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Monday, June 19, 2017

TEACH CHILDREN

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... what a great country we live in!

All Americans should realize how fortunate we are to be born in the USA. All parents should teach their children to appreciate that good fortune. Imag- ine waking up one morning in a mud hut with no running water and no indoor toilet or not being able to go so sleep at night because of the bombs going off and war that is raging all around you. Imagine having to walk three miles over hard terrain to get water to drink and having to carry it a long way back to your home. Imagine seeing men being beheaded for professing Christianity. Yes, we live in a wonderful country, and sometimes we take that for granted.

Freedom takes many forms. Freedom can be the right to openly speak your mind. Freedom can be the feeling you get when you escape the pain that comes with abuse and neglect. Freedom can be living the way God wants you to live. Freedom can be the ability to decide how you will live your life. Freedom can be having the option to be creative and express yourself. Freedom is special, and I will always be grateful for it. But we must teach our children to appreciate it, too.

Children won’t appreciate the freedoms of our country unless we teach them about them.

A few suggestions to help children to understand freedom and how our country affords it for us:

Tip #1 – Talk to your kids about the meaning of the day – July 4th is celebrated because America declared its freedom to govern its own country, breaking away from Great Britain’s rule.

Tip #2 – Find books on your child’s age level that gives the story of America’s birthday.

Tip #3 – Read some of the Declaration of Independence with your child (if age applicable).

Try to explain what it means in a way that they can understand. Make them realize how important this document was in all the events that led up to what we now know as July 4th, or Independence Day.

Tip #4 – Take time to honor our men and women in the military.

Take some time out to honor soldiers while you are teaching your children about the history of the country and Independence Day. Take some flowers or cemetery and flags to a local place them on soldiers’ graves. As you do this, talk to your kids about the sacrifice that has been made for freedom and how important it is that we never forget about those sacrifices made in the past.

Tip #5 – Listen to and sing patriotic songs with your kids.

You’ll find many patriotic songs out there. Teach some of the songs to your kids or allow them to listen to these patriotic songs. Try to explain to them the meanings of the songs that you listen to. This is a great time to teach kids about the National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” You can teach them the story behind our nation’s song and teach them the words to the song as well. Many children today are growing up never knowing the words to their own National Anthem. Work with kids and sing along with them until they know at least the first verse of the song.

Tip #6 – Discuss the meaning of the flag. This is a wonderful time to discuss the meaning of the flag to your child as well. Teach your child about the colors of the flag, what they mean, and why they are so important. Consider purchasing a flag that you can display. Talk to kids about the importance of the flag and teach them the proper way to handle a flag as well. Remind them that the flag stands for freedom and is an important part of the Independence Day celebration as well.

These are just a few ideas that can help you teach your kids more about the Fourth of July and what it really means. We cannot afford to forget the history behind the country we live in. By passing down the real meaning of this holiday to our children, we can keep patriotism alive through the generations to come.

A few facts about Independence Day, July 4:

• July 4th is Independence Day or also known as America’s birthday in the United States.

• We celebrate the Fourth of July because it represents the day that America became separate from British rule.

• Under British rule, the colonists were unhappy with British government.

• They felt they were unfairly taxed and had no vote on the laws that affected them.

• The colonists decided to write a document announcing they were no longer part of the British government and they were going to be a new nation called the United States of America.

• This document is known as the Declaration of Independence.

• On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed, giving the United States independence from Great Britain.

• The first person to sign the Declaration of Independence was John Hancock.

• The Declaration of Independence was written on July 2, 1776.

• Thomas Jefferson is credited for writing the Declaration of Independence. However, the Committee of Five (Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman and Robert Livingston) were all involved with the final draft of the Declaration of Independence.

• The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men representing the 13 colonies.

• The 13 colonies were: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

• The Declaration of Independence was written during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783).

• The first event celebrating the Fourth of July at the White House was in 1801.

• Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national animal of the U.S., but he was outvoted and the bald eagle became the national animal. John Adams wrote this in a letter to his wife, Abigail, on July 2, 1776: “The day will be most memorable in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, bonfire and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of the continent to the other ….”

So why do we celebrate the Fourth of July with parades, fireworks and BBQ?

Answer that question with a conversation with your children.

Dianne Glasgow is a family and child specialist at the LSU AgCenter in Caddo Parish. She can be reached at dglasgow@agcenter.lsu.edu.

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