Creating Family Patriotic Celebrations
Celebrating patriotic holidays over the years can grow into a powerful joy-filled tradition that helps our families develop a love and appreciation for America and our great heritage. Holidays can help us prepare our children to make a difference for America when it's their turn to keep the flame of freedom alive.
Preparing for, and celebrating, a holiday can be fun. Start with the question, "What do I want to have happen?"
* Think about the holiday, why it's important and what you want to teach.
* Think about your family, what they would benefit from -- and enjoy doing.
* Carefully select meaningful activities to enjoy together.
Set aside a time to celebrate. If you can't celebrate on the actual holiday, you can create your own special day (or week) to celebrate when it's more convenient for you. You can even create your own "family holidays" that reflect the things your family cares about most.
Make the experience positive. If children are tired or grumpy, it's probably better to keep the learning experiences short. Your attitude is the key. Kids might not remember everything you say, but they will remember how you made them feel. I'm surprised how often reluctant teens later come to appreciate and even treasure family traditions they once complained about.
Our family celebrations are usually more festive when we include good friends and yummy food. We also enjoy fun activities, movies, and music. But we make an effort to include meaningful learning experiences. And some of our favorite memories are centered around times when we're trying to help others.
Holiday celebrations can benefit from an informal written evaluation afterward. What went well? What would we do differently next time? Even some of the specifics about resources used, budget, etc. can be helpful if they are recorded for future celebrations. These evaluations can be kept together in a notebook or file folder.
Probably the most important thing is to create happy memories together that everyone will want to remember. Be sure to record special experiences in a family journal. Include pictures when you can. Videos are great too. They will become a treasured reminder of happy family celebrations.