One of the most rewarding parts of being a parent/mentor/teacher is the opportunity I have to teach my child about life from a young age. Children’s brains are like sponges and they pick up their values mostly home — so I take it seriously that it’s my job to develop values along with things like cleaning a room, brushing teeth and learning to read.
Veteran’s Day gets commemorated at schools, churches and communities and so our kids are likely to hear the word “veteran” today, but do they really know what that means? Do they have the appropriate context that will deepen their appreciation for the day, or will they just go through the motions?
Having learned that I can’t take knowledge for granted, I took the opportunity to teach the meaning of these words before school today:
Veteran: A veteran is a man or a woman who has served in the United States military. We have veterans going back to the beginning of our country all the way through today. They serve in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.
Voluntary Service: We have a voluntary military. That means men and women go into the military by their own choice. No one forces them to do this. “Because there are enough Americans who volunteer, your dad can continue teaching and others can continue their lives without going into the military to serve.” If our government had to force people to serve, we would have a very different country.
Honor: Most people volunteer because they want to honor their country by protecting it. They feel such a strong sense of honor, gratitude and patriotism that they knowingly put themselves in harm’s way to serve America. Because of this honor and willingness to serve, we still live in a free country. Veterans have protected our way of life and we live our peaceful life in our home, in our community today because of all them in the past. People in other country’s don’t live like we do. We are truly blessed to live here.
Sacrifice: By showing their honor to America and its values, history and people, they make sacrifices. They sacrifice their time away from their homes and families, the comfort of their own beds and at times away from food, water and showers. Some get hurt physically and some get really sad because of what they see. War is not glamorous or fun. It’s hard work and people see horrible things that they can’t unsee or forget. Others get killed while serving our country.
Respect: “Because of their honor and sacrifice, they deserve our respect everyday. Today is the day we pay extra attention to them and have ceremonies like the one you’re going to. We owe them our gratitude for their service, but mostly we need to respect them for what they did. And that means today at the service you need to be thinking about these things. Pay attention. Show your honor and respect to the flag that represents America because that will make all veterans feel valued and proud.”