The American landscape has changed drastically since I played chip-up baseball with Johnny Senger, Ray “Ping” Connors, the Filio brothers, and a handful of other future big-leaguers from nearby neighborhoods on the vacant lot behind the swamp next to our house on West Housatonic Street.  Kids don’t do that anymore.

America has been far from appealing in recent months.  I am disturbed, and the media continues to add fuel to the vitriolic fire.  That’s my bad news.  Here’s the good…

In these bad times when my spirit is bludgeoned to the point of losing faith, my grandchildren rise in their own special ways to show me the future of America WILL BE IN GOOD HANDS.

Francis of Assisi prayed

“Where there is doubt, let me sow faith.”

Whether or not my grandchildren know Francis’s special prayer, they exemplify it.

Two months ago on May 4, we posted “Making Lincoln Smile” in response to 13-year-old grandson Rome’s essay “Improving Society: a Criticism of the US Government.”  The young man is a thinker and expresses himself well.

Xylia

Once again as political unrest and uncertainty whirl around us, my 13-year-old granddaughter Xylia “sows faith to dispel her Dziadek’s doubt.”  I learned yesterday that her essay “The Greatness of America” has made its way up the food chain and through the editorial process, and Xy will receive a $125 award at the flag-raising ceremony in her local community during the July 4th celebration.

In her essay, Ms. Kraay cites the evolution of American freedom through sacred document like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and its Amendments.  She concludes,

“America is free, and you have the freedom to choose your path, just as Dr. Seuss wrote, ‘You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.’  Everyone in the United States has the right to choose her own path. We can be who we want to be, we have the freedom to put in the effort to accomplish anything.”

As I face my doubts, my granddaughter sows faith with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

She is wise to share Dr. King’s timely advice, and she joins her cousin Rome in making Lincoln smile when she quotes our 16th President who sagely tells us, “I walk slowly, but I never walk backwards.”

I read my granddaughter’s award-winning essay with great pride.  Indeed, she lifted my spirits in this time of my doubt.  “What makes America great?” she asks and answers,

“Americans have freedom and rights. America is a just society.

“We are a community.

“We are a family.

“We are America.”

Young people are our future. To ignore them and those things important to them would be a mistake. To encourage them to strive to better the world and those who occupy it with them is our obligation.

Mitakuye Oyasin

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  1. I saw a poll recently that said less than 50% of Americans are proud of America. One thing about spiritual movement is that if I am not moving forward, I am going backward. There is no middle ground for apathy.