“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.
Classroom Observer would like to extend warm wishes of gratitude and blessings to our veterans today. Today, Nov. 11, 2020 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.
Parents and teachers have a wonderful opportunity to teach our very young children the significance of what Veterans Day means. I love teaching young children about how to pledge to the flag. Our little class of three-year-olds faces the writing board at the front of the room, raises their right hands, puts them over their hearts and says 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 are the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marine Corps, which are serving and have served during times of peace, as well as war. Many children have mothers, daddies and grandparents 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 or work in our offices or on military bases. But children may have veterans who live right next door to them in their neighborhoods, or there are probably veterans in their churches, schools and the community. They meet these people every day and do not realize that these people have served as veterans.
Veterans Day is a United States federal holiday that 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 everyone who is serving or has served in the military.
As a community of families, it is so important for us to show personal gratitude, from the heart, to our veterans. Children follow 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?
A simple “ thank you” verbally or in writing is very-much appreciated by veterans and their families. 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. Working on making care packages for troops who are overseas shows appreciation to veterans, especially over this holiday season. This is a wonderful family project.
Explain to your child that veterans and their families truly sacrifice their own safety, special events with their own families, holidays and more in order to keep America free. Having your family reach out to the family of a veteran who is serving time here, at home or overseas is so much needed. Holidays can get mighty lonely and stressful when a mother or father is serving in the armed forces. Offering to grocery shop, deliver a meal, babysit younger children in their families, help with yard work or even inviting or including them in your family traditions means so much to families who have a mom, dad or other 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.
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.
Veterans Day offers wonderful intergenerational opportunities between young and old. Contacting the 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. Especially this year with the pandemic, children making thank you cards is so much appreciated by our older veterans.
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.
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