Teaching Respect for the Flag

While visiting my 88 year-young father, one of my grandchildren reached to grab a small American flag that was displayed in a container.  I saw my daughter wisely dissuade him from picking it up.  She knew that he was too young to understand all of the “dos and don’ts” that come with a flag so she just said, “No!”  I was very proud of her.  She knew how important the flag was to her grandfather, who had served at the end of WWII and in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Teaching children to respect the American flag is a parent’s responsibility.  While grandparents, schools, and churches can aid in the instruction, parents still remain accountable.  Recently, during the Winter Olympics, millions of Americans cringed as a gold-medal winner accidentally dragged the American flag and stepped on it.  Once he realized his mistake, he profusely apologized and was promptly forgiven.

The flag is a national symbol that represents the devotion, love, support, and defense of a country.  For many Americans, it stands for generations of military and law enforcement family members and friends who gave their lives while protecting people in this nation.  Therefore, disrespecting the flag is offensive to the memories and the sacrifices that others have made.  It should not be used as clothing, bedding, or curtains.  The flag should never be allowed to touch the ground or be stepped on.  It should be displayed properly, according to the United States Flag Code.  There are many online tools available to teach children flag etiquette.  But if you are in the Saint James area, I encourage you to stop by the St. James Flag Pole Company and speak with the owners, Jimmy and Rosie Brown.  Bring your children and let them pick out their first flag!  Use it to inspire respect and patriotism, lessons that will last them a lifetime.

Vicki and her husband Terry are the parents of eight children and were named Colorado Parents of the Year and Family of the Year, 2001.  Vicki is the author of two books, many articles, former talk show host, and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs.  To get your parenting questions answered, write to Vicki at vicki@k-weekly.com.

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