Thursday, June 18, 2009
Your eighth birthday is fast approaching, and I wanted to put down some thoughts as you finish up Second Grade, and prepare for next year.
I was very proud on your first day of school, when you were the only one in your class of five and six year olds who knew the pledge of allegiance. When your teacher asked you to lead the class in the pledge, my heart swelled.
You surprised me when you asked Grandma to get you a policeman costume for Halloween. I had not appreciated how much you admired your uncle and two cousins who are police officers. Your comments about police protecting and helping people were wise beyond your years.
I put copies of the pictures you and I took at the Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge on your Mom’s computer. That way, you can look at them any time you want. I know from the questions you ask, that you worry about your Uncle Patrick and Cousins Keith and JoAnn while they take on their very important jobs. I hope you understand my answers, and know why they can’t always be with us when we want. I worry about them too, but we both know they are very smart, and they know what they are doing and how to take care of themselves and their friends. Like all of our family, they want to protect you, but sometimes must be away while they do that. Just remember to include them when you say your bedtime prayers, and all of the men and women in the military.
You won’t understand this part for awhile, but you were a very big help to your Mom when she was sick from the cancer medicine. She tells me that you have even made dinner for both of you when she was too tired from her college classes and medicine to cook. I don’t know how or when you learned to do some of the things you help your Mom with, but I do know that every time you help it is just like saying “I love you” to your Mom.
When you started first grade, you were able to officially join the Cub Scouts. You have already been to Scout Camp many times, helping your Mom and me with different Scout activities. That means you know some things the other Cubs won’t know yet, and will be able to do some things they haven’t learned. Don’t be a show off about the things you know, but help your fellow Cubs learn how to do those things themselves.
Like all parents and grandparents, I wanted my children and grandchildren to be smarter, healthier, happier, freer and more prosperous than my generation. Your test scores have already shown that you are much smarter than I was, and your level of activity is an indication of your health. What worries me now is the prospect that you may not have the same freedoms and opportunities that I had. And for that, I take responsibility.
I had the duty to future generations to insure that the principles upon which our Nation was founded were protected, nurtured and grown. And in this regard, I have not kept that duty well. While so many adults are worried about the economy, jobs and finances, we have looked in the wrong places for the answers to our questions. We are relying on others to fix things, instead of fixing things ourselves. And the ones who we look to for help are often the same folks who caused our problems.
As a Scout Leader, I have tried my best to be true to the twelve points of the Scout Law. To me, the most important is to be Trustworthy. But I have broken that law, by allowing people who are not trustworthy to become the leaders of our country. Many of our elected officials have lied, cheated and even stolen from others. Yet I, and others like me, have not cared enough for your future to demand better behavior from those who have authority and power. And now, they are taking away the freedoms I had all of my life. By the time you reach adulthood, I fear you will have been given a country very different from the one I found as a young man.
I want to make a promise to you, and I know that you trust me to keep my promises. I will do whatever I can to help bring our country back to our values and character. I will not just let things happen, but will take a more active role in becoming a true citizen, trusting in our founding principles to give you a country and a future that cherishes our freedoms and opportunities. I cannot guess how things will be as you grow up, but I will do my best to give you a country where you can make your dreams come true; and that will make my dreams come true.