The American Flag!
The following is a teaching point for me as a dad that came out of a fun game my 2 yr old and my wife made up while driving. (yes, I know I’ve been a little heavy with these lately. but I won’t have a 2 & 3 yr old for much longer so bear with me. they will grow out of these incredibly entertaining years at some point.)
So while driving down to the park to go fishing yesterday I hear my son from the back seat yell “Look Dad, an American flag!” I said “that’s right buddy, do you know what an American flag is?” he confidently replied “Yep, its a flag.” Nice question dad. way to teach on old glory. What I realized though is that neither of my kids have any real clue as to what America is. They are a blank slate to the ideals behind national pride, or to the legends of american history. Our country is revving up for the 2012 election and my boys don’t understand what a president is. America, for them, is still undiscovered territory.
Which got me thinking. My responsibility to my children is to raise them in a way that honors God and teaches them to do the same. Above all, I want them to become and live as citizens of a heavenly kingdom. After all, the chief end of man is not to vote for a certain party, but to glorify God and enjoy him forever. That said, they must do that in the context of their surroundings. They will not live in a box, but in a culture. And I want them to be intelligent students of the culture they live in. For the foreseeable future, that means I must teach them to be great citizens of the country they live in. I want them to know WHY America came to exist and WHAT principles it was founded on. I want them to learn the history of the soil they play on every day. I want them to see how America has grown and developed over time. And I want to teach them how to think well about what is best for the country they are citizens of.
This is not a post that is going to end by saying “vote for….or your children will never know america.” This is actually just a reflection on something an old dead guy said a long time ago. Augustine, in his book City of God, talked about how the Christian is a citizen of 2 realms simultaneously: Heaven & Earth. While heaven is his primary citizenship, the christian lives within the structure of a certain society. And the best way to honor God is by being as best a citizen as possible of that society. For my boys (and my little baby girl) that means learning how to serve & steward America.
I’m not sure what all that looks like yet. But I imagine it starts with the learning the national anthem. Which will be fun.