Our kids have far less personal connection to the concept of war than our grandparents did. That is a blessing.
But with Remembrance Day this month, we have the opportunity to help our little ones begin to understand the concepts of sacrifice and gratitude for our military’s service.
In Canada, the federal Department of Veterans’ Affairs celebrates “Veterans’ Week” from November 5-11. This week, which culminates in Remembrance Day, puts the focus on individual members of our military and the many ways their service helps preserve and protect Canadians’ enviable way of life. The Veterans’ Week website provides a range of age-appropriate activities for kids ages five and up.
For small children, focusing on veterans can help us talk about service without having to broach the complicated topic of war. (If you have an older child with whom you’d like to be able to talk about it, Common Sense Media has a helpful age-specific guide.) We can talk about the many ways members of our military serve Canadians: by helping protect our borders and other countries that need our help overseas, and by stepping in to help when communities need them right here in Canada. For an example close to home, you can talk about the tremendous help Canadian soldiers gave us in Manitoba during the Flood of 1997.
However you choose to approach it with your little ones, Remembrance Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on our tremendous privilege to live in Canada, and to help our children understand and acknowledge how our military have helped give us the freedoms we enjoy every day.
You can help your children express their gratitude to our military members and veterans by downloading this letter-sized poster: invite them to colour it, and then write in the box the freedoms they are thankful to enjoy in Canada (or have you transcribe for them). Then, you can either send it to a veteran or military member in your family/friends/neighbours circle, or drop it off at our Centre at 1461 Chevrier. We’ll deliver them to our local Legion on November 10.
If your kids aren’t the “colouring” types, you can also help them send an e-message to our troops currently serving overseas.