Redefining “Patriotism” through a different lens!

While “Patriotism” hullabaloo is all over the place, especially during the nation’s Independence and Republic Days, it’s sorry to state that the rest of the days, the term just lays flat with events and crimes that puts even humanity to shame (forget about patriotism)!

We are literally living in a time, when our religion, “humanity”, is on the verge of extinction. In this time of humanitarian crisis, maybe we can re-define the term “Patriotism” by teaching our tiny tots just a few basics of civility or rather humanity, to start with the much hyped “Patriotism” chapter. This will be much better and meaningful than singing patriotic songs or swaying the national flag.

I mean unless you feel the sense of being responsible towards yourself, towards your family, towards the people around you in your community, patriotism or love towards the nation will not erupt! It’s like awakening your sixth sense, without making your other five senses functional.

Patriotism is just like spirituality of sorts, where one needs a heightened sense of awakening, by first putting all the basics in sync. It means showing love, respect and loyalty towards our immediate people, surroundings and then, maybe one’s country. Patriotism or the very feeling of loving the country will not happen, unless one feels responsible as a citizen first.

To start with that, teaching basic civil sense or rather humanitarian approach towards life is all that can be a good starting point. I’m sure people will understand that we don’t need just one day or specific days to feel patriotic. It’s a riding feeling, 24*7, 365 days a year and that means, the process has to start like a routine habit.

So while we do our bit, it will be equally good if we can transform this thought process (bit by bit), by making it a habit for our young ones as well. After all, feeling responsible towards our community, towards the nation doesn’t happen in a day, for this you have to incorporate certain changes in your routine life and slowly practice it.

This Independence Day, ignoring the cliché of feeling patriotic, why not try putting a few basic pointers to use and see how kids resonate with the idea. It’s easy, simple, yet will teach the kids of what all goes into the definition of “being responsible citizen” or being “patriotic”.

  • Be the role model:-To start with, be a good citizen yourself and reflect the image of a responsible human being. Being a good citizen is after all being “true to the nation”, that is what is being patriotic! Reflect the pros and cons of a nation, just like other nations to your children, rather than talking only ill. 
  • Tell those stories: – Certain national holidays like Independence Day, Republic Day and other national holidays are a good platform to tell stories about the history and events surrounding the days. Talk about the milestone events and national leaders who brought about a difference in making our nation what it is today. Teaching them to honor and respect about national symbols and national anthem can also come through innovative storytelling.
  • Talking and appreciating the Defense Forces:-While talking and telling stories about the pre-historic heroes is good, but getting a sense of reality by talking about the current battles, fought through the actions and activities of Defense personnel will always be a good reality check for kids. Let a real life war hero or Defense personnel, talk to the kids about their world. Nothing better than seeing the meaning of patriotism through a different lens.
  • Take them to heritage sites: Only talk, without a concrete structure is futile. Ensure your stories involve the important places of sightseeing or heritage sites so that they can do their own 2+2 to get the picture correct! Plus your stories will get a more real flavor with such places of visit.
  • Start with your family and community:-Plan events, which help improve the quality of life as a family or as a community. Pledging a “cleanliness drive” or a more “green environment” or saying “no to litter and plastic” are just a few examples to ensure a better surrounding, a  healthy family and society!
  • Making use of Media: – showing particular programs and movies, showcasing love, respect and loyalty towards our nation is also helpful, along with stories. The kids tend to enjoy a visual treat with movies and sometimes, the essence of love towards the nation, is strengthened even more. Also watching special programs on Independence and Republic Days’ or watching parades and appreciating the diversity of Indian cultural heritage also talks about our country’s cultural diaspora.
  • Follow the rules:-To be loyal towards the nation starts with being a responsible citizen. For this, teach your kids to follow the rules, wherever necessary. Right from following road rules, to taking turns in a que, helping people around (including neighbors), distributing food or other necessary items to the underprivileged, greeting people across all ages and stages (from all walks of life) etc. are just a few ways to start at the grass root level. You can create your own to-do list to make the difference!
  • Raise your voice/ stay involved:-As a citizen, you have to set the right example to your child. Make sure you raise your voice or stay involved with every other activity or event that is a part of your society or community. Community or society are a part of you and their well being matters so staying involved helps a child to understand that he counts. After all, he has the added responsibility towards his immediate surrounding (be it school or society) by making himself heard. Encourage him to participate in matters of school, just like the way you do with your society and office! A crucial lifetime is spent in school, so this “home-away from-home” issues need his attention as well.

Teaching kids about loving and respecting people is the first step towards loving the nation and these activities will surely bring about love and appreciation of the same. A country, which is religiously and culturally so diverse, demands more and more people, who can appreciate the same.

Teaching kids to respect people, will gradually set a basic platform, for respecting all religions. Children, in this time of religious intolerance, need to love and respect people sans religion and not merely religion sans humanity. By empowering our kids to love and respect different people and by teaching them to be responsible towards them, will hopefully create a better nation, with more responsible and perhaps, someday some truly patriotic citizens!

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