I just got back from a long couple of weeks in the Philippines for work, and as usual it left me concerned about how my time away from my kids impacts them and our relationship. It is always heartwarming to come home to their handmade signs and super tight hugs and kisses, which I guess means I am doing something right.
All of my other doubts aside, I know my kids are learning one thing that is incredibly important to me. They are learning to be patriotic and have respect for the great symbols of our nation.
For those of you unfamiliar with military installations, there is music that plays every morning and every night. I have seen different variations at the various bases I have lived at in terms of what music they play, but the national anthem is always a part of that music at some point during the day. A fun addition here in Japan is that they also play the Japanese national anthem. When the music plays you are supposed to stop walking or driving, and if outside stand with your hand over your heart much like you would at a sporting event.
This is our first time living on base so my kids were not super familiar with this tradition before we lived here, but I am proud to say they have learned quickly.
Just now my youngest was in the living room with my wife and I when the music started playing. She immediately wanted to run outside, but we stopped her since she isn’t supposed to be running around while the music is playing. Much to my happy surprise she said, “Fine, I put my hand on my heart.” Technically she put her hand on her stomach, but we helped her find her heart and she stood there in the living room for a minute while the music played.
She is only almost three years old, but I am super proud of the fact that she is learning that respect already, even though I realize she doesn’t really know why she is doing it. I am grateful for parents who taught me that respect at a young age as I think respect is one of the most important character traits we can develop.