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Being good citizens. Ms. Tinlin recommends helping children get involved in groups that teach them the habits of good citizenship. “Besides getting involved, show your kids good citizenship by flying the flag and attending Veterans Day ceremonies and Independence Day parades. And always thank a veteran when you see one; that makes an impression on your children,” she says.

Doing your duty. “Vote. By showing your children that you care enough to vote for our leaders, it conveys to them that they have a voice too. Take them to the state capital or Capitol Hill. Write or call your congressmen or senators when you disagree with what they are doing. By showing your children you hold these people accountable, it will encourage them to do the same.”

Passing it on. “One of the most important things we can encourage our children to do is to spread the idea of patriotism to their friends. It’s not just parents telling them what to think; it’s them thinking for themselves why they love this country and then telling their friends why they should join in this love.”

Let’s all make our celebrations of Independence Day a reflection of the gratitude we feel to be citizens of the United States. Let’s not just enjoy the day with family and friends, but spend at least part of it remembering the sacrifices of those who secured our freedom in 1776 and those whose courage has protected it ever since.

Happy Fourth of July — enjoy another day of American independence.

Have a question about parenting in today’s culture? Email marybeth@marybethhicks.com.