Are you teaching your grandchildren to honor service members? Many men and women serve our country in the armed forces and are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect our American way of life. Throughout the history of our nation, many have given their lives in duty to their country. It’s important we help young family members understand the concept of military service and respect those who choose to devote a portion or all of their adult lives in such a manner.
Here are some ideas for building a conversation that develops honoring service members in the character of your grandchildren:
Are there family members who have served who will share their stories of service? Is there a long history of family military service? Can you share pictures and history? Kids are usually fascinated with old pictures so don’t forget to dig deep into the family archives.
Share historic events and conflicts with your grandchildren. Work to understand the conflict, then explain it to young ones. Demonstrate honor by talking about the service men and women as honorable citizens of their country whether you agree or disagree with the nature of the military actions. Keep the focus of the discussion on the people who sacrifice, train, and implement the policy of a nation.
Are there museums or military bases in your area where you could tour with your grandchildren? In Dubois, Wyoming there’s an amazing military vehicle museum. It would be a wonderful place to help young people understand military service.
As simple as it may sound, take the time to define words like “honor.” Especially with younger children, it’s easy to talk earnestly to them about a topic and then discover they don’t know the meaning of a key word you’ve been using. Think ahead about the age and educational level of your grandchildren and explain the terminology.
Each branch of the military has its own website. Explore them with your grandchild. While much is focused on recruiting, there are amazing images and great information that will help your grandchild to distinguish between different areas of service. While you’re online, search for information on the constitutional foundation for the formation of our military. Help your grandchild see the whole picture.
Finally, I’d like to stress again that we must, as beneficiaries of freedom maintained in part by the sacrifice and service of family, friends, and neighbors who willingly choose to join our military, remember the human element. Politics and policy often cause military action that some will hail as wonderful and others will villainize. Remember that our service members are not necessarily policymakers. They are the young men and women charged with a duty to defend our country. They are the older men and women who have dedicated their lives to the defense of our nation. They deserve respect for their service and willingness to put themselves in harm’s way on our behalf.