Of all the holidays on the calendar–of the few that usually hold the most positive memories for kids, is probably the Fourth of July. Baseball, hot-dogs, barbecues, hot summer days, get-togethers, sno-cones, and of course, fireworks displays–all add up to a typically ideal way to spend Independence Day. At least, that’s usually what comes to mind–that is–in our child’s mind…

I remember when two-dollar bills and bi-centennial quarters came out in 1976. We’d collect them as kids, not knowing what the big deal was about. Of course, I was in the first grade at the time–little appreciating the significance of the two-hundred-year anniversary. In those days I remember it being referred to as the American Revolution. But “Independence Day” works too.

Independence Day.

The day when the United States declared it’s Independence from foreign oppression 241 years ago. “When in the course of human events…” What must it have been like, during that frightening moment in time–a time of risk and endeavor–a small, infant nation, struggling to survive on its own–only desiring to have the freedom to govern itself? Undeniably, it is the saga of many other countries before and since. Some successful; others, not so much.

As I was pondering these deep thoughts, diligently searching for homeschooling resources for Social Studies, I found a curious redundancy: Almost every year of the primary grades is centered around United States History. Obviously, the history of our country is crucial to our elementary education in more ways than one. However, the thought struck me that our children–the future of our country and what it stands for–are painfully remiss about the circumstances surrounding its founding and the risks and lives that were taken in the process.

Pretty heavy stuff for a kid to digest.

I, admittedly, am no exception. As a kid, July 4th is a cool day to watch fireworks and get a day off…and maybe even go on vacation, and that’s definitely a good thing. But it’s also a good thing to appreciate where we’ve been and think of those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. Freedoms which have been, slowly and sadly, taken for granted over time.

Wow. What’s with the History lesson? Which post is this supposed to be? Isn’t this Parenting?

Yes. This is Parenting. Educating our children. Preparing them for life. Fitting them for a successful career or vocation. Our parents did it for us, and we must take up the torch and continue the lesson. The lessons I am sure desperate moms and dads shared with their little ones in the early years of the thirteen colonies. While those same fathers left homes to fight for their tiny government; and older brothers and sons were recruited–terrified, yet ready to fight at the same time, not knowing whether or not they would return home.

These same families exist almost 250 years later. No less fearful. No less brave. Just a different opponent. A different battleground–but the basic scenario is the same: freedom from tyranny and oppression; freedom to practice one’s beliefs without persecution; and freedom to elect representatives of their values and to make laws. “…that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness…”

There it is: happiness…and the pursuit thereof…

Only in a child’s vision of Independence Day….


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