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Brave Knights of Heroic Courage and Homage to the Enemies They Defeat

Dear Readers,
 
July 4 symbolizes freedom.  It serves as a marker to reflect and relax with family, friends, and community. More importantly, we come together as a nation to celebrate the concept of liberty and how it came about through the personal courage and commitment of farmers, shop owners, and inventors.  
 
As always with life’s major transitions, these times also serve as an opportunity to remember and reflect on someone’s life. My father passed away on July 18, 2019, so the month has gained even greater meaning to me. I want to share a bit about him.
 
My father’s life was one of humility and self-direction.  When his mother died, my grandfather sent my dad to boarding school in Canada at the age of 7. There, he came to enjoy reading Greek tragedies and stories of greatness in the Book of Knowledge, a British children’s encyclopedia. He passed that love to me as we would sit together on the couch and absorb the tales of the Odyssey and great but imperfect heroes. 
 
CS Lewis wrote, “Since it is so likely that [children] will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise, you are making their destiny not brighter but darker…Let there be wicked kings and beheadings, battles and dungeons, giants, and dragons, and let villains be soundly killed at the end of the book.
 
Knowing how I was raised, it should not be surprising that my favorite movie moment is the Lord of the Rings arrival of the elves at Helm’s Deep. I love the scene for its beauty, majesty, and symbolic representation of a willingness to sacrifice for the greater good. 
 
My father taught me to learn from tales of individuals who overcame great odds and led through dark days. Sacrifice and resilience combine to entertain and inspire. We hold onto the importance of symbolism, the need to pause to celebrate the gift of life so we can recalibrate and persevere. Passing along the hope that today’s challenges will pass, and villains will be slain is one of the most important gifts we can provide to our children.
 
A few weeks prior to his death, my father gave a speech.  As I reflect on the challenges we face as a nation and as a world, I went back to listen to his wise words and reset my perspective.
 
Life is a tapestry of experiences and a kaleidoscope of events….it is a chronology of miracles and accomplishments… [we should not take] small, calculated steps but move by leaps and bounds to [achieve] transformation….
 
Anniversaries can only be understood backwards but must be lived forwards…in the realm of the eternal, through you God will fulfill [your] tapestry of events…[but] you may not [always] understand the steps you take.
 
Think critically using the storehouse of knowledge, the freedom and the responsibilities required [to execute on your mission] …
Enjoy freedom but accept responsibility without fear…Do not find satisfaction in the commonplace…but raise the intellectual and moral tone of society…Time and eternity will show the impact of your life…your personal integrity and respect for fellow man…
 
[Your life] is a testimony of conduct and purpose…of rights and privileges.
 
In a few days, the fireworks will sparkle, flags will fly, and the 1812 overture will inspire. During this moment of reflection, join me in taking my father’s words to heart and commit to embracing our freedom which comes with a responsibility to cross the aisle, link arms, and move forward together on the things to which we can agree.  
 
  • Celebrate and appreciate those who have supported you on life’s journeys.
  • Execute your work with discipline and diplomacy.
  • Give care in your conversations. When you have a hard conversation, speak in the language of the other person, and acknowledge their pain points. 
  • Manage your discussions in a manner that makes sense to others so you can articulate a path forward that benefits them and benefits you.  
  • Be thankful for those who have sacrificed to protect your freedom.
 
Like my father, I believe God has a purpose for our life. He sees our entire timeline and sometimes gives us the unique opportunities to make a difference or have an impact.
 
Author Neil Postman said, “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” Let that message be one of hope and determination in which good ultimately prevails over evil and join to make sure it does.

"Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see."

- Author Neil Postman

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