There are many ways to celebrate Independence Day but fireworks are the notorious winner. Fireworks are a big part of the celebration and from a distance they can be very beautiful. But up close, they can be extremely dangerous. There are almost 9,000 fireworks victims treated in U.S. hospitals each year. 44 percent of those injured are children under 20 years old.
The only way to prevent a firework injury is to not play with or be near any fireworks. Regardless of their ages, do not give children access to standard fireworks. Novelty fireworks such as smoke bombs, snakes, and party poppers are safer for children but should still be supervised by an adult.
Instead, I recommend making homemade noisemakers to make your own ruckus in the celebration. Younger children are mostly attracted to firework noises, so these noisemakers are an easy and safe way for them to participate. Put uncooked rice in an empty plastic bottle, tightening the cap, and shake. Or give them a box of macaroni and cheese that you haven’t opened yet. You would be surprised how fun shaking these bottles and boxes can be for a young child.
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. If someone is setting fireworks off at home or if you are attending a party where someone has fireworks, they should follow these safety rules:
Sometimes the best seat in the house is your backyard or front porch. Use your best judgment on the location for viewing fireworks. And remember, have fun!
Ramadan is a very special Muslim holiday, which we observe by fasting from dawn until sunset for a month. This year, the holiday begins on June 28 and ends on July 28. Even if you don’t observe Ramadan, there are lessons and traditions that your family can learn and practice throughout the year.
During Ramadan, Muslims fast to improve self-restraint and increase awareness. For example, many of us have snacks, coffee, or even full meals without being hungry or thirsty. During the fast, we see why we feel the urge to eat or drink beyond our physical needs so we can transition to a higher level of emotional and spiritual awareness.
In the middle of a fasting day when we feel hungry, we turn to that moment of awareness and remember our blessings. Often taking that moment’s pause can instantly resolve the hunger and nourish us from a spiritual perspective. It also helps us feel connected to other people around the world who are hungry or thirsty simply because they do not have access to food and water.
The formal rules of fasting are simple. Muslims cannot eat, drink, or inject anything into their bodies (like eye drops, etc.) from dawn until sunset for the duration of the month. At sunset, Muslims usually break fast with some water and dates. At night, from sunset until the next dawn, Muslims can resume all non-fasting activities as usual. Exceptions are made for those who are ill, pregnant, or prohibited by their doctor for any reason, as Islamic belief asserts that our bodies have a right over us and we must give our bodies that due right when necessary.
Celebrate and Respect
It might not seem like it, but most Muslim families find Ramadan to be a time of celebration and fun! How can the process of not eating and drinking be fun? During Ramadan, families and friends make a concerted effort to spend time together. Since there is no food to distract us, we have true quality time together, sharing our thoughts and emotions and forming a deeper connection. Families also break the fast with dinner or have pre-dawn meals together at 3:00 am! Additionally, there are nightly prayers that families and friends like to observe together. Muslim families share most meals together during this month.
You and your children can respect fasting Muslims by asking them about their experience as they fast. Some find it respectful not to eat or drink in front of fasting Muslims, but this is not a hard and fast rule.
Feel free to join the celebration! Break the fast with a Muslim friend at sunset one day or join them in fasting for a day or two. You could even fast for an afternoon to sample the experience.
The most important things for all people to learn, regardless of religion, are to celebrate life together, become more aware of our actions surrounding food and drink, and connect more deeply with others.
Question: My son’s father left when he was less than 12 months old and I’m a single mom. He’s 9 years old now and most of his friends celebrate Father’s Day with their dads. Is there anything I can do so that he doesn’t feel left out on Father’s Day?
Answer: Growing up without a father can sometimes be difficult for a child, especially if many of his or her friends live in a two-parent household. Your son is very lucky to have a mother who cares so much about him and doesn’t want him to feel left out.
While Father’s Day traditionally honors fathers, it’s a wonderful opportunity for your son to honor a male role model in his life. This year, ask your son to choose a male whom he respects and values. It can be a grandfather, uncle, family friend, or even a brother. Arrange for the two of them to spend time together. Whether they go out for ice cream, miniature golfing, or to a movie, giving your son the opportunity to spend time with a male role model will allow him to celebrate the holiday without feeling left out.
As you ask your son to choose this male role model, be sure to also ask him how he feels about his father not being in his life. It’s important to listen to him and understand his feelings. While you cannot change the past, you may be able to help your son understand that he is not at fault and is loved by many other people, including his mother.
For more information on parental engagement from birth through high school, see the YOU: Your Child’s First Teacher 3-book set.
On the last Monday of May, Americans celebrate Memorial Day.
Memorial Day isn’t just a day off from work and school. It honors the more than 1.3 million soldiers who have died while serving in the U.S. military. Your family can honor those who died serving our country in three important ways:
How do you honor our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day? Tell us in the comments below or in the forum.