You can sing the National Anthem as you stand by the American flag on your front porch.
You can take your son to the neighborhood’s Fourth of July bicycle parade, counting the American flags along the way and singing, “My Country Tis of Thee” and “God Bless America.”
You can make the most patriotic dessert you can think of (using this recipe).
But when you’re shucking corn together that afternoon and you say to your 6-year-old, “Do you know why we celebrate the Fourth of July?” his answer might still surprise you.
“To get ready for St. Patrick’s Day?”
Hmm. Well…not exactly. But how would he know that wearing red, white, and blue, eating hamburgers, and watching fireworks could have anything to do with celebrating our independence?
You might remind him gently that you’ve talked about how special the United States of America is, how we have so much freedom as Americans—we can vote for our leaders, we can go to church and pray. You might even start singing “No More Kings” from Schoolhouse Rock before you decide you’re getting way too complicated for a 6-year-old.
This little boy loves his country. He puts his hand over his heart as he says the pledge of allegiance. He salutes the American flag. He loves the military, and he’s proud to be an American. He just doesn’t happen to know why we celebrate Independence Day. And he has corn to shuck.
Besides, when you stop to think, you realize he’s probably right. It’s never too early to start getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day.