Gratitude from Young Hearts Expressed to our Veterans Today

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Beth Pinyerd

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.

By Beth Pinyerd

During the month of November, the thankfulness theme is being taught and shared in Classroom Observer’s Column. What a wonderful world we would have if everyone took the time to share what they have with others. To meet the needs of others with food, material items or time spent with others are lessons that we need to teach our young children. In working with young children, we must realize that it is very hard for them to share. We have to guide them by being a good role model on sharing. As you sit down, play and interact with your child, role play with them in situations of sharing. Too, praise and encourage your child when they share. 

 Today is one of those times that we can teach our young children to share and care. Classroom Observer would like to extend warm wishes of gratitude and blessings to our veterans today. Today, Nov. 11, 2021 is recognized as Veterans’ Day. With this being a month of gratitude and thanksgiving, our community of children and families say thank you to our veterans. 

For our very young children, parents and teachers have a wonderful opportunity to teach them the significance of what Veterans’ Day means. I love teaching young children about how to pledge to the flag. The youngest of preschool classes can say the pledge of allegiance to the flag. Young children love to raise their right hand, put it over their heart and say the pledge. The children smile as they let me know they can feel their hearts beating under their hands. Young children rise to the occasion of patriotism for our country.

We can explain to our children that a veteran is a member of the armed services which is the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, Marine corps which are serving and have served during times of war as well as peace. Many children have mothers, daddies, grandparents, etc. who have served in the military. This is such an important day for us to truly stop, spend time and honor our veterans. Our schools honor this day by building it into the school calendar as a holiday. 

In the classroom, we educators may teach and describe veterans as people who wear uniforms, work in our offices or on military bases. But children may have veterans that live right next door to them in their neighborhoods, their churches, schools and the community. They meet these people every day and may not realize that these people have served as veterans. 

Veterans’ Day which is today is a United States federal holiday which gives communities and the nation an opportunity to say thank you for those who have made sacrifices for our democracy and freedom. Originally this was known as “Armistice Day”. Too, we need to differentiate between Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day.  Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring those who died in service to our country. On Veterans’ Day, we honor the memories of those who have died in service, but today, Veterans’ Day honors all those who are serving and have served in the military. 

As a community of families, it is so important from the heart for us to show personal gratitude to our veterans.  Children model what we do. How can we teach our children to honor and thank our veterans? How can we teach young children the importance of freedom?

1. A simple “thank you”, verbally or written, is very much appreciated by a veteran and their family. Too, spending time in guiding your children to make homemade gifts that can be delivered to veterans in your community or a local VA hospital means so much in expressing appreciation to the heart of a veteran. Also, working on making care packages for troops that may be overseas shows appreciation to veterans especially over this holiday season. This is a wonderful family project. 

2. Explain to your child that veterans and their families truly sacrifice their own safety, special events with their own families, holidays, etc. in order to keep America free. Having your family to outreach to a veteran’s family who may be serving time here at home or overseas is so much needed. Holidays can get mighty lonely and stressful when a mother or father are serving in the arm forces. Offering to grocery shop, take a meal, babysit younger children in their families, helping with yard work or even inviting or including them in your family traditions means so much to families who have a Mom, Dad or family member serving in the armed forces. We can support these families as they are supporting and serving us in our freedoms as a country. 

3. Children need to understand what freedom is. Explain to children that hard fought freedom for our country has given us specific rights such as practicing our religious freedom, going to school and being able to speak and write what’s on our minds. Older children understand in other countries that people may not be able to practice their religion or have freedom of expression. Our veterans have sacrificed in order to protect our freedoms. 

4. Veterans’ Day offers wonderful Intergenerational opportunities between young and old. Contacting administration or activity directors in local retirement villages to see if it is okay for your family to drop off thank you pictures or notes to veterans is a true heartfelt gesture of kindness that goes a long way in encouraging the hearts of older veterans. 

5. Include your children in praying for our veterans. This is the most powerful action that we can do for our active veterans as well as retired veterans. Let veterans know that you are praying for them. This will truly bring them encouragement, hope and peace. 

6. Many communities, schools, retirement villages and churches host and provide Veterans Day ceremonies and parades. Check local community calendars to find out when. Children truly sense and feel the importance of our veterans as we all give them a heartfelt salute. Happy Veterans Day!

Classroom Observer, Beth Pinyerd

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