This year the capstone challenge of my boys Blue Knight year was the annual board of review at Regina Caeli Academy. (The full story of the event itself is here BOARD OF REVIEW) For the weeks leading up to the board I reinforced to the boys and their parents their awards were earned not given by saying:"When your friends ask about your awards you will be able to tell them in Blue Knights everything is earned not given."
This is a hard task we all must learn, and one fathers must teach repeatedly. In my case I had one boy who was able to discuss each question for five minutes each in great detail. The other son took a pretest in the kitchen as we cleaned up from dinner, and smugly thought his 80% was enough to stop studying....ah not in my house. After a very serious discussion on how the name Wojtkun was the only thing I would ever give him, and how he was not going to drag it into the gutter he go serious. So he was on cloud nine when he scored a 100% at the review, and earned the rank of Sergeant for next year the next week.
So what does this have to do with the 4th of July? Well everything.
In 1776 our Continental Army was in the field for over a year, dying for American Independence. The men in Philadelphia used the words of Thomas Jefferson to define what we stood for as a nation, knowing by doing so they signed their own death warrant. After years of fighting (remember the war went on past Yorktown in 1781) the Founders created a document forming a government which used checks and balances to keep the worst human failings in check.
Despite all the Founders did did generations ago, Benjamin Franklin responded prophetically to the question: "Well, Doctor, what have we got-a Republic or a Monarchy?" with "A Republic if you can keep it." Dr. Franklin knew human nature, and knew the lessons in his generation could not be passed on through our DNA. A republic could only be passed on through teaching each generation the cold hard facts of our history, human nature, and the balancing grace of applying natural law. Even with lessons learned, each generation must still earn a republic through application of those lessons to the events of their times.
In today's world we have a tendency to throw away the ideas of the past, thinking modern science can solve all problems. The news reports today show the natural tendency for people to crave the warm security blanket of authoritarian rulers (if they agree with us). These trends are disturbing, for they show people discarding the philosophical lessons (probably never learned and many times purposefully corrupted) of the founders.
So today we must again decide if we want to continue earning our Republic, or throw it away and again come under authoritarian rule...from inside or outside our nation. The threat is real, and only the willfully ignorant can't see it.
Time to go pray for our nation and its people...that the light of freedom ignite in our souls once more.