Tag Archives: parenting

Lessons I Want My Children to Learn: Patriotism

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This post originally ran last year, but I think it’s appropriate as we celebrate our nation’s birthday this week.

Happy Independence Day, y’all! I hope you have a safe and fun weekend. Please pray for our troops who defend our freedoms, and for their families who support them from home!

Do you know the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day? Other than one is in May and one is in November, I mean. 🙂

When I was teaching high school history, I always made it a point to teach the origins behind these important days.

Memorial Day, as the name suggests, is the US national holiday in which we remember and honor those who have fallen in service to our great nation.

It began during the Civil War as Decoration Day, when women would decorate the graves of the fallen soldiers with flowers and other mementos. As the years went on and the US was involved in more wars, the holiday adapted and in the late 1960’s, was officially assigned to the last Monday in May when the nation would remember all service members who had died in any war in our nation’s history.

Veteran’s Day, as the name suggests, honors all active and retired veterans of all wars in our history. This date came about from Armistice Day of WWI, (November 11, 1918, 11 am) when an armistice (cease-fire) was declared, eventually leading to the end of the war in 1919.

As time goes on, it seems that the reasons behind Memorial Day, July 4th, and Veteran’s Day have become somewhat mashed together and given Americans a reason to have a day off of work and a cookout.

I’m okay with that. I love cookouts. I love the American tradition of hotdogs and hamburgers by the pool. It’s fun. It’s America.

I’m even mostly okay with the confusion between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, because both honor those who have served.

I am not okay with the general public not knowing the history behind our Independence Day celebrations of July 4th. You might be surprised how many people do not have a basic understanding of this momentous day. Yeah, it’s actually different from the other two, but I’ll save that history for another post.

One of the lessons I want to instill into my children is patriotism.

I don’t believe enough people in America actually appreciate America anymore. Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost our understanding of exactly what it means to be free. We’ve lost our sense of duty–we’ve lost our sense of honor.

There was a time when young men stood up, eager to serve. Most of the teens I taught were petrified of serving in the military– the idea was laughable.

Several times I had to combat the idea that serving in the military was only for “stupid” people who couldn’t get into college.

“Do stupid people win wars?” I’d ask.

As a military brat, I have to admit, it was difficult for me to keep my cool in the classroom when this subject came up–more often than I’d like to acknowledge. (I’d like to believe people are smarter than to think the military is only for “dummies”, but alas, many are not.)

I was raised in a military home, with a tradition of military service and the idea that serving our nation was honorable, desirable, and respected.

Although my husband is not military, I want my children to grow up with this same belief.

My husband actually teaches middle school, which is another position to be greatly respected. 🙂 He definitely serves his nation, folks.

My son’s great-grandfathers served in WWII. Their grandfather (my dad) served in Desert Storm. Their uncle (my brother) is currently serving his country.

The idea that standing up for the values that America was built on, what our forefathers believed in when they drafted the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, is something to be admired.

While politics seem to continue to make a mess of the values that bore this nation, I want my sons to have an understanding of where we’ve come from, our history, our traditions, and what it really means to be an American.

I want them to believe that America is great. I want them to know it. I want them to be proud of all those who came before us, establishing this great nation. I want them to be proud to be an American.

So yes, we will be cooking out hamburgers and making s’mores this 4th of July.

But we’ll also be talking about what it means to serve our country. We’ll talk about military service, an option that will be their choice someday, and we will talk about how even at their young ages, we can pray for our leaders, pray for our nation, and pray for those who have served, are serving, and for the families who love them.

Share with me: What’s your favorite thing about being an American?

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Why I Won’t Be One of the Boys

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My two oldest boys, off on a mission to save the world!

I’m surrounded by testosterone. I’m living in a house with 4 men (okay, one man and three little boys who will one day be men…)

My life is full of trains and race cars, superheroes and bikes, mud and dirt and noise and bumps and bruises, sports, sports, and more sports. How many hours straight can a dude watch ESPN before his brain explodes?

It would be easy for me to become what they are. It would be easy for me to be just “one of the boys.”

I love superhero movies. I have learned more about trains in the past seven years than I ever thought I would know. I can kick a soccer ball and play catch with my sons. I enjoy watching football. I can play “shoot ’em up” and I’ve dusted off my Super Mario skills to keep up with the boys on the Wii.

But I’m not a boy, and I think it is vitally important that my sons know it.

While I love them and I love being involved in their lives, they need to realize that beyond the biological differences God created between boys and girls, I am a lady and I expect to be treated as such.

Why do I expect this? Because I live like a lady and I am preparing them to go out into the world as gentlemen. You’re welcome, future daughters-in-law.

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My boys constantly hear the words, “This is how a gentleman treats a lady.”

I want sons who are as rough-and-tumble as the next group of boys, but I want my sons to respect women. I want them to protect women. I want them to show compassion to their future wives and develop habits that are respectable, cultured, and refined.

Why do so many women believe chivalry is dead? Because we, as women, no longer expect it to be alive. We’ve demanded equality and so we are receiving it. And it’s not always pretty.

I want to raise gentlemen. But raising a gentleman starts with me— I am the most important lady in their lives right now and my life must reflect that.

In this ever-changing world where women are becoming (and sometimes expected to be) more and more masculine, it’s no longer commonplace to find ladies among a sea of gentlemen. It’s a nostalgic thought, dead with the introduction of “equality” and Women’s Lib.

In my home boys and girls are not equals because we were created differently. I want my sons to realize the differences and step up to be the kind of men God created– ones who love and honor their wives and families, who make it a priority to provide, and put God and their families before everything else.

I have no shame in setting high expectations of my sons in all areas of their lives, including knowing that when there is a lady present, their inner gentleman must come out.

I’m old school like that and there’s no shame in it.

Share with me: What quality to you think is most important in a gentleman? In a lady?

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Is “Middle Child Syndrome” Really a Thing?

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As we get closer and closer to meeting our new baby boy, I look at my other two sons and I wonder…

How is the introduction of a new baby brother going to change them? How will the dynamic of our family change?

Only time will tell, I know, but I can’t imagine there will be any drastic changes. When our second came along, he sort of just fit in with what we were already doing. There will be a learning curve of having a new baby in the house, sure, but I think that we’ll adapt to a routine that he sort of just…fits into.

But I wonder how his introduction to our family will change his brothers.

Our oldest will be a few weeks away from turning seven when the baby arrives. He’s gregarious, outspoken, dramatic, and has the most sensitive heart for people.

Our current youngest will be four in June. He’s all mischief. He’s our little “evil genius,” as we call him. He tends toward shyness in public, more so than his brother, but once he’s comfortable, he turns into the class clown.

And both of them are 100% boy. Daredevils who imagine themselves to be superheros or Ninja Turtles all the time.

So when their baby brother comes, how will they change?

I haven’t done a ton of study on birth order, but I do know a little bit. Enough to know that I’m most curious (and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit a little nervous) about my soon-to-be middle child. The one who’s full of mischief.

I wonder if he’ll spend the rest of his years suffering from “middle child syndrome.” According to this article from MSNBC, middle children spend their lives vying for attention and resentful of their siblings and parents.

But I wonder if that has as much to do with parenting style as it does with the actual birth order.

On the flip-side, this article from NPR talks about perks of being a middle child– that the lack of pressure on the child from the parent allows the child to discover their own talents and excel. They can become expert listeners and negotiators and develop keen skills in the business world.

Perhaps middle child syndrome isn’t a real thing at all.

Perhaps it is. Anyone watch this past week’s episode of Downton Abbey? Poor Edith and her horrible case of middle child syndrome. She does seem desperate for attention and resentful of her siblings. She’s also made some pretty poor choices in her life and hasn’t always been the most loving sister…

I’m the oldest child of three in my family. My husband is the oldest child of three in his family.

I suppose I ought to do an unofficial survey of our middle siblings and see what they think.

For now, I’ll leave it to you.

Share with me: What do you think about Middle Child Syndrome? As a parent or a middle child yourself, how does middle child syndrome affect that child, the family, and how can parents be better aware of it?

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