In The Roots of Liberty, I shared sweet memories of traveling with my family. Tasting the dust of country roads and gazing at magnificent sites are favorite childhood memories. They only reveal part of the story. Much of my youth was spent in bitter resentment, so why do the pleasant memories overshadow the pain?
Forgiveness is powerful. When I determined to think about the good, love, grace, and even joy fell out of tangled webs of distraction and guilt. My parents desired the best for me. They sacrificed new cars, clothes, wishes, and untold amounts of sleep on my behalf.
My heritage is not all good or all bad. It is as life, a mixture of both.
When I introduced my son to history, I described it as the story of God working in the lives of men and nations. We read Psalm 77:15, “You are the God who works wonders…” He was enthralled and composed a heartfelt song,
God, you are so good to me. God you set me free, so I worship you.
That was not my response as a child in school. I often heard of the terrible acts of men, war and hate. Historic heroes disrobed grade by grade. Was there another story?
My quest to find the answer led me to the Principle Approach. I rejoiced in the large, red volume containing facsimiles of the writings that influenced the thoughts of colonial Americans. Another side of my national heritage emerged from the dark. The heritage of hard work, diligent study, enduring faith, and love of liberty squeezed through clouds of disdain for selfish slaveholders only caring about money.
Principle Approach is often criticized for only focusing on American history. I see how that perception emerges. The excitement of reading what William Bradford or George Washington actually said is such a contrast to reconstructed history it is tempting to focus solely on the glory of America’s founding. That glory is not because the men and women involved were perfect, but because the value of the individual gained a fuller expression. A government created to protect the innocent with liberty and justice for all.
Our heritage is passed down to us. Our challenge is to decide what to do with it. Will we focus of the selfishness of men, worship imperfect patriots, or try to recreate the past? Instead, let’s hate what is evil and cling to what is good. In doing so, we may discover our heritage is indeed beautiful. (Psalm 16:6)