One of the many benefits we grandparents bring to our grandkids’ lives is a sense of heritage. That applies to our families when we talk about our ancestors, what it was like growing up, and the values and principles that have shaped our lives.

And this weekend especially, let’s not forget that there’s also a national heritage we can share.

Do you think the next generations need to appreciate the privilege they have of living in a free country? I certainly do, and I admire how intentional my friend Ron is about this. Even before he became a grandparent, he involved his entire family in fundraisers for hospitalized Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

He would take his children to spend time with veterans. In addition to appreciating those men and women, Ron wanted his children to hear their stories, ask them questions, and get their perspective on the true value of freedom that Americans enjoy, and why sometimes it’s necessary to put yourself in harm’s way for a cause bigger than yourself.

So, with Independence Day this week, I wonder what grandparents are doing to teach our grandkids the significance of freedom and why we shouldn’t take it for granted.  

Maybe you or someone close to you served in the military, or maybe you know someone who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. Even if none of that is true for you, I believe the older generation has a perspective on patriotism, freedom, self-sacrifice and heroism that the younger generations need to hear. 

So find a time this week to play your role as a teacher for your grandkids. You don’t need to go into a long lecture; just take a few moments to share a story or memory that you associate with Independence Day and what it means to you. Maybe, like Ron, you have friends who served our country and who could talk with your grandkids about their experiences. (Maybe invite them to share a meal with your extended family.) Or maybe you could simply take your grandkids with you to a local event that celebrates those values. 

You get the idea. Enjoy the fireworks and food and all the festivities, but find an opportunity to take it a step further. 

Do you have meaningful July 4th routines and traditions with your grandkids? What tips can you share? Compare notes with other grandparents on our Facebook page.