American Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, is celebrated on July 4th each year. The day when it falls in 2023 is Tuesday.
What Does It Mean to be American?
Being American encompasses a variety of meanings, as it is a complex and diverse identity that encompasses people from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. Beem explains some critical aspects of Americans:
- Being American often refers to being a citizen of the United States and having the legal rights and responsibilities that come with citizenship. Living in a democratic society sets the stage for self-governance. People have the right to participate in the political process through voting, engaging in civic activities, and having a voice in shaping the nation’s future.
- The ideals of equality and equal opportunity are often associated with being American. It means having the freedom to pursue one’s dreams, regardless of background, and believing everyone should have a fair chance to succeed.
- Celebrating the American nation’s diverse cultures, ethnicities, religions, and perspectives. It recognizes the importance of inclusivity, respecting and valuing different backgrounds and viewpoints. The sense of individualism, independence, and self-reliance reflects the belief in personal freedoms and the ability to make choices that shapes American life.
- Being American implies a commitment to specific values such as freedom of speech and religion; respect for the rule of law; tolerance; and the pursuit of justice and equality.
- National identity and pride, often expressed through symbols such as the flag, the national anthem, and historical events like Independence Day, are crucial for everyone who identifies as an American. It involves feeling connected to the country and its history and a responsibility to contribute to its well-being.
Lastly, being American is associated with the concept of the American Dream, the idea that with hard work, determination, and opportunity, individuals can achieve success, prosperity, and a better life for themselves and their families.
How to Teach Kids About the Fourth of July?
Teaching kids about the Fourth of July is a beautiful way to introduce them to American history, patriotism, and the significance of Independence Day. Here are some ideas to help you teach kids about the Fourth of July and culture them to be responsible citizens of the nation:
Explain the Historical Importance
Start by explaining the historical context of Independence Day. Talk about the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, and why the colonists sought independence from Britain. Use age-appropriate language and storytelling techniques to engage their interest.
Read to Your Children
Choose children’s books or stories that explain the Fourth of July and its significance. Look for books depicting the events leading to independence or featuring American freedom symbols. Some popular titles include “The Story of America’s Birthday” by Patricia A. Pingry, “The Fourth of July Story” by Alice Dalgliesh, and “Apple Pie Fourth of July” by Janet S. Wong.
Use Visual Resources
Use age-appropriate videos or animated content that explains the history and importance of the Fourth of July. Numerous educational videos online simplify historical events and make learning engaging for kids. Platforms like YouTube often have resources specifically designed for children.
Impart Learning About the American Flag
Teach kids about the American flag and flag etiquette. Explain the significance of the stars, stripes, and colors. Show them how to properly fold the flag and explain the rules for displaying and respecting it. You can also engage them in crafts, such as creating flags or coloring flag-themed pages.
Plan Arts and Crafts Activities
Plan hands-on activities and crafts related to the Fourth of July. Kids can create patriotic-themed artwork, make paper lanterns, design fireworks, or craft red, white, and blue jewelry. Engaging in creative activities helps reinforce the concepts and symbols associated with the holiday.
Sing Patriotic Songs
Teach kids patriotic songs and sing them together. Popular songs include “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful,” and “Yankee Doodle.” Explain the meaning behind the lyrics and encourage them to sing along.
Plan Mock Independence Day
Organize a mock Independence Day celebration at home or with a group of children. Have them dress up in red, white, and blue and engage in activities like a mini parade, making flag-themed crafts, singing patriotic songs, and playing games like “Pin the Hat on Uncle Sam.” This interactive approach helps them experience the spirit of the Fourth of July firsthand.
Enjoy Local Fireworks Display
Take kids to a local fireworks display or watch televised fireworks show together. Explain the tradition of fireworks on the Fourth of July and talk about how they represented the celebrations when independence was declared.
Visit Historical Sites
If you have the opportunity, visit historical sites related to the American Revolution or the Founding Fathers. Places like Independence Hall in Philadelphia or the Freedom Trail in Boston can provide a firsthand experience of the history behind the Fourth of July.
Teach Values Of America
Discuss the values and principles the United States was built upon, such as freedom, equality, and democracy. Help kids understand the importance of these values and how they contribute to the American identity.
also know about: 10 Ways To Mentor Kids About Money
Money Lessons from the Fourth of July
While Independence Day, or July 4th, is primarily a holiday focused on celebrating American history and freedom, it can also offer valuable money lessons. Here are a few lessons you can take away from July 4th:
Budgeting for Celebrations
Planning and budgeting for July 4th celebrations can teach you the value of setting a budget for special occasions. Apply this lesson to other areas of your life by creating and sticking to a budget for everyday expenses, savings goals, and other events throughout the year.
Use July 4th as a reminder to appreciate your financial freedom and opportunities. Take time to reflect on the importance of economic freedom and make choices that align with your long-term financial goals.
Saving on Celebratory Expenses
Celebrating Independence Day doesn’t have to break the bank. Use this holiday as an opportunity to practice frugality and find ways to save money while still enjoying the festivities. Look for deals on food, drinks, and decorations, and consider hosting a potluck-style gathering to share the costs with friends and family.
Avoiding Impulse Spending
The holiday season, including July 4th, often comes with sales and promotions. Use this time to practice self-control and avoid unnecessary impulse spending. Before making a purchase, consider if it aligns with your financial goals and if it’s something you genuinely need or value.
Investing in Experiences
Instead of focusing solely on material possessions, embrace investing in experiences. Use July 4th to spend quality time with loved ones, create lasting memories, and prioritize experiences over material things.
Gratitude for Financial Security
Take a moment on Independence Day to express gratitude for your financial security. Recognize the efforts you’ve made to achieve stability and work towards developing a financially secure future. This gratitude can motivate you to continue making intelligent financial decisions.
Independence Day reminds us of the importance of independence from monarchs, especially financial freedom. Take this opportunity to evaluate your financial situation and strive for greater autonomy by managing your finances responsibly, reducing debt, and building an emergency fund for your family and kids. Kids only learn what they see, and home is their first school. So, teach them well and be the model they deserve to look up to and emulate to become.