by Diana Erbio – As our nation celebrates its freedom from tyranny this Independence Day it is vital that we remember Ben Franklin’s warning words when asked at the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 about whether we had a Republic or a Monarchy. “A Republic, if you can keep it,” was his famous response. We must heed that message and act upon it.
How? By recognizing that tyranny if not in full force, has and always will be lurking just around the corner. To guard against this enemy of freedom we must arm the next generation with the knowledge of the founding principles written into our Constitution that have safeguarded our individual freedoms since the birth of our nation. If we fail to do this tyranny will rise again.
During this age of technological wonder we must be wary of distraction. Sure there must be time for frivolous fun and silly entertainment, such as the all too numerous video clips on YouTube of cats and others engaging in nonsense. But as the older, supposedly wiser generation we must direct our children and grandchildren towards ideas of substance too. For instance our Constitution.
Glenn Beck spoke of a game, The Constitution Quest that he had introduced to his kids. He said he learned stuff about the U.S. Constitution playing this game that he was unaware of and he is one who actively studies it. We as Americans are proud to announce that we have protected rights, but how many of us really know what these rights are?
Pocket Constitutions are great to keep close by and refer to on a frequent basis, but this game sounds like an entertaining way to stay connected to our protected rights. Knowing these rights and passing this knowledge on to the next generation is the most effective way to keep the Republic our founding fathers fought for in 1776.
Other important aspects that have helped keep our nation independent has been its people’s ingenuity and imagination. Once again we as the older and (wiser?) generation should take it upon ourselves to help the youngsters get engaged in using their own minds and skill sets to build and invent. A new book, Made by Dad, by Scott Bedford, includes 67 projects designed to be undertaken with kids. (Despite the title, moms, grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles as well as dads can all get involved!)
Another way to stir imagination in young kids is to read them a story and ask them to remember scenes from the story that they can later recreate on paper, using crayons, paints or markers. This will encourage creativity and active engagement through books. My short story for Kindle, Moon Circles, 99-cents at amazon.com teaches a mini science lesson about the relationship of the sun, earth and moon and inspires young children to physically act out the way the earth circles the sun while the moon circles the earth.
Use your own ingenuity and spur some independent thinking this Fourth of July! Happy Independence Day!