501 Life Magazine | Thanking those who serve in the military
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Thanking those who serve in the military

by Katelin Whiddon

Our veterans are why we can celebrate our freedom today. We cannot say thank you enough to those men and women who have served and are currently serving our country.

As a parent, I want my children to learn gratitude in all areas of life and showing them how our veterans have served our country can help them appreciate and show gratefulness to those men and women.

While children of military families will more fully understand what veterans do, most children are unaware of the role these men and women play and the sacrifices they make. Talk to your children about the men and women who have fought for our country and allowed us to have the things we have today. Of course, depending on your child’s age and developmental level, the discussion will vary from child to child. Help children identify the American flag and tell them what it stands for. Show children pictures of men and women in uniform and how different military branches serve our country. For older children, you can even talk to them about how some people have lost their lives to protect others.

After we have talked to our children about these men and women, try to find ways they can show them they are thankful. If you have family, friends, church members, neighbors, etc., who are retired or active duty military, have your children make them a card saying thank you. If you feel led to bake cookies or another simple gift, feel free to include that as well.

There are also dozens of sick men and women in the VA hospital. You and your children could make “Get Well Soon” cards to deliver to the VA hospital. While it may not always be best to hand deliver them to each patient in the hospital, you can take them to the front desk and ask that they distribute them to patients.  You can also mail cards to your local VA hospital and have them delivered to “Voluntary Service Director.” There are also numerous VA clinics where you may be able to hand out “Get Well Soon” or “Thank you” cards. Visit va.gov/health to find a nearby facility.

If your children do not already know it, teach them the Pledge of Allegiance and some patriotic songs. Learning these will also give you an opportunity to discuss the importance of those men and women who have served our country.

Get some American flags to display in your yard or home and let your children help put them out. This can also serve as a great time to teach your children flag etiquette.

If you’re still looking for crafts and ideas, Pinterest has thousands of ideas that are appropriate for whatever age children you have. Hopefully we can help our children appreciate everything our military personnel has done for our great country and how to express our gratitude as both children and adults. 

 


A Conway native, Katelin Whiddon is a nurse practitioner at the Conway wound clinic for Arkansas Heart Hospital. She and her husband, Daniel, have two daughters. A University of Central Arkansas graduate, she has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and works in pediatrics.