What is a patriot? Do they exist today?
In Webster’s 1828 dictionary it says that the word “patriot” comes from the Latin word “patria” which means “father or native country.” This detailed dictionary also says that a patriot is someone who supports and defends the interests of his country. A patriot is “devoted to the welfare of one’s country.”
As I pondered this definition I wondered how many patriots we really have in our world today. I know that many people profess to be patriots in the United States, but I am not sure they understand the term. Love of country is not enough. To be a patriot a person must be more concerned for the welfare of the country than for his own welfare or life.
Certainly there are many military men and women who are patriots and religiously serve the interests of their countries meaning they do what they are told to do and risk their lives following the orders of the country. But, many of those soldiers aren’t always sure that what they are doing is really in the best interest of their country. They are often concerned about the principles behind the orders.
Consider this. The majority of people today make decisions based on what they feel would benefit them most. They want free money, benefits, privileges, and freedom, but they don’t necessarily want responsibility to their countries or neighbors. Have you noticed this?
What is in the best interest of our country? If we want to be patriots we must consider this question instead of concerning ourselves with what would be in our best interest. When I have asked myself this question I have come up with many answers. Most of my answers involve applying a principle, a truth, or honoring the divine nature of people and their roles in the family.
So, what can one person do to help their country get what is in its best interest?
The word interest means concern. So, how do we show concern? Many people would tell us that if we are patriots we would stop sharing our opinions and just silently watch the government do what it is going to do. This is not patriotism. Patriotism is saying something, showing concern and looking out for what best concerns the country.
How can we show more concern?
One thing we can all do is raise our children with the truth about patriotism. We can teach them what patriots do and set the example by getting involved.
I will never forget the time the BBC came to our home to filmThe World’s Strictest Parentsprogram. During this program the film crew watched our family say the pledge to our flag and sing our national anthem each day. I asked them if they wanted to singGod Save The Queenbut they didn’t want to. In fact, they admitted that they didn’t know it. All the camera crew and both the British teens didn’t know their national anthem. This surprised me. After asking why, they confided in me that people in their country aren’t patriotic. They told me the people just really didn’t care about government stuff and didn’t think their country was any more special than any other country. In fact, one person told me that it was egotistical to think that their country was so special. They thought Americans were a little fanatic about patriotism I think. This view of that part of the world was eye opening to me.
Since speaking at the United Nations I have recognized that most people are more worried about the world than they are about their own countries. People think global now days. The world has become smaller because of the internet.
So, does patriotism really matter? Yes, more than ever, we need to be people who look out for our country, because there are many people who aren’t looking out for it who should be. In fact, looking out for the individual has become so important that the country is often only seen as the means to a personal agenda for most government officials now days.
Teach The Children About Patriotism
Patriotism has historically been a basic of education. People who know, honor and love their country are people who have great impact no matter their chosen profession or economic status later in life. People who know the stories of their country and it’s founders are people who understand their missions in life. Studying the founding of America and the stories of the past is not happening in many classrooms around the countries. Teach your children these things at home. Read them the stories of patriots from the classics.
When you and your children come face to face with the great men and women who made the United States what it is today they will be one step closer to becoming the person who God intended them to be at this time in history too.
Studying history today changes tomorrow.
Have a Happy 4th of July!