Every July we all become more aware of freedom. Yet July 4th is more than just watermelon, barbecues, sparklers and fireworks. Yes, we need to take time to celebrate freedom, but we also need to take time to teach it. As Ronald Reagan said,
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
Big order, right? Thankfully we can do this in simple ways.
1. Explain what July 4th is all about. It’s our country’s birthday. On July 4, 1776, our county’s founders declared independence from Great Britain. It was dangerous because they were going against one of the world’s strongest armies, yet they wanted to make their own laws and govern themselves. July 4th is a time to celebrate the bravery of our founding fathers. It’s a time to celebrate our country.
2. Celebrate the American flag. Find a photo of an American flag and count the stars and stripes. What do they stand for? The 50 stars stand for the 50 states. The thirteen stripes stand for the original British colonies. The flag represents our country and is recognized by people around the world. Because of this we need to treat it with respect. Ask your kids what respect for the flag looks like.
3. Rejoice in our freedoms. Something that makes the United States special is the freedom given to people who live here. We are allowed to meet with friends, write our opinions, gather in churches and pray. Some places around the world do not allow these things. These rights are written in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Take a moment to thank God for these freedoms.
4. Pray for our President, government leaders, civil servants and military. These people do their best and work hard to maintain our freedoms. They have hard jobs. Think of different people you can pray for. Make this a part of your celebration.
5. Share your stories or your family’s stories about freedom. Did you or a family member serve in a military? What does it mean for you to be free? When have you witnessed others struggling because they didn’t have the same types of freedom? Take time to share stories. Freedom will becomes special with these personal connections.
6. Remind them that our ultimate freedom is in Jesus Christ. We live in a free country which is important. More important, we are freed from the rules and control of our enemy, the devil, when we believe in and accept Jesus as our personal Savior. If we believe in Jesus we now live by His rules, just as we live by the rules of the United States when living in this country. As Galatians 8:36 says,
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
7. Teach that because of our freedom it’s our job to love and serve others. Galatians 5:13 says,
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
To understand their freedom kids need to know their personal purpose and what God has called them to. If you know a young man, a great book to share is Young and Beardless by John Luke Robertson.
In the book, John Luke Robertson, the oldest son of Willie and Korie Robertson and brother of Sadie Robertson, shares his story of what it’s like to grow up as a Robertson and all the fun and craziness that entails, as well as what he has learned as he has stepped out into his own unique experiences. He also shares what it’s like to navigate the walk from boyhood to becoming a man. Topics in this book include friendship, kindness, dreaming big, embracing your God-given uniqueness, taking chances, and choosing mentors. This book is perfect for young man to embrace their freedom and know what it’s about!
What about you? What do you do to teach your kids about freedom?