Thursday, July 4, 2013

Thursday Thinking - Land That I Love

Atlas, Cali, and Levin at the 4th of July concert in the park

“Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” 
Adlai E. Stevenson II

Calvin and I once received a letter of thanks from a four-star general.  He thanked us for raising patriotic children and said that patriotism is not inborn but it is something that must be taught and it is best learned in the home.  I've thought about that letter often since we received it and wondered how it was we taught patriotism and how we can better teach love and devotion to freedom in our home and to our grandchildren.

My sister Rachel sent pop rocks and a copy of the Declaration of Independence to her grown children this year and asked them to eat the pop rocks (symbolizing fireworks) while they read the Declaration on July 4th.  I determined that we'll read the Declaration of Independence in our home every 4th of July from now on.  It felt very good to read it tonight.

Being a citizen is a great honor with significant responsibilities. Citizenship is more than simply reaping the benefits of others’ participation. The work of citizenship is hard work which calls upon us to use our best thinking, our most careful study, our most rigorous analysis.   

One of the things I admire most about the Founding Fathers was their "if not me, then who?" attitude.  They didn't expect others to provide their safety, convenience, or living.  They recognized their responsibility in living in a free society and that maintaining freedom takes vigilance, sacrifice, and hard work.

Because I don't hold a public office or serve in the military, and my vote seldom makes a difference, I'm not always sure what being a responsible citizen looks like for me and how to best be involved.  However, I have come to understand that being a good citizen can be as simple as buying kool-aid from a child's lemonade stand on the side of the road and supporting them as they learn about our free enterprise system.  Being a good citizen can mean reading and studying about history and what it took to create a free people and what it takes to maintain it.  Being a good citizen means observing the laws of the land and being very concerned when good laws are trampled or bad laws are passed, and keeping contact with my representatives in both cases.  Always being a good citizen means volunteering, serving my neighbor, and helping good causes to go forward.   

 "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil 
is for good men to do nothing." 
Edmund Burke

 The lecturer asked the audience who in attendance loved the Constitution.  There was a unanimous and enthusiastic raising of hands.  Then he asked us specifics about the Constitution and few knew the answers.  He said he didn't wish to offend, but wondered how many of us could honestly say we loved a document when we knew relatively little about it.  He challenged everyone to study and become better informed so that our actions better matched our words.

Good men turn the other cheek.  Good men mind their own business.  Good men act.

And that was what I thought about today.  How about you?


Cali said...

I thought about the same, EXACT things. Thank you for a great and meaningful 4th of July.

Lynn C. Jaynes said...

Great comments. Especially reminding everyone about what they CAN do, instead of focusing on what they can't.

melanie said...

Your patriotism always inspires me.

I thought a lot about my family on the 4th.