Family Celebrations for the 4th of July

Soon, all across America, parents will have the opportunity to share their family traditions for the Fourth of July to their kids.
What traditions will you pass along to your kids?

~Riding decorated bikes in the neighborhood parade, with playing cards clothespined to your spokes, so your bike clacks along?

~Fourth of July picnics, Aunt Betty’s cherry pie, and the fire fighters coming to spray everyone with cool water on a hot day?

~Downtown parades, with military troops marching in full uniform, marching bands, and fireworks to end the day?

~Sitting in the park on a blanket, with the full symphony playing the 1812 Overture, and fireworks accompanying the music?

~Sitting along the lake, with boats offering firework displays to the Oh’s and Ahh’s of the crowd?

There are so many options, all of them soon to become memories for your kids. These traditions define who we are as a country, and who we are as a family. One of my family traditions was a challenge given to each of us by my dad, on a daily basis.

“What did you do today, for the good of the country?” he would ask.

My dad was a lawyer, and believed and practiced pro bono law as often as he could. He believed it was a privilege to help others, when you could, as often as you could. He believed that every citizen, no matter how young, had an obligation to give back instead of just take from others. He believed that if you saw a need, then just fill it, without being asked and without expecting a reward. The pride of helping others was payment enough.

“What did you do today, for the good of the country?” he would ask. He would ask this question at dinner, pretty much every day, and he was expecting a real answer. So if I hadn’t saved the world by 5:00, I knew to get busy helping a little old lady across the street, because my dad would be asking the questions at the dinner table. No one ate anything until we had gone around the table, telling what we had done for the good of the country that day. We learned early on that the country needed you, every day.

It was a tradition I passed along to my own kids, helping them to celebrate their personal freedom to help others, and experience the gratitude of helping others, just because they could.

As the nightly news shows us all too often, freedom is not free! It must be earned and passed along, and never taken for granted. Helping kids use their power to change the world is a great tradition to share.

Happy Fourth of July from our family to yours!