First Families of the US

Today I’m thinking about the 4th of July, Independence Day here in the USA. Of course I’m thinking about the topic of freedom and all things red, white and blue, but what I want to talk about today is the men, women and children who were part of the creation and building of the country so many people call home. The people who first came over to the US were met with an almost blank slate, which was kind of the point of moving from Britain to the US. They wanted the chance to do things their way, to make the future for their children different than it was going to be if they stayed in Britain. I think in many ways the same is true for us today, I don’t want the children of our world today growing up and having children in a world that has so much violence and discrimination. I want them to live in a world that they can really prosper in and feel safe going out of their homes. But just like those early settlers, this will take some work.

One of the things that made a huge difference for those early families were the Native Americans that already inhabited the US. They knew the terrain, the plants, the animals and what worked best here, in a place that was different than the settlers were used to in Britain. Both parties had to learn to work together, and as you probably know from your history classes there were mixed results, with the settlers ending up with the better end of the deal for the most part. But the point is that as much as the settlers came to the US to do their own thing, they had to be willing to ask for help from those who already knew all about what they were starting.

One of the things that always amazes me about these early families is their courage. They didn’t know really what they were getting into, and I’m sure that each and every one of them experienced doubts at some point in time, but they persisted and didn’t give up. History also shares with us the failures of those early families, but they continued to endure and as a result we’re here today. One of the reasons they may have stuck around as well as succeeded is because they weren’t aiming for immediate perfection and achievement of their goals, they knew it would take some time to get close to what they wanted (colonies started in the 1500’s but the Declaration wasn’t signed until 1776).

What about your family? Have the challenges and experiences you’ve had as a family brought you together or pushed you apart? Yes, sometimes the separation is the best thing, but often we’re pushed apart because we’re too proud to admit we’re wrong, lazy to do the work to make the relationship healthy again or we’ve let our differences get in the way of our similarities.  I encourage you to take a good look at your family this week and decide if it’s time to mend the fences or take a more permanent step away.

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