We don’t all express our patriotism in the same way. Some of us revere symbols of the country, like the American flag. Others express their love for country in their yearning for it to do better and its citizens to be better. Often those who offer criticisms do so from a place of deep reverence for the country and respect for their fellow citizens. Whether you are concerned about the problems erupting in American society today, or you find yourself admiring how the common good is being protected, you will acknowledge that a first step is service to others. What better way to learn this democratic virtue than from those who have committed themselves "to protect and to serve"? In The Difference a Day Makes, author Karen M. Jones suggests asking local police, fire, and emergency medical teams to host teens for a day as a way of demonstrating to the teens how their energy can be used to help others. After their day on the job, talk to the teens about what they learned about social conscience and service.

Habib Todd Boerger, Karen M. Jones in Practicing Democracy in Your Neighborhood by Habib Todd Boerger