We have every reason to be concerned for our future and whether they will carry on the fight for freedom. My experience as I have talked with thousands of high school and college students is one that many Americans would not necessarily be astonished by. Most of our young people don’t have a clue about the great American experiment that they are apart of. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that once our children hear the “other side,” there is an awakening that takes place. Suddenly, these young people have the capacity to give us hope. They believe in America. They understand why limited government is essential to the freedom. Without question, our young people in this country hold the capacity to right this unconstitutional runaway train. There are few things I believe more strongly than this.
So, how do we get there?
I continue to hear the mantra that we want to get the young people involved, but we often wonder why they are missing in action. The answer is simple. We are not presenting them with those things that make it important to them.
As far as young America is concerned, their initial impressions revolve around believing that cradle to grave security provided by big government is just fine. And society hasn’t really taught them anything different.
Think about the following questions, followed by some typical responses of our young people.
Separation of powers?
Division of authority?
“Old, dead white men.”
Republican form of government?
“Nah, we live in a democracy.”
“Well, I’m fine. I ain’t got no complaints.”
I am convinced that our young people don’t understand the “why” of America because we’ve spent so much of our time in civics just teaching them about the “what” and the “how.” Of course, human beings buy the “why” and they couldn’t care about much less, at least at the inception of the sales or learning process.
How about letting our children experience events like the 1776 crossing of the Delaware, for example? In my own family, we celebrate that historical event by jumping into a “cold” pool or running barefoot through the snow on Christmas Eve, which is the time frame of this pivotal battle. And why is this event so important? Because 1/3 of our soldiers had no shoes, they believed in the intangible of freedom, and we’re willing to fight for it even if it was unpopular or uncomfortable.
The rising generation must experience this, and my own children have a deep sense of appreciation for the founding generation because of these emotional teaching moments. The idea of America must first touch their hearts before they’ll contemplate it seriously in their minds.
There is something refreshing about watching Americans wake up, especially when you make freedom and an overbearing government up close and personal. We can make these things relevant one step at a time. And then we can discuss limited government. Now, we can discuss why we cannot allow power to be concentrated into one branch of government. Now we can discuss what it truly means to be free.
We have a lot of work to do, but I am convinced that, as we build relationships with the future of America, the tide will quickly shift. Not only do I believe this. I know it. Experience is an incredible master.