Today is election day. I hope that sentence didn’t cause you to leave this post because rest assured that I am not going to talk about the election in this post nor will I ever talk about it on my blog. I will say that today more than ever I feel compelled to share a post with you that has been on my heart since my kids were born: How to Teach Your Kids About Veterans Day. It sounds so simple, yet I feel like it is a value and a day that is being lost little by little.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
I know, I know. You are saying, I already know why it is important. But, let’s dig deeper. Today I made mention of the fact that my grandfather and father served in the military to a co-worker. That co-worker said, “Everyone’s grandfather served.” Hmm. While I didn’t take offense to that statement, It did made me stop and think. It is like we are becoming desensitized to the fact that brave people for years now have been serving our country faithfully. We take for granted that “everyone’s grandfather served.” It is almost like it is a “given”. This is where the importance of celebrating the day and keeping it alive comes into play.
I GET A DAY OFF FROM SCHOOL!
That’s right. We all get a day out of school because people served our country. This is where it started to hit home for me with my own kids. While I have always made a point to celebrate the day with my boys, it is when the oldest started school that I really kicked it up a notch. “I get a day off from school. What can we do?” was the statement I heard from him. My mind immediately went to all of the people in our family who had served and I thought, I know what we will do. We made sure to make that day about them (the entire reason why we get the day off). So what do you do?
IDEAS FOR MAKING AN IMPACT
- Make it Personal. Do you know someone who has served? Maybe you have a close friend, neighbor or family member. That is the best place to start. If that person is still alive it is a great time to do something special for them. Maybe just stop by for a visit and tell them thank you!
- Make a Card. This is such a simple thing for even the youngest kids to do. I know that my youngest loves to make cards and pictures for others. What a great way to let them give back! You could even carry it in your car and hand it out when you see a Veteran (not just on Veterans Day).
- Find a Local Legion or Nursing Home. We have a local nursing home that is specifically for veterans. If you call around you will be surprised at what you can find and how you can help. A lot of times people just want some company.
- Conversations. Here’s the thing, these conversations need to happen before Veterans Day in order to make some sort of impact. There are ways to talk to the very young as well as older kids about what the day means without it being “scary”. Start today by bringing it up. Remind them of the reasons why they get a day off on Friday.
- Visit a shelter. The sad reality is that many of the men and women in your local shelters are veterans. Even if you are unable to volunteer in the facility, you can always drop off cards or just stop for a visit. Maybe have your kids stop by and pick up new gloves and hand warmers for them to drop off.
Above all, just making sure to take the time to say “thank you” goes so far. Start with little steps and add on as your kids grow older. The impact that this can make on them could leave ripples for a life time. Let’s make sure our kids know that it is more than just a day off from school.