Independence Day

Updated on July 05, 2011
G.H. asks from Chicago, IL
17 answers

Happy American Independence Day. I asked my 12 yr old niece what Independence Day meant & she had no idea besides 'independence' & get togethers & fireworks at night. Do you talk to your kids about what this day represents? How about other Holidays like Memorial Day, Veterans Day etc.

As a kid I didn't care to know about any of these holidays but now as an adult I have an appreciation for all these holidays & what they represent. What do you think?

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answers from Norfolk on

I think she knew.
School's only been out about 2 weeks and she didn't want to stand and deliver a lesson when summer break is in full swing.
Adults tend to over analyze and jump on a soap box and kids just want to eat a hot dog and have fun.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Providence on

My son is 7, and we definetly discuss the significance of those holidays. Having a great grandpa around still ( 90 years young) who is a Veteran makes it all the more important.

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answers from Pittsfield on

Here is an article you might be interested in-

10 Things You Might Not Know About America's Independence- there were several things that surprised me. I thought it was really interesting.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

We should always teach our kids what each holiday represents, it is really easy to just use it as a day off, but yep, we all should know why we have the day off :)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

I'm REALLY surprised that your 12 year old niece had no idea! My 7 year old, man, that seems like 50% of everything she learned this past school year (1st grade)... I feel like *I* learned things I didn't already know from helping her study!

We also just bought a new American flag (my communist squirrels ate my old one, LOL)... and there was this little pamphlet that came with it, all about American holidays and the history of the flag. I'm not big into history, but that little pamphlet was AWESOME! I read it out loud to the kids and kept raising my eyebrows and going 'huh!' because it was THAT interesting.

I do remember being that age and if I wasn't interested in a subject, the information would go in one ear and out the other... maybe MAKE it interesting for her! It wasn't until 9/11 when I really opened my eyes and ears to the importance of national holidays (I was in high school)... now, I'm hoping to pass on my enthusiasm for my country to my kids, the enthusiasm I didn't have myself as a child.

HAPPY 4TH!! :)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

Our kids know what July 4th represents. They know about our country so thats good. But in our family we celebrate because this is the date my husband and I met. Way back in 1972. July 4th, we met and the rest is history,,lol..
and yes there were fire works that night!
I had a box of sparklers with me. We lit a few, and I still have the rest in the box in a drawer.

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answers from Appleton on

Definately!!!! Everyone should know what each holiday is for and why we celebrate them.
Personally I am very UNHAPPY that many of our holidays have come to mean big sales at the mall. Stores should be closed on holidays, including black Friday. With so many two career families kids don't get spend enough time with their parents and have real family time. So let's just go shopping!!!!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

We do what we can to teach our kids about any and all holidays, religious, patriotic,"fun ones" (Groundhogs Day LOL) We talk about why it came to be, what the mythos is behind it if any.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I talked to my 2 year old daughter about the flags on the cars today at walmart and told her that we have lots of fun stuff and parades and fireworks because military had to defend our freedom and sign an important paper to start our country (the people who left Britain to come here and the colonists who signed the declaration of independence but that's too advanced for a 2 1/2 yr old). I told her what freedom means (in simple toddler term) like her being able to have a sandwich or apples. She knows what military means only b/c she has seen mommy as a former Marine in her camis.

I'm sure not all kids care, I didn't particularly care until I was in high school and went to museums and stuff, but I still try.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Ocala on

I think that it is a good time for you to teach her all about the 4th of July.

Have a great 4th of July

= )

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answers from Pittsburgh on

The American flag does not fly because the wind moves past it. The American flag flies from the last breath of each military member who has died protecting it. American soldiers don't fight because they hate what's in front of them...they fight because they love what's behind them. Something to think about while you're celebrating this Independence Day.

I am really surprised that your 12 yo niece has learned NOTHING about this in school, at the very least? My son is going into 3rd grade and he knows SO much about American History, it's scary!

I also have veterans in my family (including my husband) so maybe he's more "interested"? Idk.

Anyway to me, it means being able to live FREE and having choices. And appreciating that.

Oh--and this quote from JFK: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.”

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I am a high school Social Studies teacher, so I find it pretty shocking that she doesn't know what it is all about. I started teaching my 4 yr old about it this weekend, although I admit it was pretty difficult for me to dumb it down enough for a 4 yr old's level.

What I told him is that a long time ago our country was ruled by a king who was not very nice to us. He had a lot of rules that were unfair and made the people very unhappy. One day a group of brave people got together and wrote a letter to the king and told him that because he did not treat them fairly they did not want him to be their king anymore. That letter was called "The Declaration of Independence" because they were telling him, we want to be free. The day that they wrote the letter is the birthday of the United States, so every year we come together to celebrate the country's birthday.

Yep, pretty dumbed down, but a starting point that can be adjusted according to the kids' age level.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I'm a little shocked by your neice, but honestly, it sounds like she just hasn't bothered to retain any of the information her parents or teachers taught her! I think it's fairly typical for her age, but I do agree with you that we should continue to inform and educate our children about these things, especially in those wily teenage years (or pre-teen in your case) when it's no longer "cool" to be smart! :)

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answers from Washington DC on

Momof4! You can guess already if you've read any of my posts - my kids know what Independence Day means - just as they do Memorial Day and Veterans Day...

I think it's sad that our society SEEMS to only see these days as a day off work and day to drink beer and BBQ....many forget that their freedom isn't free...

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answers from Chicago on

About 10 years ago I remember asking my then 13 year old nephew similar questions when we took him to visit Lincoln's home in Springfield. I was shocked at how clueless he was about any kind of American history. And what's more, he didn't care to hear about it either. I now have a 13 year old daughter and we have talked about American holidays and the history behind them since she was very small. Recently I saw a poll that had been taken with high school students who were asked what the definition of the term "melting pot" was. It was something like only 10% that could give an accurate definition. It's scary. Fortunately, my daughter was able to accurately define it. My family came to this country in 1700 - I have had family members participate - and some give their life - in every war we have been a part of since then. It is so important to teach our children why we have freedom - and that people have given up their lives - and still giving up their lives - so that we can enjoy those freedoms. I want my daughter to pass that along to her children but if we don't teach our kids - or make it important to them - it will be forgotten. And when that happens we won't be the same country.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My son just turned 4, so quite a few of the ideas behind such holidays are a bit beyond his comprehension. He understands family gatherings and flags. I try to keep my explanations simple and to the point without getting into lesson mode. I tell him that our patriotic holidays are to celebrate the United States and the people who have worked very hard to make this country safe. I feel that fuller explanations, including those about battles and war, can wait until he is a bit older.

As for your niece, while perhaps disappointing that she was unaware of the meaning of Independence Day, do not be too worried. It could be that she has just not been introduced to the subject and ideas in ways that were meaningful to her. If it is something that interests her parents and you, maybe some interactive history lessons will be helpful. As you are doing such fun activities, throw in some of the history. In the end, Independence Day may not be her favorite holiday, but it may at least have some significance.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I actually asked my kids this question the other day after I heard one of those sound-bite "news" reports that a recent poll indicates only 4 in 10 Americans knows the significance of July 4.
My daughters (15 and 12) both said something along the lines of "celebrating America" and "America's birthday" and my son (18) kind of guessed the correct answer, "uh, wasn't it the day the declaration of independence took effect?"
I was pretty disappointed but not surprised. These kids are dealing with a lot more information than we did at their age, and while they may be able to memorize their US History facts for a quiz the information sure doesn't stick unless we parents talk about it and remind them every year.
The one US holiday I have always talked to them about is Memorial Day, and when we went to DC a few years ago my husband and I made a HUGE deal out of Arlington Cemetery. I'm pretty sure my kids "got it" then, standing among all those markers and monuments :(

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