Each summer for the past 15 years we’ve packed up our five children with their one overstuffed carryon luggage to explore the world for 2-3 months at a time. I love visiting other countries and appreciate meeting new people and experiencing new cultures but I have also grown to love and appreciate our country more than ever.
I’ve visited 38 countries. When asked my favorite country or place, my answer is always the same: “There is no country in the world like the United States. The more one travels, the more one appreciates home.” I know America has its share of problems that at times might seem insurmountable however, the more time I spend in dysfunctional international hubs, the more I realize that our problems are fairly manageable.
Many Americans tend to overlook the many blessings of our country, focusing on its problems rather than its glories, but millions of immigrants want to come to America because it is a comparatively excellent place to live. If the US was so bad, why would people be flocking here? More than 23 million foreign nationals applied for green cards in 2018. The reason, because America is still the BEST country in the world. The United States has always championed individual freedoms more than most other countries, and patriotism stands firmly in solidarity with these ideals. Our country is amazing! Our freedoms are remarkable. Our founding fathers, and many heroes since then, have sacrificed their lives to ensure our liberty and our independence for generations to come. We should be proud of our heritage, our freedoms, and our heroes.
Why is teaching patriotism so important? It is because patriotism unites diverse groups of people. It is without question that the United States has one of the most diverse and uniquely diverse populations in the world. “A government is like everything else: to preserve it, we must love it.” During his youth, Thomas Jefferson carefully copied those words – a quote from the great political philosopher Montesquieu – into his private journal he kept as a student for future inspiration. “Everything, therefore, depends on establishing this love in a republic, and to inspire it ought to be the principal business of education.”
Jefferson believed that a strong foundation in history would ensure that the future citizens would cherish and sustain the republic the Founders had won for them. He held that the study of American history should be a main focus of education for children aged six to eight. However, in most schools, you will more often encounter the 1619 or Zinn version of history than any positive version of history. We’re telling our young people that America is racist and oppressive, and that over the years we have only failed to do right by the most vulnerable, instead of telling them that we were founded with incredible ideals that we have sometimes failed to live up to.
While patriotism is a politically incorrect term in our education system today, we know that this sense of attachment and identification makes participation in democracy meaningful. In order to feel civically responsible, students must be passionate about their state or nation. School leaders must nurture a positive climate to inspire students. To accomplish this, teachers need to urge students to look to our country’s heroes and heroines for role models rather than focusing myopically on the flaws and foibles of these individuals.
As patriotic Americans, we must redouble our efforts to convert our children, their friends, our colleagues, and our relatives who have lost faith in our troubled, yet still magnificent country. Ultimately, no nation can thrive if too many of its citizens no longer love it. We can become stronger, more united as a nation by embracing patriotism.
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