digging beneath the surface of the 4th

July 5, 2010

patriotic disclaimer:  i love much about this county, and am glad to live here. i am thankful for the many freedoms that i enjoy (and probably take for granted). my husband bravely served for 12 years in the navy, even earning a sailor of the year award.

but like when a young girl is meeting a potential suitor (is that word even used!? lol), she should proceed with her eyes wide open, not blindly believing him to be perfect or faultless. similarly, i (we) believe that we should seek to understand both our country’s history as well as current events with our eyes wide open to truth, however uncomfortable. this view can be seen as “unpatriotic” but i believe it to be the opposite, actually: love enough to know and to insist on truth. the good, the bad, the ugly. and upon knowing/discovering, be bold in preserving, upholding, defending, engaging.

so, as we celebrate the 4th of july this weekend, my hubby led a thoughtful and informative time with maddie last night. she has been super excited over our 4th of july plans (aunt and uncle’s cabin at the lake every year – yippee!). and so it was a great opportunity to teach and refresh about the formation of our country, focusing last night specifically on the writing of the declaration of independence.

and then, with the innocence of a child, she asked my husband if he would have liked to help write the declaration of independence, were he alive then.

he smiled and looked at her … and thus began the delicate walk down the road of uncomfortable truth.

who were the men who wrote the declaration of independence? did any of them hail from african nations? =) (these are my paraphrases for a much longer discussion). they looked at a map of the united states, studying the 13 original colonies. what about the land west of those original colonies – who lived there at that time? and were those peoples “covered” by the declaration? hard questions, with hard answers. they talked of slavery; of peoples forcibly brought to serve. were they covered by the declaration? would my husband and my daughter have been??


today, thank GOD, the “self evident truths” that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) DO apply to my family. they talked about some of the people and events that made it so.

there is SO much more to learn, and so much more to talk about together. my hubby planted some seeds last night, stirred some questions, offered some insight.


3 Responses to “digging beneath the surface of the 4th”

  1. Jessica Averill Says:

    I love so much that Mike takes advantage of the teachable moments that naturally occur in life! That sets a great example for the rest of us.

    I also take his instruction as a reminder to me, since my family is light skinned and we fall under the check box that says ‘Caucasian’ (hate that by the way), that I must be careful and diligent to teach my son the ‘truth’ as well. Even though my young son can not imagine a world where people would be separated because of skin color or geographic origin, he must know what the history of our country is (and at times the current reality) so that his generation will not make similar mistakes. And if his generation does walk down a similar path, it is my prayer that he would be one of the men who would stand up in opposition.

    I struggle with the idea of patriotism at times because I personally have a problem with many things happening in our nations capitol, however, I know that it is a privilege to live in a country where I am allowed to disagree.

    I think our beliefs and convictions must start in the home and in our daily lives. We should be challenged to live what we believe and teach those convictions to our children. Once we have accomplished this, our words will then bear more weight when we stand against governmental injustice. We can hold our heads high and know that we are only asking our leaders to do something that we already practice. This cuts down on hypocrisy and sets a mighty example for others.

    All this to say, “I agree!” and “Kudo’s to you and Mike for being an example!”

  2. Meredith Says:

    I agree with Jessica–you guys do a great job of turning things into teachable moments and initiating important conversations with Maddie!

  3. Life Says:

    Mmm… the tough things to find, found at home. Somethin’ right about that…

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