400th Anniversary of the Pilgrims' Landing: Parents, Here Are 6 Essential Questions to Ponder With Your Kids by Marian (Hannah) Carlson

400th Anniversary of the Pilgrims' Landing: Parents, Here Are 6 Essential Questions to Ponder With Your Kids

Families, gather ‘round to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ landing –1620 to 2020! From coast to coast in the United States and in England and Holland, this extraordinary journey honors the courage, faith and strength of the Pilgrims. Read the story of the Pilgrims, talk about it together and answer some thought-provoking questions below. Have fun and discover America’s rich heritage and some contemporary relevance.

Starting the Conversation With Kids

Imagine that you’re onboard the Mayflower with the Pilgrims for months and months. How will you pass the time? Perhaps you’ll tell stories, play games, help with the chores – or ask each other questions. Here’s six essential questions and how the Pilgrims might answer them. How would you answer them: who, what, when, where, why, how?

1. Who Am I?

“They knew they were Pilgrims…” “A Pilgrim passed I to and fro.” – William Bradford

The Pilgrims were to meet another culture, Wampanoag, “People of the First Light.”

Ask yourself what’s important to me? What brings me joy? Do I like working with my hands, or writing creative stories, or bringing friends together to see my new computer program, or solving mathematical problems, or playing a sport, or playing an instrument? The options are enormous! You can try different things and discover your passion and new talents along the way. Your identity is unique – the world needs you!

Photo: Mayflower II is a popular attraction in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It is an exact replica of the original Mayflower that brought the Pilgrims to America.

2. What Is My Goal? 

“As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light kindled here has shone unto many.” – William Bradford

Ask yourself if you want to become a good neighbor, an active citizen or perhaps a world leader? Doing good for others starts at home, school and in our communities. When your goal is reaching beyond yourself, you can make great contributions to the world. Your life can be a force for good! The Pilgrims wanted to find God, not gold, and establish a colony that would be an example to others. Let your light shine! It takes clear vision.

3. When Am I Going on My Journey?

“We sailed away with a prosperous wind on September 6, 1620.” – William Bradford

By 1620 the Pilgrims clearly saw that their mission of religious freedom was impossible while living in England or Holland. They must leave before being arrested! Ask yourself if every day is an amazing journey, a discovery mission. Be grateful for the family, friends and teachers who help you launch your dreams, guiding you toward new achievements. Perhaps after high school graduation, you’ll be ready to take part in a family business or start one of your own. Or perhaps you’ll journey on to study more at college. It takes courage to say “farewell.”

4. Where Am I Going?

The Pilgrims were headed to the New World, “… a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia.” – Mayflower Compact

Ask yourself where you can do the most good. Where do you feel most at home to pursue your goals? Do you love the history found on the east coast, or the warmth of the south, or the open spaces of the north and mid-west, or the natural majesty of the west? Do you want to seek out interesting places and new friends? Today, people move around a lot and may live in several different areas during their lives. Be flexible like the Pilgrims who thought they would settle at Hudson’s River, hundreds of miles south of Cape Cod where they did anchor. It takes alertness.

Photo: Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts, replicates the original settlement of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony. 

5. Why Am I on This Journey?

“For the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith … and honor of our … country.” – Mayflower Compact. 

Ask yourself if you want to impress others, become rich and important or to stay on the path of higher goals. Are you influenced by others or following your heart? The Pilgrims knew why they were on this journey and wouldn’t turn back even when facing great danger, extreme cold and hunger for months. It takes persistence.

6. How Am I Going to Reach My Goals?

The Pilgrims promised to bind together “into a civil body politic.” – Mayflower Compact

Ask yourself if you’ve gained skills at living and working with others. Think about how the Pilgrims reached their goals. They worked together for the common good. They settled arguments among themselves. They wrote compacts and fair laws to govern their town, Plymouth Plantation. They made treaties of mutual agreement with the Indians. They consistently prayed to God and expressed much gratitude for his goodness. Our mutual purpose is to develop civic awareness and empathy to help others! How can you take part in keeping our country free, strong and prosperous? It takes CHARACTER!

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This is a neat idea.
Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds
What a great conversation to have with your kids during the Thanksgiving season. Thank you for sharing, Marian (Hannah) Carlson . Welcome to 30Seconds. We look forward to learning more from you!

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