Both last year and this year, the date 9/12 has been used for politically focused events, and there is a place for such events. Washington needs to be restored. Springfield needs to be restored. City halls across America need to be restored. However, restoring our nation begins, not among any political leaders or entities, but among us as individual Americans and American families.
A couple of years ago, I received a church bulletin in the mail with the following story from an unknown 12th century monk:
When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation, and I could, indeed, have changed the world.
So many of us desire restoration of America. We want our country to get back to the principles of our Founders and our government to return to the blueprint of our Constitution. We want our governmental leaders to uphold their oath of office and to govern with integrity. However, such a change begins not with them, but with us. We have the opportunity to first educate ourselves about the Founding principles of our country and to continue to live our lives with integrity, character, and a strong work ethic. In doing this, we are then afforded the opportunity to influence those around us. We are at different places in our lives and have different sphere of influences that we can effect. Some of us may have a spouse. Some of us may have a spouse and children. Some of us may have grandchildren. Some of us may be single parents. Some of us may be single. We all have the opportunity to influence are families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, fellow church members, and acquaintances. We have the opportunity to effect change and help to restore America to the Founding principles and values that have made America great.
Restoration begins with us. We have the opportunity and, dare I say, even the obligation to reflect the values of honesty, reverence, hope, thrift, humility, charity, sincerity, moderation, hard work, courage, personal responsibility, and gratitude. We have the opportunity to change the world by first changing ourselves.
It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives.
- John Adams
Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, Judges, and Governors, shall all become wolves.
It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn.
When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.