13 Sep, 2020 Why Constitution Day is a Cause for Celebration
by Dr. Kathryn Knight
What’s The Big Deal?
This September 17, the United States will celebrate the anniversary of our Constitution. All across the land, there will be parades, flags, and merry-making…or maybe not. Even though the Constitution is one of the most important documents ever written, it is often overlooked or met with a ho-hum, “it’s boring” attitude. This year, “we the people” need to consider what freedoms the Constitution guarantees and not miss an opportunity to teach our kids about this time-tested document. So how do we show them why Constitution Day is a cause for celebration?
The Senate’s Constitution webpage says, “Written in 1787, ratified in 1788, and in operation since 1789, the United States Constitution is the world’s longest surviving written charter of government. Its first three words—”We the People”—affirm that the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens.”
Why Did We Need It?
The Founding Fathers knew that the Articles of Confederation, written during the Revolutionary War, were inadequate to address the needs of the growing country. They knew they needed a document that protected the individual and would not allow tyranny to rule as it had in the days of King George. You can see the Declaration of Independence for a list of the usurpations of power of which he was guilty. This protection of the individual is why Constitution Day is a cause for celebration.
Make It Fun!
Kids have the ability to understand far beyond their ability to read. You can read a portion of the Consitution if your kids are small. If they are older, have them read parts to your family. Use these ideas to make Constitution Day a memorable learning time for your growing patriots.
- Dress up. Even my older kids love to dress up in period costumes. Spend part of your day wearing what the Founding Fathers and their wives would have worn. One of our favorites is to don Dolley Madison’s turban.
- Sign the Constitution with a quill pen. Give everyone a feather (our hens donate to this project for us, but you can buy feathers at Hobby Lobby or another craft store). You can look online to see how a nib was cut. There are left and right-handed quills! Let kids try to make their own quill pens, then print and sign a copy of the Constitution. It takes a lot of practice to make and use a quill pen.
- Illustrate the Bill of Rights. My grown kids told me this week that they really enjoyed this project when they were younger. Write out the first ten amendments and have kids draw what freedoms are guaranteed by each one.
- Try to memorize the Preamble and at the least the Bill of Rights (first ten amendments). For example, download or order a pocket Constitution. This website offers constitutions in a pocket/booklet size. https://www.govinfo.gov/features/pocket-constitution. And don’t forget about School House Rock’s preamble song. I always hear the tune when I am recalling the Preamble. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKPmobWNJaU
- Show your patriotism. Wear a flag pin and fly your flag at your house. Greet people you see with “Happy Constitution Day!”.
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