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Train Up a Child: July 4th is more than fireworks

July 4th presents a wonderful time for the family to get together and have fun. Many good memories are made on this holiday. Included in those good memories could be storytelling by parents about the history of our country and its founding fathers.

It is very difficult to teach children to be patriotic in today’s climate of friction in our country. When children hear parents and others “badmouth” our leaders, they tend to form negative ideas rather than to become patriotic. It is important that we separate the actions of individuals from the intent of the makers of our Constitution. Children need to understand that the basis for our government is sound. When things do not work right, it is not because of the way our Constitution is written, but rather it is the result, most often, of individuals not following that Constitution. A focus on the history and individuals involved in forming our country will help to develop patriotism in children.

Parents could take one historical figure each year and concentrate on stories about that person. Children get enthralled with the heroic stories and just hearing them stimulates children to be heroic themselves.  The libraries in most areas have good books of stories that can be read or told to the children. The internet contains a wealth of information as well.

Here are some quotes of George Washington that can be used with children:

·       “A slender acquaintance with the world must convince every man that actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends.”

·       “Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”

·       “Be courteous with all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”

·       “Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.”

·       “Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.”

·       “Friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.”

·       “Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.”

When translated into modern day language, it is easy to see that these principles apply today as well as in the past. As children learn to respect the great character of our founders, they will automatically apply some of these traits to themselves.

Let’s all enjoy our holiday, but let’s never forget to be thankful for those deeply religious men and women who sacrificed so very much to make our celebration possible. Our example of thankfulness and patriotism will transfer to our children.

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