Though, let’s face it, I had lots of red, white and blue outfits and I’m, well, decidedly not conservative. In fact, my family was known for putting on a lovely display of smoke bombs and one time my dad tried to set himself on fire with a little helicopter thing. And despite that, shockingly, I’m rather liberal.
I’d like to think that the red, white and blue shirts, the barbequed chicken, the corn on the cob, the snap-pops, the sparklers, the berry cake, the flags we’ll wave and the fireworks display tonight will not be the deciding factor in their future political decision making.
I’d like to think that they’ll look back on days like today and remember something beautiful about their childhoods. Maybe they’ll remember painting flags. Or eating foods that they liked two days in a row. Or how we let them stay up way, way past their bedtimes so they could chase fireflies in the park while waiting for the fireworks. Or how it was a day for us, as a family.
Do I want them to love our country? Well, yes. Do I want them to tear up a little bit as they hear “God Bless the USA” or even our national anthem? Sure. But I also want them to realize that life is more than politics and debates and we have been afforded the freedom to say so and act as such. The colors on their shirt should no more shape their political beliefs than the size of the fireworks tonight. Growing up in my family, we were taught to believe what we want but know how to back it up. I want the same for my boys.
Maybe someday they’ll be conservative men. Maybe someday they’ll be liberals. Or independents. Or whatever is all the rage in 20 years. But I hope — and pray and wish — it’s less about what they did on the 4th of July and more about what they’ve sorted through in their own hearts, minds and experiences and come to a conclusion on their own. Because that’s what America is about.
Happy 4th of July — no matter how your kids will someday vote!