I Added Two Patriotic Holidays to Our Celebrations So My Kids Value Freedom & Equality
As a little girl, I never gave much thought to national holidays. Except for the big ones that involved feasts and fun and festivities, they were little more than pupil free days... Just another day off from school.
I started to notice them a bit more when our school’s holiday calendar began to change. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln’s Days were consolidated into President’s Day. MLK Day made its appearance in my tweens. And of course, there are the more recent and ongoing controversies over Columbus Day. It became clearer to me, how what we celebrate reflects who we are as a people and what we value as a nation.
Now, as a mother, I see national holidays as an opportunity to instill our values in our kids. I want my kids to grow up proud of their country and of our collective achievements. I want my children to value life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And that’s why I’ve added two very important ‘National Holidays’ to our own family’s calendar.
Two Patriotic Holidays Totally Overlooked
Every year, we celebrate Juneteenth (June 19th) to commemorate the end of slavery and Women’s Suffrage (August 18th) to celebrate women’s right to vote.
Before you start jumping to any conclusions, let me explain. For us, these two events are CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION. They are collective human achievements – our success as a nation. They’re stories of righting terrible wrongs. And we should all be proud.
Does that mean there hasn't been any injustice, before and after? Should we rest on our laurels, pat ourselves on our backs, and call it a day? Absolutely not. But in our family, we have to recognize and commemorate achievements as significant as these. We want our children to grow up knowing that they are indeed causes for celebration – that freedom and equality are things to praise, not to take for granted – so that they, their friends, and their entire generation will continue to make great strides.
We don’t see these holidays as tied to race or gender. We see them for what they are: Opportunities to celebrate the core ideology of our great nation – freedom. It’s sending the message that yes, as a family, we celebrate freedom. Yes, we believe in equality. Yes, we want to commemorate, observe, and mark our nation’s most beautiful achievements.
It’s a chance to let our kids know what truly matters: freedom, equality, and justice. So that they carry it into their hearts and stand up for those ideals.
Holidays to Celebrate, Not Educate
Yes, I know it sounds crazy that after all I’ve just explained, I’m actually prioritizing celebration over education. Don’t get me wrong. We spend a lot of time all throughout the year learning about the history of our nation. We learn about the dark times, the movements, the wars, notable figures, amendments, inventions – the good and the bad so to speak. But we don’t make these two holidays themselves about learning. Instead, we see them as what holidays should be: celebrations.
So you better believe we bust out the feasts and fun and festivities. We want these holidays to matter. We want our kids to look forward to them. We want our children to feel lucky to count them as a part of our family’s traditions. We want friends and family, gratitude and respect, and remembrance to be a part of it all.
Stop by our place on June 19th and you can expect red hot links, cool watermelon drinks, strawberry pie, and baked beans... Red is the color of remembrance after all and very much a part of Juneteenth.
Visit us for our suffragist celebrations and there will be plenty of voting. Every voice is tallied to decide what we eat, the games we play, the tunes that set the beat for our dance party.
There will be flag waving, smiles all around, and a whole lot of pride in our country. We know it’s not perfect. We know there is more to do. But in that moment, we will celebrate. Because there is cause for celebration.
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