The Greatest Time To LiveNov 04, 2022
These have been some hard times. We've had "unprecedented" experiences (anyone else with me and tired of hearing that word?). Lives, especially childhoods, families and traditions have been disrupted. And probably most importantly, lots of freedoms threatened and lost. Dealing with all that and knowing harder times might be ahead, can leave us feeling like we have it harder than generations past. But, did you know this is the greatest time to live?
That's right, with all we've been through, and maybe even more coming, we are so blessed to live today! I am an optimist by nature, but even I can struggle to find the hope. A recent talk in this year's Thomas Jefferson Education Convention by Rachel DeMille, had me in tears, then filled my heart with hope and joy.
Rachel began by discussing a letter her grandmother wrote in 1963 about her life. She was born in the late 1800's and lived through both World Wars, the Depression, and the Korean War. In fact, at the time of writing, she was months away from the Kennedy assassination and on the verge of Vietnam a few years later. Literally, thinking about all of that struggle, sacrifice and suffering, had me in tears already.
Rachel shared how during the Depression, her grandmother thought she and her family were rich. She told how every year her grandmother got shoes for Christmas and every once in a while, they would have bread with butter made from their own cow's milk and sprinkled with sugar. That, to this little girl, defined wealth.
Then, I thought about my own grandparents. They were both born in 1927 in Honolulu, Hawaii, to poor Chinese parents. With both dad's having run off, and being small children during the Depression, they watched Japanese planes fly overhead in the attack on Pearl Harbor and experienced the chaos after. Then, being too young for the draft into WWII, my grandfather finally enlisted into the Air Force and patched airplanes. He retired from the military and worked the same job on base as civil service. They lived until 2015/2016 in their mid 80's. Through all they experienced, they were some of the most grateful people you'd ever meet. They were generous and always made sure there was plenty of food for everyone.
The truth is that every generation has hardships. Every generation suffers and sacrifices. Ours is not unique in that way. But when those hardships come, it's a time to shrink back down to essentials. It is the time to minimize schedules, routines, stuff, and people. Time to clear out the fluff and focus on what's true and important. It requires us to simplify.
I can't tell you after a few months of schools shutting down, how many parents I heard say, "I actually kinds of like it. It's tough, but it's really allowed us to spend time together and get to know each other again." Hardship comes with an opportunity to renew family relationships, priorities and our convictions. Isn't that a great time to live?
Also, tough times require more of us. You know the saying that "struggle shows you who you really are?" It's true. It shows your strengths and puts a magnifying glass on your weaknesses. But it's an opportunity for growth! It's a time to shore up our weaknesses, and get stronger.
These kind of days remind us to become more independent; and that's hard. Changing isn't easy, but it is worth it. We have to remind ourselves that we CAN! We can get less dependent on things, people, businesses, systems and government. That means something different for everyone, but it's a good time to learn new skills, get a Great Education and provide that quality learning for our kids, make new friendships, get more involved in our community (whatever community you have or can create), and think creatively. And creative thinking is fun! That's a great time to be alive!
In that thought, this is the time to figure out how to use our unique talents and gifts to improve the world. And by pursuing that mission, you promote freedom! We get to raise our kids with that idea and show them through our example. We get to really work on our legacy and the legacy of freedom. How exciting!
I can't think of a greater time to be alive! Yes, times are tough and maybe they'll get tougher. But we'll rise to the challenge, lay the foundation for the next generation and inspire them through our example. Change doesn't take everyone, but it does take someone.
I'm excited to live in this time. I'm excited to be in your corner and have you in mine. I'm excited for the future we get to fight for, because it's worth it. You'll never feel more alive than when in the hunt for something great, and this is the greatest time to don our shields and move the train of society and freedom forward!
See you in the hunt!