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Celebrating Independence Day as a Family
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With Independence Day approaching, we look for exuberant and meaningful ways to celebrate. After all, this day holds great significance in the history of our country!

As I make celebration preparations for July 4th, I reflect upon a few notions in an effort to make Independence Day more purposeful and meaningful yet filled with excitement, wonder, and cheer. These notions involve patriotism, history, and science.

After reviewing these notions, keep reading for 15 fun ideas to help your children understand the depth, breadth, and meaning behind Independence Day. I guarantee you will celebrate with more fervor than ever before!

Patriotism


Since patriotism is something that people feel inside and this feeling is different for every person, I challenge you to ask yourself what patriotism means to you.

I feel deeply humbled by the sacrifice so many make for our well-being in this country. From the fight to become an independent nation to the present-day training that aids us in keeping peace throughout the world, the men and women who serve in the military have and continue to have great significance. They have fought against slavery, terrorism, and genocide, sometimes even giving their own lives during the fight. They have also worked to protect our homeland. It takes years of training, arduous work, leadership, and teamwork to achieve this. I also highly regard military spouses, parents, and children who often sacrifice hugs and time together with their loved ones. (Often, they endure time apart over holidays and even years of childhood.) I pray for God to calm their hearts as they worry about their loved one’s safety. From the person serving in the military to the families of these brave warriors, we owe a great debt.

As citizens of this distinguished nation, many of us also perform great works right here on our own soil. We are comprised of citizens that serve others through their professions. These include, but are not limited to, doctors, scientists, historians, first responders, teachers, and grocery store clerks. We also serve others through kindness as we interact with them throughout our daily lives. Every single one of us holds remarkable significance as we work together in service of humankind. (1 Corinthians 12: 12-27)

Many of us do not realize how uniquely blessed we are to live in this nation. Multitudes of citizens in other countries don’t think twice when they see children lined up on the street with hyperextended and broken legs because the people standing behind them want money. Then there are people that face little to no consequence when they mandate genocide trying to eliminate whole races, people with certain beliefs, or people with perceived disabilities. Some send their children into battle strapped with grenades. Others make their children work long hours day after day in factories. Then there are countries who rely on the government to appropriate funds for medical care, which leads to assigning value to lives, often leaving millions to die of treatable illnesses. Our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt, shared powerful words of wisdom when he stated the following in an address delivered in his home at Oyster Bay to the Long Island Bible Society in 1901;

“Every thinking man, when he thinks, realizes what a very large number of people tend to forget, that the teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole civic and social life that it would be literally---I do not mean figuratively, I mean literally---impossible for us to figure to ourselves what that life would be if these teachings were removed. We would lose almost all the standards by which we now judge both public and private morals; all the standards toward which we, with more or less of resolution, strive to raise ourselves. Almost every man who has by his lifework added to the sum of human achievement of which the race is proud, has based his lifework largely upon the teachings of the Bible…Among the greatest men a disproportionately large number have been diligent and close students of the Bible at first hand.”

-Theodore Roosevelt


We, as citizens, must work hard to assure that the rights, freedoms, and values outlined by our Founding Fathers are upheld and align with God’s Word. That, dear friends, is our duty and responsibility. Therefore, I outline patriotism as a great duty and responsibility not only to our country, but to all of humankind.

Significance of History


Our children must study the history of various nations and empires so they understand how decisions throughout history impact races, cultures, values, and economies. Children need to understand how the worldviews of leaders affect the decisions those leaders make. Our children should also learn how God places leaders throughout history to move us to accomplish His work here on Earth.

Romans 13:1

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.


Children must study our Constitution and review the rights, freedoms, and principles on which our nation was built. If children are not educated on such matters, they could unknowingly vote away the very rights, freedoms, and values that our ancestors fought for. We must inspire our children to stand for what is right and fight for what is good. We must prepare them to step into the roles of future warriors, leaders, and caregivers. Who knows, your child may be the future George Washington, General MacArthur, Florence Nightingale, or Amelia Earhart!

Value of Science


God created this world and has given us the ability to open new doors to knowledge beneficial to the well-being of humankind through the study of His creation. The study of God’s creation has inspired inventions to improve our everyday lives through creature comforts such as washing machines, furnaces, and even eating utensils. Scientific study has enabled meteorologists to save countless lives with their ability to detect and track storms. By studying God’s world and applying the scientific process, chemists and engineers were able to produce lifesaving devices such as airbags. Advances in medicine have enabled medical professionals to diagnose and treat diseases, allowing people to live longer and serve others for a lengthened time here on earth. As we study God’s world, we become better equipped to serve others in increasingly unique and life-changing ways!

1 Corinthians 3:9

For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’ field, God’s building.


Celebrating Independence Day


Even though summer brings to pause most of our children’s in-depth studies, we can seize the opportunity, through celebration, to enhance and solidify our children’s understanding of patriotism, history, and science. When my children understand and appreciate the true meaning, breadth, and depth of Independence Day, they join me in celebrating with more gratitude, excitement, and joy. Here are some suggestions that will not only generate tons of memories, laughter, and togetherness, but also help your children grasp the historical significance of Independence Day. During your celebration, embrace the opportunities to study and apply the scientific process in a fun way and inspire your children to further study God’s creation with renewed wonder and excitement.



  • Search Pinterest for patriotic themed food ideas and incorporate those ideas into your meals. (Use correlating plates, cups, napkins, and silverware for added effect.)
  • Decorate your home with red, white, and blue streamers as well as balloons and other patriotic themed decorations.
  • Have your whole family dress in patriotic colors.
  • Purchase face paints from your local craft store and paint patriotic faces. (We prefer the Snazaroo brand face paints.)
  • Review the Declaration of Independence found >>> here <<<. (If time and attention spans allow, you may also wish to review the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.)
  • Play a game of Independence Day Jeopardy. Find one >>> here <<<. (Alternatively, create an Independence Day trivia game.)
  • Incorporate an afternoon movie or documentary in your day’s fun. I find the following series very informative: The American Heritage Series. Directed by David Barton, Bridgestone, 2009. DVD. You may also like the musical, 1776. Directed by Peter H. Hunt, Columbia Pictures, 1972. DVD, Blu-ray. You may also enjoy the movie, Johnny Tremain. Directed by Robert Stevenson, Walt Disney Pictures, 1957. DVD. For younger children, try The Animated Hero Classics: George Washington. Directed by Richard Rich, Nest Entertainment, 1992. DVD. Your children may also enjoy Patrick Henry: Quest for Freedom. Directed by John Derrick, American Animation Studios, 2007. DVD.
  • Refresh your knowledge of the flag >>> here <<< and discuss proper flag etiquette.
  • Hang a flag outside your home and recite “The Pledge of Allegiance” together.
  • Teach and practice flag folding. (Download a pdf >>> here <<< )



  • Discuss the inspiration and historic details surrounding the conception of our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” (view details >>> here <<< )
  • Plan craft time and challenge your child to create a patriotic wind catcher, noisemaker, or bracelet. (Use color changing ultraviolet beads for added interest.)
  • Apply scientific flavor into your celebration.
    • Delicately layer red, white, and blue beverages by carefully pouring them slowly over ice, starting with the drink with the highest sugar content at the bottom and the least sugar content at the top. (We start with blue Gatorade, then Diet Sprite, and finally red Kool-Aid with no sugar.)
    • Fill patriotic themed cookie cutters with baking soda and let your children use an eyedropper to apply tiny amounts of colored vinegar on top. Your home will be filled with giggles as they watch them fizz.
    • Build a Lego American flag.
    • Supply patriotic straws and marshmallows. Challenge your children to build a bridge or other desired structure.
    • Supply white lightning sticks for children to wave in the air at dusk. As they change colors, watch the light mix.
    • Hand out glow sticks, bracelets, and other items at dusk for added fun and discuss the science behind the glow!
  • Search the internet for information on the chemistry involved in the creation of fireworks. View a link explaining this >>> here <<<.
  • Join in the tradition of viewing fireworks and rejoice holding sparklers! (For added interest, wear disposable rainbow glasses when viewing fireworks!)


Meet the Author


Yvonne Strachan - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant
www.homeworksbyprecept.com/Yvonne-Strachan


 

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