by Dr. Ken Canfield

What do you think about the current direction of our country? 

It’s the kind of question many people are probably asking as we approach July 4th, and I suspect most of us can find reasons to be less-than-happy with the state of our nation right now—no matter which way we might lean politically.

You don’t have to be around very long to experience some difficulties in life, mistakes by key leaders in our world, and tragedies that affect thousands. And of course, more recently we’ve all gotten to experience a worldwide pandemic and witness the atrocities of war.

As grandparents, we have been around a long time, and that gives us a valuable perspective on all these things. We have stories, memories, and lessons learned from many years on earth. That’s true in a general sense, and it’s relevant as we think about our nation and what makes it great.

Think about what you’ve lived through. There have been times of unrest and controversial court decisions. Maybe you served our country in the military or you’re close to someone who did, maybe someone who gave the ultimate sacrifice. There have been incredible advances in science and technology during your years. You’ve lived through times of huge inflation, maybe gas shortages and famines, years of plenty and years of great need. You’ve witnessed numerous examples of irresponsibility and selfishness as well as sacrifice and generosity. You’ve met people who are living completely for themselves and some who are striving to make your community (and the world) a better place for others.

And if we’re thinking more patriotically this weekend, what good qualities has all that change brought out in people? Where have you seen resiliency, patience, humility, and compassion shine?

What do you appreciate about our country? What makes it great?

Surely there are some examples that come to your mind, and those are great stories and lessons to share with your grandkids. You can give them a greater sense of peace and confidence about the future. They’ll see that, in many ways, “There is nothing new under the sun.” You have made it through many changes in the world and come out fine, and they will too. Coming from you, that can be a big comfort to them.

And because of your years of experience, there’s probably no one better to share with them about the virtues of our nation and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

What do you want your grandkids to know about “independence” and other benefits you have as an American (or as a citizen of another country)? View comments and join the discussion at our Facebook page.