour of duty to work for Air Traffic Control. She held stints in Las Vegas, Denver, and Wichita. After 20 years, she retired. Elizabeth is active in whatever church she attends. She's directed drama, organized women's retreats, and volunteered to help with VBS. She has two adult children. Elizabeth doesn't refer to herself as a writer, but I hope to change that. She's read to me from her journals. She's a thinker. A reflector. A writer. This is her first post for the blog.



5 Simple Ways To Teach Patriotism by Elizabeth Tatge

After serving a four-year tour of duty in the Armed Forces, in my case the United States Air Force, I came out with a strong sense of patriotism. In Basic Military Training School, aka boot camp, we were taught respect for our country and how to honor the flag.

For me, the American flag translates over to America itself. Love of our great country and patriotism must not be forgotten when it comes to teaching our children the basics of life.

Here are my five tips for raising patriotic children.




One: eyes on the flag

When my children were small, whenever the National Anthem would play on television, I would have them stand in our living room with their right hand over their heart. They kept silent until the song was over.

When I was in the Air Force, we were taught to visually seek out the American Flag whenever the anthem was played. We were to turn toward it, remove our hat, and keep our eyes directly on the flag until the song was overor, if a parade, wait until the flag passed by.

Teaching children how to behave during the National Anthem or when our flag passes by is a simple way to teach a child patriotism. Our actions show children that the flag is important to Americans, and that it deserves these moments of silence, awe, and respect.

Thirty-plus years later, I still practice this respect of our flag. Every time.

Two: attend patriotic ceremonies

Often times, small towns will hold a ceremony at the local cemetery. By attending this and similar events, such as a Veteran's Day parade, your child will learn through others that country and military service is important, and that those who have served, should be honored and rememberedespecially those who lost their lives in the line of duty to their country.

Attending events that honor our military will show your child that it is important to you, and it will become important to them as well.

Three: display the flag

Display an American Flag on the outside of your house or in your yard. If not continuously, then at least on patriotic holidays. Ask your child to help you put up and take down the flag. Children love to help, and this is one way to teach them how to handle the flag. Follow the basic rules of etiquette for handling and displaying the American Flag and talk about them with your children. They will understand the importance of something that is to never touch the ground. That one simple thing is very much on their level. If you treat the flag with reverence, your child will also.

Four: participate in a patriotic parade

Buy all kinds of red, white, and blue paraphernalia. Have your kids decorate whatever they want and march or ride in the parade. Do it every year until they won't do it anymore!

One year, my kids put the bunny cage in their little red wagon, decorated it, and along with the bunny (poor guy) headed off down to Main Street in Cheney, Kansas, to march in our small town parade. They were proud as could be! 

Five: teach patriotic songs

Teach your child the National Anthem and patriotic favorites like Yankee Doodle. When on vacation in a vehicle, sing these songs together. Make it fun! Ask your child to participate whenever there is an opportunity to sing a patriotic song. Encourage your school's music teachers to sing patriotic songs and have patriotic programs, and send them thank you cards when they do.


How do you celebrate our Independence Day? What displays of patriotism or the flag exist in your life? Any favorite July 4th memories?

Credits: all pictures courtesy of Chris Harris of Kansas Wildlife and Nature Photography. Picture 1: Lower Fox Creek School House at the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve. Picture 2: A country barn in the Haverhill area of Kansas. Picture 3: Milkhouse Barn near Clearwater, Kansas. 4. Lake Afton Car Show in 2014. Chris' photography can be purchased on Fine Art America.



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