Teaching Our Kids What It Means to be Patriotic

Grungy Betsy Ross Flag With Thirteen Stars and StripesAs we get ready to celebrate the 4th of July–Our Independence Day–symbols of our freedom are everywhere! Red, white and blue decorate our homes, as we proudly show off pride in being American.

What does patriotism mean to you? Words and phrases come to my mind when I think about patriotism. Love of country. Loyalty to the United States of America. Pride and honor. Service. Freedom and liberty. Sacrifice. Integrity and courage. Honor.

Praying for Our Leaders

Is being patriotic Biblical? The Bible tells us In Romans 13 that, “All authority comes from God”, and in Romans 13:2, “Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God”.

Paul, even living in the time of Nero– a horrific leader of the Roman Empire, who was famous for persecuting Christians– taught that we must live by the laws of the land but PRAY FOR OUR LEADERS.

1 Timothy 2:1-2I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people– for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

The challenge to us as parents and patriots is that even if we disagree with the people who have been elected to run our country or the direction in which our country is headed, it is still very important to show our children the importance of loving America by praying for those who are in authority and who make the laws by which we are governed. Biblically, that is what we are to do.

Citizens of Heaven

Another important lesson to teach our children is that Christianity and patriotism are not synonymous terms. Feeling a strong sense of patriotism can sometimes look and feel like a religion, in and of itself. While we love our country, and have pride to be American; while we stand firm and uphold all that she stands for, 1 Peter 2:11 reminds us that we are actually “aliens and strangers” in a very unholy and ungodly world. We are indeed, FIRST, citizens of Heaven, not of this world! While pledging our allegiance to the Flag and to the United States of America, we must also teach our children that no unqualified allegiance and no loyalty is as important to that of our allegiance and loyalty to God, who is sovereign over all creation.

Is there a middle ground? Can I be patriotic and still question civil authority? I believe the answer is a definite yes! An important element to remember, and then to teach by example, is that when we do disagree with those who are in authority, we never use slanderous, hateful language. That type of behavior is un-Christian, even if we do so with the thought of being patriotic. Instead we show patriotism and love for our nation by praying for our leaders; for their wisdom, integrity, and their personal salvation through Jesus.

Praying for our leaders frees up our hearts to express our gratitude to God for the opportunity to live in the best country in the world! Thanking Him for the freedoms we enjoy and fight to preserve. Praying for the Holy Spirit to bring revival in the USA, so that once again, we are living in a truer alignment with His Word.

God bless America. Happy birthday USA!

Lisa Strnad is a weekly contributing writer/blogger to What’s in the Bible? and Jelly Telly. She has been a homeschooling mom of two, who works independently in Christian media in the areas of writing, promotions and marketing. She lives with her husband and children in Nashville,TN. Follow her personal blog posts on Talking Like A Girl.

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7 comments
Lisa Strnad
Lisa Strnad

In all fairness, I and the "Lisa" who is the author of this article are one and the same... :)

Hugh Boorman
Hugh Boorman

I think what makes me uncomfortable is that patriotism so often gets linked with fighting. Both you and Lisa write about fighting for freedom. Jesus' homeland was under an oppressive foreign regime throughout his ministry and the people were expecting the Messiah to bring them freedom from the Romans but he never talked about fighting to give them freedom. Even in his dealings with the Centurions there is no suggestion that they should leave. If we are truly to be his disciples, shouldn't our attitude to warfare be the same as Jesus? And that doesn't mean that I am knocking soldiers. I am grateful to those who fought in wars like WW2 but feel sorry for our current soldiers. So many of them come back injured, mentally scarred or dead and I wonder what is being achieved. The world feels in a less safe place and centuries of history teach us that Afghanistan is not going to be solved through warfare.

Lisa Strnad
Lisa Strnad

As an American mom, and wide of a patriot who served his country--laying his life on the line, my view point might be different than a Canadian, or Australian, or an Englishman. I would hope that the freedoms your own countrymen fought to protect and ensure would make you feel you live in the best country! I don't see that as arrogance at all. Not even false pride. Rather I view my opinion as just that, my opinion. I love the USA. I'm proud to live here, and as a Christian citizen of the USA, it is my personal duty to cover my leaders in prayer. July 4th is our birthday. Our Independence Day. I know "we're all" pretty, but tomorrow she's the one we celebrate.

Jacqui Kelly
Jacqui Kelly

I think the article is not a bad one, but I do disagree with teaching the kids that "America is the best country in the world". If that is what is taught, no wonder the rest of the world see them as arrogant. I am Australian and love my country but wouldn't call it the best in the world. Each country is unique and wonderful in different ways. I have nothing against USA... In fact I have visited 9 times and loved every trip. I think patriotism is fine and good, but not to the extent that it becomes ignorant arrogant-ism to the good in the rest of the world. Or even an awareness of the rest of the world.

Hugh Boorman
Hugh Boorman

I'm not sure everyone does, Jeffrey. I will watch the national football or rugby team but I not sure that that could be defined as pride. I found it interesting that Canadians recently took over Trafalgar Square in London to celebrate Canada Day. I don't think that we even do that on St George's Day and we certainly don't have it as a national holiday. I enjoy living in the UK but I would not claim that it is any better than any other. I am realistic about our nation. We have done some good stuff in our time but we have also done some terrible stuff. And while the world isn't our true home we will all be judged by what we have done here. Perhaps "God Bless America" wouldn't sound so bad if I heard the words "God Forgive America" in an equal amount.

Jeffrey Thiessen
Jeffrey Thiessen

I think everyone has a measure of pride in their own country, I do as a Canadian. I do not fault the writer of this article for saying that the United States is the best country in the world. That is her point of view and is completely valid. Personally I think Canada is the best country in the world, but that's beside the point. This article was not all "USA is #1" and I thought it had a healthy measure of national pride tempered with the reality that, as Christians, this world is not our home.

Hugh Boorman
Hugh Boorman

As a non-American I would certainly teach about patriotism very differently. To "express our gratitude to God for the opportunity to live in the best country in the world" sounds rather arrogant. There are many people, including myself, who would hate to be asked to live in the US. Besides, all have fallen short of the glory of God - all of us including the US have made some horrendous errors of judgement in our treatment of others so we have nothing to be proud of. Better that we promote a global awareness and attitude to this world rather than embracing man-made boundaries and frontiers.