October 2, 2020by Reverend Dan on October 2, 2020
“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”
1 Timothy 4:12
One of our church’s youth, a shy but immensely articulate and bright young lady named Cali-Lynn had a school assignment recently, and I was lucky enough to have it shared with me. Cali-Lynn turned 15 years old this week (which I’m still trying to wrap my mind around because when I arrived here just a few short years ago she was only 1 year old) and the assignment was to answer the question, “What does it mean to be an American”?
Based on her answer, I’d say our country and our church still has the hope for a future if everyone would open their eyes and hearts and listen to the words of the next generation who is inheriting a world we have not been very good stewards of. I share her response with you.
I think that being an American means being a flawed person that is part of a country that struggles with its diversity. Don’t get me wrong. America is better than a lot of other countries. We have a lot of freedoms, a lot of good principles, and a lot of good opportunities. However, a lot of people abuse their freedoms.
Notice how people that come from other countries are ecstatic about all of the freedoms they now have. They show a lot of American patriotism, but they also don’t forget where they came from. They don’t forget the struggles that they had to endure. People who were born in America, and whose family has been here for generations forget where they originated. They abuse the freedoms that they were born here with to put down other groups and call it “American Pride” whilst forgetting that their ancestors were once people looking for shelter themselves.
One of my favorite examples of this is when someone says, “Go back to the country you came from”, at which point for me personally, I can tell them that I have five Native American tribes in my ancestry and that their argument is invalid. Furthermore, I’m not saying that all Americans are like this, not all of us bring others down. I am, however, still standing by my statement that we as Americans are flawed individuals that are part of a place that struggles with understanding and accepting diversity, whether we like it or not.
As Barack Obama once said, “My fellow American, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.”
Thanks for allowing us to see through the eyes and heart and wisdom of youth, Cali-Lynn.
"Precious Lord, Open our eyes and our hearts to the changes we all need to make. In Jesus' name, AMEN."