As parents, we teach our children to be critical thinkers. That said, we generally begin at a common starting point. We infuse our children with our morals, values, beliefs, spiritual practices, political leanings, etc. with the understanding that they will use these things as a framework for making their own choices regarding these areas in their lives.
Instilling a love of country begins with modeling a love of country. Even in times of intense political debate, such as we have now, we are all committed to making our country better, though we may disagree about what that entails, or how to accomplish it. Though we may or may not agree with our President, we respect the office he holds, and recognize the challenges associated with it.
As a homeschooling family, we study the geography of our country. We study the history of our country, and its foundation. We learn about our presidents, and Founding Fathers. We study relevant historical documents, like the Constitution. We hold mock elections, so the children understand the fundamentals of democracy. We also tune into election results, as well as presidential inaugurations, whether the candidate we supported won or not. We talk about holidays that relate to our country’s history: Independence Day, Juneteenth, birthdays of our presidents, and other special days. Most importantly, we pray for our President and elected officials daily.
To instill a healthy love of country, it’s not enough to talk about the things we like or don’t like. Our children need to see us involved in the things we are passionate about: saving a local park, de-littering a beloved beachfront, raising funds for a pet cause, petitioning for longer hours for a club or program, or any number of ways to become involved citizens. You can campaign for a candidate, put signs up on your lawn, go to a city council meeting. In my case, I co-founded African-American Conservatives. My children see me interviewing political candidates for our radio show. They see I am not content with just talking about issues I believe in, but I’m actively seeking to improve the things I like, and changing the things I don’t.
Given that our children will be paying off debts incurred by our generation, and that everyone should become concerned citizens and informed consumers, it is never too early to begin instilling these political values.