Wednesday, May 23, 2012

honoring soldiers with my preschooler

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a few streets down from ours is a street that has been honorarily named after a local soldier that was killed by an IED in Afghanistan.  the Sgt's family lives on the street and keeps a cross and a flag at the bottom of the street sign.  every time we drive past it, i think of this young man...someone's son...who gave his life so my son could live safely.

last month, i was doing some spring cleaning of the garage and came across some plastic flower crosses that we've had forever.  i shared with Bear what i thought we could do with them and he liked the idea. 

the next time we ran an errand, we stopped at the Sgt's street.  Bear helped me to stick the cross in the ground.  he also picked a dandelion for the soldier {see pic above}. 

there are things what we can randomly do with our children to help them develop their patriotism and a reverence for those who fight daily for our country.  we needn't wait until Memorial Day to honor those who've fallen in battle.  explanations don't have to be graphic or too in-depth.  since Bear's dad is military, we've explained to him that there are very brave soldiers in our country and in other countries that keep us safe.

because we live in a military community, it's common for us to run into active duty and veterans.  if they happen to be wearing a veteran's hat or something else to identify them as a vet, we point the person out to Bear.  usually on his own, he goes and says, "thank you for being a soldier." his little voice saying this never fails to bring tears to my eyes.  most of the ones he's thanked have reacted with surprise that quickly changes to a grateful, warm smile.  

i want to help my son learn ways to reach out to others in appreciation, compassion, and in reflection of God's love.  this is just another lesson on that journey.  sometimes, it doesn't take much to touch the heart of another. and i can only hope, that the Sgt's mother passes our cross on her way to work, the grocery store, wherever.  i hope that she sees it and realizes that someone else remembers the incredible gift her son gave our country.

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