April 22, 2012

connecting to ANZAC day

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

from For the Fallen, by Laurence Binyon
In Australia, Sunday – 25 April - is ANZAC day.  ANZAC day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.  ANZAC day is a national remembrance when Australians reflect on the many different meanings of war and the qualities of courage, mateship and sacrifice that were demonstrated at the Gallipoli landing.

How we can help our children to connect to the meaning of ANZAC day (especially if like my children you don’t know many people who serve in the army or have fought in a war)?  Here are some thoughts …
  • attend a dawn service or ANZAC day memorial service.  Or if this is not possible visit a war memorial on another day.
  • discuss how they use the values we honour on ANZAC day in their lives – for example, teaching and practising courage with your children.
  • talk about how, what and why we remember things.  The story in this education resource from the Dept of Veteran’s Affairs, suitable for young children, might help open the discussion. Or I love the story My Grandad Marches on Anzac Day, by Catriona Hoy and Benjamin Johnson to open a discussion about rememberance and the meaning of Anzac Day.
  • work with your children to research your family history.  Did any members of your family fight in a war for Australia or any other country? The Australian War Memorial has a page to help you research the military service of family members.
  • And for a little bit of crafty and cooking fun get this free download from Mooo (now TinyMe) and make some ANZAC poppies or ANZAC biscuits and discover the meaning of these ANZAC day symbols (I found this resource thanks to Colour Me There).
I do believe that without an understanding of war we cannot have peace.  And for this reason I find ANZAC day an important commemoration.  I also think that the ANZAC history has had an impact on the values that we cherish in Australian culture. 

How do you help your children to understand the meaning of ANZAC day? 

This post has been updated and republished from April 2010.  


Jeanne said...

Make ANZAC biscuits!!

jenny said...

"They shall not grow old..." always always makes me tear up.

SquiggleMum said...

I loved taking my kids (aged 1 and 3) to the ANZAC service this morning. It's extra special for our family because my Dad is the parade marshall and calls the march to attention. Very exciting for my kids to see their Pa in action. (Thanks for the link to my article xx)

Florida Vacation said...

Excellent idea! Such an event would make kids very excited and we will spend a great day with friend and family!

Shame TV said...

Anzac Day for our kids? its reckless and it's dangerous. Our children are constantly bombarded with horrific stories of war, forced to watch brutal documentaries of war at schools by patriotic rogue teachers who take advantage of the schools regulatory system by insisting that children take part in the Anzac March on their day off. Some even told that they could lose marks on current assignments relating to the Anzac legend if they didnt turn up

Assignments which consist of senseless tasks where children are asked to put themselves in the place of a soldier and to write a letter to describe what it is like and how it makes them feel to be in a war.

It’s a tactless and under-handed attempt to try and make these kids manufacture abnormal feelings of sorrow, regret and guilt that will somehow condition their fragile minds before they even mature, thus themselves mis-guided and in conflict with emotions never to be fully understood. Obliterating any chance for them to look any further other than what has been forced upon them - thus the truth never discovered for themselves