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How to Help Kids Appreciate America’s Freedoms

How to Help Kids Appreciate America’s Freedoms

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The J.M. Smucker Company. All opinions and content are my own. I’m partnering with Folgers® at Walmart through the Share A Cup & A Story campaign, to create personal connections with Veterans and honor their service to our country.

When you think about the United States of America, common themes often come to mind. Independence, freedom of speech, and the American dream are just some of the ideals associated with America. Those ideas were won through the efforts of others, many of whom even gave up their lives. As Veterans Day approaches, it’s a good opportunity to teach kids about the wonderful nation we live in and what was required to achieve our independence.

Folgers Classic Roast Coffee share a cup and story - Mommy Scene

There’s nothing like sharing a story over a cup of coffee. Folgers® Classic Roast from Walmart is a great beverage to enjoy all times of year but especially on crisp fall days as the weather gets colder. My parents recently visited and I had the opportunity to ask my dad, a United States Veteran and Captain in the United States Navy, about ways I can teach my own children how to appreciate America’s freedoms. Celebrating Veterans Day is an opportunity for our family to reflect on the blessings we enjoy (like a cup of coffee) and security that was won through the sacrificial service of others.

Folgers Coffee share a cup and story - Mommy Scene

Growing up I heard stories of my dad’s service in the Navy, but I didn’t often consider how our military’s efforts help provide the freedoms we have. Veterans Day can help us reflect on that service and remind us to thank the individuals who have fought for our country.

Pete Dunn Navy Veteran - Mommy Scene

My Dad’s 30-Year Naval Career

  • Commissioned in 1967 as an Ensign, U.S. Navy, in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, University of Virginia.
  • Awarded Naval Aviator Wings following flight training at Pensacola, Florida, and Corpus Christi, Texas.
  • Accomplished over 300 combat missions flying the OV-10A “Bronco” in South East Asia.
  • Flew the OV-10A and T-2C “Buckeye” Navy jet trainer as they came off the production line of North American Aviation, Columbus, Ohio.
  • Flew the S-2G “Tracker” conducting carrier-based anti-submarine warfare operations out of San Diego.
  • Made the first deployment with the S-3A “Viking” on the John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier, conducting carrier-based anti-submarine warfare operations in the Mediterranean Ocean.
  • Conducted developmental test flights of various aircraft at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland.
  • Transitioned into the Navy Reserves and served as a Naval Intelligence Officer at the Pentagon.
  • Completed 30-year Navy career at Buckley Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado.

Pete Dunn U.S. Navy Veteran - Mommy Scene

CAPT Peter Dunn, U.S. Navy

How have veterans primarily influenced our nation in your opinion?

There are approximately 20 million military veterans who served in all branches of the military. These men and women are the principle reason the United States has been able to maintain our freedoms, and also enable the U.S. to be a principle leader in keeping peace in the world. Veterans have been willing to serve around the globe in harm’s way, and even sacrifice their lives to this end.

How can parents help kids appreciate the freedoms that have been won for them?

Parents can help their children appreciate our freedoms by teaching them the history of our country, of the wars that have been fought to protect freedom, and of the cost that men and women have paid to maintain freedom. They can visit national cemeteries, observe veterans parades and patriotic events, and meet veterans of World War II and the Korean War while they are still alive.

What are some ways kids and young adults can contribute to our country’s well-being?

Children and young adults can contribute to our country by learning to serve others, and put community and national interests before self-interest. Organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Civil Air Patrol, Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, and church youth groups can be invaluable. “Service before self” is a common theme. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” is the Biblical mandate.

What top lesson did you learn as a U.S. Veteran?

I learned to be willing to step out in faith and serve my community and my country by leaving my comfort zone and taking risks that I would not normally take. Serving as a Naval Aviator, a sheriff volunteer, in Civil Air Patrol search and rescue, and in American Red Cross disaster relief have helped me to accomplish this.

I share with my Civil Air Patrol Cadets that if they could teach me to land on an aircraft carrier, then they can teach anyone — I had seven strikes against me before I started! Set life goals early on, exercise perseverance, rely on the networking of family, friends, and mentors, and have faith that God will enable you to accomplish your goals. I have accomplished goals as a veteran and as a volunteer that I never would have dreamed possible.

Veteran's Day story and coffee - Mommy Scene

Not only did my dad serve our country, but he provided the foundation and security for my family growing up. My dad was very active in my childhood and taught me the importance of hard work and perseverance, networking, and faith; the top three character qualities he regularly emphasized.  My dad actively shared his faith with strangers and started many conversations that encouraged people to open up about themselves. He still is a leader in the community despite having retired some years ago, serving with the Red Cross and helping with hurricane relief, as well as assisting with Search and Rescue training and helping with community events. My dad helped me develop the character I have today, which has helped me achieve success in small business, security in my own faith, and confidence in raising my own family. My dad is a blessing to all who know him.

Grandpa and granddaughter U.S. Navy Veteran - Mommy Scene

My dad will always have friends everywhere he goes thanks to his natural leadership and love for people. I appreciate that my kids can learn from my dad’s wisdom and also have the opportunity to enjoy the freedoms we have in America, thanks to our veterans!

We’d love to hear your stories! Share a story you heard from a veteran in your life in the comments below!

Author Bio

Katie

Katie has been married for 9 years, has 3 young children, and loves creative projects, photography, decorating, and encouraging others to pursue their ideas. She loves the Lord and feels blessed to be a stay-at-home mom with opportunities to enjoy creative outlets from home.

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38 Comments on "How to Help Kids Appreciate America’s Freedoms"

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Cia Black

What a great way to honor your father and help the children of America as well. I know my son is already asking to join the JROTC and every summer since he was 7 he attend the local police officers in training camp ( which is offered free) , my girls want to do Girl Scouts.

Thena

Love this post, and what a great way to honor your dad. We always try to talk to our girls about history and life, as it is so important.

Preet

Such an amazing post and a great way to honor your Dad. Sharing a story over a cup of coffee is always the best. Your kids are so lucky to learn and spend time with your Dad. Beautiful pictures.

Tiffany Haywood

First: thank you to you Dad for serving our country in such a committed and dedicated way. I appreciate him.
I am so happy that my Kids have the chance to know what it means to fight to protect their freedoms first hand. They have been born and raised through deployments and seeing their Dad make that sacrifice daily. It is truly a lesson I know they will always value.

Ithfifi

Your dad sounds like an absolute legend and I am glad you writing posts that pay tribute to all his hard work as well as the many others who put themselves in front to create a better life so so many others. This was a heart warming read, I think your children are also so lucky to have such a wonderful man in their lives 🙂

pj gach

I salute your father; and I thank him for his service. This is a wonderful way to honor your father and to remind everyone how much the military has ensured our freedoms.

amanda

this is beautifully written and a wonderful way to get to know your father even more!

Aditi

Love the sentiment behind your post- the father daughter conversation, the story of a veteran and the desire to teach your kids right!

Linda

Any time I think of the US I think freedom, and fashion, lol! Your dad is a great man, I love all army men! I think it’s so cute that you shared this with us!

Rochelle Haynes

Thanks for sharing loving the post

Ana vukosavljevic

Your dad is a true hero and inspiration! Such a beautiful written post, deserves more attention. Everyone should read it. Thank you for this!

Tennille M.

Love this! Such a great tribute to your father and his career. Loved to see my favorite coffee too.

Lisa Bunce

Thanks for sharing! Sounds like your dad is quite an amazing man. You are blessed to be his daughter!

Alicia Taylor

Thank you to your dad for his service. My family has been military going all the way back to the Revolutionary War. We are very proud of our country and our service people

Michelle Leslie

Wow, your Dad sounds like a truly amazing person Katie. Sometimes it’s too easy to forget how much had to be sacrificied to give the people at home their freedom and we often don’t say thank you enough. Thank you Sir for what you’ve done

corinne & kirsty

I think this can apply to any western country really. When I was growing up, my parents were always telling us to appreciate the freedom we have that our ancestors had been fighting for. They are fragile rights so we must protect them

Pooja Kawatra

This is such a proud moment and a great way to honour your dad. There is definitely so much to learn from him.

amer

Such a beautiful post, and a beautiful scenario. I always envisioned this with my dad, a good chat and an excellent cup of coffee.

Stephanie JEannot

Your father is a hero. That is wonderful to have someone so close to you that you can look up to and feel so blessed to have. And yes, I agree that coffee is definitely an American Staple. I like Folgers a lot.

Sue Tanya McHorgh

Love this post, and what a great way to honor your dad. A special thank you to you Dad for serving our country in such a committed and dedicated way.

Amber Ludwig

I have no veterans in my family, I have a few friends who have fought overseas though! I don’t have any special stories but I am so thankful to those who serve and have served! Its amazing the opportunities and freedoms we have because of those who have served <3

Josselyn Radillo

what a great way to honor your dad!!! and my mom loves this brand of coffee!! Plus stories over a cup of coffee is always the best

Samantha

Thank your dad for his years of service. My dad served in the Army/National Guard for 24 years & was in the Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom Phase II, & served a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. I think Veterans Day is a great way to reflect on what soldiers and their loved ones sacrifice. People should also be aware of the struggles that many soldiers go through when they return home. Thats just as important & more needs to be done to help them after everything they’ve sacrificed.

Candy Rachelle

That is such a great way to honor your dad. and I am giving thanks for your dad’s service. Starting now, I will talk to my kids about the history of this generation.

Amy
There really is a lot that we can learn from the generations before us. Whether we agree or disagree with war, the reasons behind war, etc. All people who fought in those wars believed they were doing what was best for future generations and put their lives on the line for that – its something to learn from. There is also a lot to learn from anyone who didn’t necessarily fight in a war but who lived through it. We have such an entitled generation growing up right now – these kinds of lessons are important to keep them humble.
Ellie Plummer

What a great, original idea for a post. I’m not from the USA so I don’t understand as much but this was a nice idea.

Nina

I love the idea of supporting and appreciating people who have served our country. I also am very thankful of our freedoms. However the one thing I don’t like is when (and you didn’t do this) people act like our freedom is the best. I can think of a whole long list of countries who experience just as much freedom. I live in Spain currently and feel just as free here as I did in the US. I’m super thankful for my upbringing but also can see that other countries are great too.

Paige Flamm

Your dad looks like such a sweet and gentle man! Thank you for sharing some of his story with us.

Elizabeth O

That is such a great way to honour your loving dad. I salute all those who give life to the people who need their help. Everyone should read this.

Elizabeth O

This is the best topic to talk with our children. By the way, This is such a great way to honor your dad. I salute all the commanders that take their lifetime risk for the sake of other people.

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