Life, liberty and the pursuit
I told my grandpa on the phone this morning that indeed this home learning journey had its challenges. It does. But I also told him in complete sincerity that it was so worth it. And that I truly learn something new almost every day. Truth be told sometimes I’m more excited about it than they are.
Especially today. We have wrapped up our world history for the year since we were at a good holding point until the new school year. So we are immersed in our early American history until summer break. For me, learning all over again about the foundations of this nation we call home is deeply meaningful. Our heritage is rich and our founders were bold pioneers who fought and sacrificed so much for the freedom we now enjoy (and often take for granted).
I could not sit today and read on the couch like we usually do (much of our learning comes from living books that I read aloud to the kids). I stood and waved my hands around and read with fervor as Benjamin Franklin traveled to and fro from England trying to be a peacemaker with the British. I exclaimed “And the Declaration of Independence was signed on July FOURTH in 1776!!! What day is that!” They erupted “It’s Independence Day!” To which I replied “And what do we celebrate on that day?”
They yelled now, trying to counter my extreme excitement “FREEDOM!”
As the decades pass by and we get further from those roots and beliefs than this nation was founded on, some freedoms have become scarce for certain people who believe certain things. I count us incredibly blessed to enjoy the freedom to teach our children at home and do not take that for granted even on my worst days. But even now there are many who are working to remove that freedom from those of us who choose that road.
I digress however, that is another entire blog. As I read to my children the first part of the Declaration of Independence this morning:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…
I could not help but explain to my oldest daughter and son that though our nation was founded on these and other principles, they did not always exist here. In the years that followed the American Revolution, slavery took off and those men and women were NOT treated with equality and they did not live in liberty but instead in bondage.
What was hardest to explain however was that we live in a nation now where the life of the not-yet-born child is no longer protected. Millions of babies every year are denied their unalienable right to Life – this fact is impossible to make sense of or explain. Rylee asked tenderly, “Do those babies go to heaven?”. Of course they do. “Well there must be a LOT of babies there then!”. Yes, indeed there must be. We then talked about China and other countries that don’t share in the system of values that this country was founded on. Rylee stated plainly “In places like China and India, the life of a girl baby has less value than a boy. So they can choose to let it die and try again for a boy.” It totally caught me off guard but she is totally right.
The privilege of getting to share in this dialogue with my children weighs so heavy on days like today. I would not trade it for anything.