I wake up every morning to another day of eating, sleeping, and breathing the military life. I’m a part of the crazies who truly do love the military lifestyle – most days.
In November our country celebrates National Military Family Appreciation month. I applaud our nation’s leaders for calling attention to the importance of our military and welcome the opportunity for everyone to take a moment and appreciate the sacrifices we make. It is also important to me to ensure my child grows up appreciative of our military and their sacrifices past, present, and future.
More than one branch.It’s super important to us, as a Coastie family, that we educate our kids about the other branches. Each branch has a purpose, mission, and role.
I want our children to know the different branches and have a clear understanding of their roles. It’s also important to educate them on how the military serves the government under civilian control with the job of supporting and defending the United States Constitution.
Include military in the historical frame.Lord knows we all love shooting off some fantastic fireworks on the 4th of July and there’s nothing like burgers and dogs fresh off the grill, but any American will gladly tell you that July 4th is so much more.
For us, it’s important to take each American holiday and historical event (both good and bad) as an opportunity to explain the need for the military and its role in protecting our freedoms.
Go live the history.Currently we live in Washington, D.C., a goldmine of history. There are monuments and memorials galore. Within an hour’s drive in any direction from D.C. there are historic battlefields.
The point is, there are countless places to visit throughout the United States that demonstrate the need for our military and the sacrifices that have been made. If you’re way out in the boonies on a tour, explore virtually and get creative with your explorations!
Connect where they are.What motivates your children? What are their favorite pastimes? Use those answers to find ways to connect them to the military.
Maybe they love technology…find apps on their smartphone (or your device) that teach them about the military. Maybe they love music…find songs that showcase the military, freedom, historical events, and sacrifices.
Pursue hands-on experience.Children learn through practical experience. Another great way to instill an appreciation of the military in children is to go volunteer as a family at military events. Different events showcase different facets of the military. You could volunteer at the Marine Corps Marathon, Wear Blue: Run to Remember, USO events, etc. Participate, and educate in the process!
Some may think we’re a little crazy having started instilling an appreciation of the military at a such a young age, but I still have yet to find a negative of teaching them young.
We want our children to fully comprehend their lives and their freedoms are due in part to the sacrifices others have made so they can have liberty.
For our family, we feel it’s vital that as Americans we teach our children about our country and have them grow up knowing they’re privileged to live in America. We want them to know that being part of the military family is an honor and that each man and woman serving (or who have served) is to be appreciated for their devotion, loyalty, and sacrifice.
Jessica Bertsch is a proud Coastie wife and mom of a 3 year old. In her “spare” time she runs Powerhouse Planning, LLC www.powerhouseplanning.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Army photo.