If you’re not teaching your kids about patriotism, honor, respect, and love of our country, you need to start now. If you don’t feel especially equipped to do so, there are people out there who can help.
Every time a national holiday rolls around, I think about my good friend, Mac, aka: Major Kelly. Mac is a retired marine, but nothing about his demeanor, code of conduct, or belief system is retired. Mac wears his hair short, has 14% body fat at age 62, and works tirelessly to fulfill his duties. Luckily, one of those duties is leading the Reserves Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) at a public high school in Georgia.
Mac was the first person I met when I started my teaching job at that school. He went out of his way to introduce himself, ever so politely, and to offer his help with anything I might need. No job was too large or too small for Mac. He was and is a consummate gentleman who feels duty- and honor-bound to represent himself and his country with dignity.
How many people can you name who live like this? And have your kids been exposed to them? The lucky students who go through Mac’s program are held to the highest standards of responsibility for one’s actions, promptness, respect when addressing and dealing with others, physical discipline and overall health, an understanding of our nation’s history, and a knowledge of current events and politics. Where do your kids stand in these areas? Do they possess these attributes? Can they speak intelligently about these topics? Do they have a sense of duty when it comes to their responsibilities and place in the world?
On this 4th of July, ask yourself if you’ve instilled a sense of pride in one’s country in your children. Have you taught them to represent their country and themselves with character and self-respect?
We teach our kids a lot about the minutiae of life so that they can survive and excel in our world. But sometimes, we don’t see the forest for the trees. We concentrate on the day-to-day requirements that make up our lives and forget the overriding themes that should guide us all. Our kids’ characters are what define them, what determines how they will respond to life’s twists and turns, how they will treat others. Their level of self-respect will define how they will allow others to treat them, what they will do when confronted with positive and negative temptations, and what will be their bottom line.
Don’t overlook what can be learned from this holiday and what we, as a nation, need a desperate reminder of: Our kids need character, they need respect, and they need a deep appreciation and love for the country in which they were so blessed to be born. Teach them this, and talk to them about this. And expose them to our nation’s heroes who have fought to preserve our safety and security and who have much to teach about honor and duty.