Memorial Day

Memorial Day, Children, Communities: How Will Your Child Connect?

Memorial Day is a day to remember the men and women who died in service to their country. It’s also a reminder to us that we live in community. Their sacrifice was given not for themselves, but for others. Our well-being is not possible on our efforts alone. All across the country, communities are honoring their sons and daughters who lost their lives.

Memorial Day

What events might be happening in the area where you live? Commemoration events, laying of wreaths, parades, fly-pasts, and fireworks are possibilities. There are also music and cultural events, outdoor activities, and a variety of sports and festivals. Some people are concerned the non-military events take away from the solemnity of the day. But, in a way, the activities also underscore the reason why. These celebrations are possible for us because of the sacrifice of others.

Many families will be using the time to get together. This is community on a small scale, a little up from the family and extended family, to neighborhood, and then to the area where you live. Being a part of Memorial Day activities, in whatever their form, makes community of the country and pockets around the world.

family stories for young children

We need others, and in turn, they need us. We can extend celebrations to the question: What role can we play in service to others? For children, being of service starts, again, in the community of the family. Instead of just seeing chores as work that has to be done, we can help them understand that as they do these tasks, they are helping the people around them. As with life, Memorial Day will involve work and play, and the very basis, life and death. For children to understand the meaning of Memorial Day, they need the context of being part of a community, to honor, to celebrate, to serve. How will your family honor and celebrate Memorial Day? How will you connect to community?

Children’s Drawings Can Show and Tell

Last week was Canada’s turn for a long weekend, Victoria Day. Now, it’s the long weekend in the US for Memorial Day. For both countries, these days are the unofficial start of summer. Similarly, they both have links to historical events and past traditions.

Children are very present oriented, which is quite understandable. They don’t have a lot of past. Adults are often reminded to be in the Now. But, for all of us, what we imagine as our future, is influenced by our past and at some level, we need to engage with the past.

child's drawing soldier

A simple Memorial Day activity for kids is to ask them to draw a picture of a soldier. As we ask children to remember soldiers, we also need to check what they know about them. Having them draw and tell us about what they colored on the page is one way to see and hear their thoughts. Children’s drawings are a sort of show and tell.

The following video has been circulating on Facebook this week. For the charity, Inspiring the Future, children were asked to draw a picture of a firefighter, a surgeon, and a fighter pilot.

Out of 66 pictures, 61 drawings were men and only 5 were women. When we ask children to draw a picture of a soldier, will they draw men or women? Most likely, the soldiers will be men. Regardless, this post isn’t a criticism of gender limitations. That would not be appropriate here. Instead, it’s a reminder to think of soldiers are real people. As neighbors, family members, the dads and moms of kids who also go to play school, daycare, and kindergarten. Do kids know what they do? Who they are?

Having a link to a soldier in the present, helps children connect to the past. A personal familiarity will make remembering others so much more meaningful. Is there a way you can make connecting to a soldier happen for your child?

Think of Others on Memorial Day

It’s a good thing May is a long month with all 31 days to fit in so much on the calendar. Maybe other parts of the world are not so busy, but North America has five significant dates: May 5th is Cinco de Mayo for the country of Mexico, the third Monday in May is Victoria Day for Canada, the third Saturday and the fourth Monday are Armed Forces Day then Memorial Day for the United States, and all three countries also celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday. That’s more than one special event a week. There are many people from one country or the other that live and work in a different one. Plus, as good neighbors we take an interest in each other. No matter where we live on the continent, we can think of others on Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is one of mixed emotions, from the grief and somber reflections to the happy and carefree kickoff to summer. First known as Decoration Day, over a century ago, General Logan proclaimed the day as “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.”child with flowers

There is an old saying for this time of year, April showers bring May flowers. Somehow, that seems to apply to emotions too. A flower contains both a beginning and an end. We use flowers to express our joy and sadness. A flower on a grave, or tied with ribbon for mothers, or a sprig shared with a friend carries a message from our hearts.

Today, Memorial Day, no matter where you live, could you and your child think of others and remember with a flower?

Kindergarten Readiness And Memorial Day

Memorial Day activities can be part of children’s development (and kindergarten readiness) and acknowledge the special meaning of the day. There may be events that are appropriate for children’s participation in your community. There are also things that families can do at home. In a recent post, parenting expert Michele Borba wrote that “… even the … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness And Memorial Day

Kindergarten Readiness – Country Starts With Kids

In an earlier blog this week I talked about the importance of bonding and connecting to others. In kindergarten, there are increased demands on kids socially and emotionally just because they are part of a new group. Helping kids practice in groups, such as playschools, parent and kids groups, etc. also helps them develop this … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Country Starts With Kids

Readiness for Kindergarten – Memorial Weekend for Kids

Even though Memorial Day is Monday, there are many activities all around the country that happen today. Some of these activities have a serious tone, some are playful. When we stop to think about it, that’s rather important.  After all, a healthy situation needs balance: work/play, happy/sad, etc. There are many lessons that we want … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Memorial Weekend for Kids

Kindergarten Readiness – Memorial Day

Making Memorial Day meaningful for kids can be challenging. Especially for little children. They are too young to understand the concepts of military service and sacrifice. They can and will remember though what we, the adults, do to observe this day. It’s possible to create your own commemoration that is meaningful for your family and can be woven into … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Memorial Day