Mark Twain may have said it best: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”
That’s a good approach just about any day, but especially during polarized times such as these. After all, very few of us are happy with the way things are going in Washington, D.C., no matter your party. And even if you are among the few who are pleased with Congress and the president, just give it a few years. Things will change. That’s the nature of politics; it’s cyclical.
There’s a lot I’d change about D.C. and the country, but I still love America and the ideals for which it stands. That’s the way my wife and I are raising our kids. We don’t worship America but we do believe the U.S. is immensely blessed — and we want our kids to appreciate that.
Here are seven ways we’ve taught our kids about the United States and its history that might benefit your family, too:
1. Tell them about America’s triumphs. Teach them about the freedoms the Founders established that were uniquely American at the time – freedom of the press and religion. Talk about the great inventors: Samuel Morse (telegraph), Alexander Graham Bell (telephone), Thomas Edison (phonograph, motion picture camera, electric light bulb), the Wright Brothers (airplane). Discuss the role America played in World War I and II, and the way it won the space race and put the first man on the moon, and even won that 1980 Miracle on Ice.
2. Tell them about America’s flaws. Otherwise, their perspective of the United States will be skewed, even unbiblical. No country is perfect. We’re still a nation, for instance, that enslaved an entire race and that waited nearly 150 years to give women the right to vote. Then tell them how the Founders, through the Constitution, laid the groundwork to right the nation’s wrongs, and how no country – no matter how dominant – can thrive continuously without God’s blessings (Daniel 2:21, Psalm 22:28).