As parents, we all try to teach our children important life lessons. Parents are their children’s first teachers. Many of the lessons parents teach to young children are about how to treat others and how to get along with others.
A great place to show your child how those lessons are put into action is our nation’s capital, Washington, DC. Located only a few hours from Lynchburg, it’s close enough for a weekend trip. Cooler temperatures make it a great destination for families this fall.
Washington DC is America’s city, a city we all claim as our own. In the city, memorials and monuments have been built in honor of many of America’s greatest leaders, the forefathers of our country.
As you arrive at the first memorial, pick up brochures, one for you and one for each child. Ask your child what he knows about the person. Share what you know and then read the brochure together to learn more facts about the person and the memorial. Parks Service employees are on site and can answer any additional questions.
Many of the monuments and memorials contain famous speeches or quotes that share the person’s character, beliefs, or mission.
These words are messages spoken to future generations. Use these words to teach your child how each leader lived his or her beliefs. Here are some ideas for teachable moments from America’s forefathers.
“Our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all ment are created equal.”
Abraham Lincoln led our country out of the darkest period of our nation, when brother fought against brother during the Civil War. He reunited our country and ordered slaves freed.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
“I hate war.”
Franklin Delano Roosevelt lived a life of courage and persistence, both in his public life and his private life. Stricken with polio at age 39, Roosevelt endured and refused to be mastered by this disease. He led our nation through very difficult times including the Great Depression and World War II.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
“I was a drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness.”
Martin Luther King was a great leader during the Civil Rights Movement. He put his beliefs in the causes of equal rights and justice for all people above everything else in his life. He was criticized, threatened, and even jailed for those beliefs, yet he never waivered. King was assassinated by someone who disagreed with equality for all races. Even in death, King’s message of peace and justice lives on.
As you teach your children about our forefathers, you will learn more about the people who helped to make our country great too.
Special thanks are extended to two wonderful young ladies who found and returned the camera containing the photographs in this article and many others. Thank you Erika Dawson and Davida Parson. You reflect the values upon which this great country was founded.