Monday, July 25, 2011


We had a special speaker at church last Sunday. He is a retired three star army general that served 38 years in the military.  He was involved in every military battle since Vietnam.  His main message was clear: As Christians we have a responsibility to get involved in our government. 

Got it.  And I agree.

During his talk, he said something that really appalled my mom, who was visiting.  He told about students at a rather famous American high school who chose not to show respect and support for their country at an assembly. 

I've really been thinking about that and have decided it is appalling, but not surprising.  And I would like to suggest the students are not the guilty ones here.

Think back to the last presidential election.  What kind of information are we...and our to?  Basically, it's candidate bashing.  Over and over again, on TV, radio and online, one side is claiming the other side is incompetent, dishonest and will do a lousy job if elected. 

Somebody has to lose.  What are we left to believe about the winner?

That tactic trickles down through every type of election held in America. 

Let's take things a step further, shall we?

As adults, when our candidate doesn't win, what do we say to our kids?  What kind of rhetoric do they hear?

A.  "Well, okay, America has spoken.  So-and-so is our new president.  Let's thank God for him and do all we can to support him."


B.  "Terrific.  I can't believe America elected such an imbecile.  The election must have been rigged.  This guy will be the beginning of the end of our country.  And those idiots in congress, they'll go along with everything he wants.  Besides, they're all dishonest.  Look at what _____________ (fill in the blank) did, none of them can be trusted.  What is this country coming to?"

You know what?  I'm guilty of some variation of letter B. 

What about you?

Let's not pick on the teenagers of today for our own shortcomings.  They "ape" their parents whether they want to admit it or not.  If we are continually berating our government in front of our kids over everything from taxes to same-sex marriage to abortion to global warming, and that's all they hear, how can we expect them to respect our country?  Why would they feel the need to show patriotism if we haven't taught it to them?  And I don't think putting our hand over our heart when the flag goes by in a parade is enough.  We need to SPEAK it.  Over and over.

Hey, I'm preaching to myself here.  I have decisive opinions about many hot topics and I've made sure my kids know how I feel.  But have I mixed in enough positive information about being an American to insure that they know how fortunate they are to live in this country?

Have I taught them to be thankful?

I hope so.  I hope you have, too. 

And hey, I know we can blame our schools.  Call me naive, but I really do think parents have more say in a child's life than a school does.  At least an involved parent does.

It's a powerful thing for a child to watch a parent respectfully express their convictions to those who run the school.

Watching a parent act like a big jerk is a powerful thing, too.

Let's determine to have a better attitude, a respectful attitude, toward the country we live in and those who govern it. 

We have the freedom to say what we want; we also have the freedom to choose how we say it.

Our kids, even the big ones, are watching.

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