Our children make America great

Our children make America great
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There is a lot going on right now. I know that our children know this. I know that our children see this. It’s in plain view. There is a lot of yelling and a lot of division in this country. There are a lot of accusations and a lot of name-calling going on. I know that our children can tell that we as Americans are not at our best. In fact, we’re far from it. We, the adults of America, have let our children down. We haven’t been the example that our children deserve. We haven’t lived up to the expectations that we place on our children. We haven’t been a reflection of what being an American is supposed to mean.

Despite these dark times, our children, our future, haven’t been forgotten. Whether they live on the coasts of this great country or in the great plains, we haven’t deserted them. they matter. We hear them. We see them. It’s their future that we’re fighting for. We will find our way back. But in the meantime, America needs our children to be kind. Kind to their neighbors, kind to their classmates, and kind to those that disagree with them. We need our children to be the example. We need them to do as we say, not as we have done. We need our children to be better than the adults that are leading them.

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There are going to be people in their classes, in their towns, and all across the country that will disagree with them. That’s okay. Challenging each other’s ideas is how we create a stronger country. Life would be pretty boring if everyone agreed, so embrace disagreements. We can disagree without being disagreeable. Let them make their cases, let them explain their beliefs, but most importantly, listen to them. We have enough people in this country talking, but not nearly enough people in this country listening. Our children need to listen to why their fellow Americans feel the way that they feel. Our children need to listen to how their fellow Americans came to their conclusions.

Some of the ideas they hear are going to be right and some of the ideas that they hear are going to be wrong. Some ideas will be smart and others will be misinformed, but the act of listening when someone else speaks teaches our children how to be respectful. It shows them how to engage with their fellow Americans. It shows them how to value differing opinions. At the end of the day, everyone in this country matters. The adults of this country may have forgotten that, but I know that our children won’t.

I know that our children won’t let life jade them and steal away their sense of empathy and compassion. I know that our children won’t let life harden them and convince them that their neighbors are their enemies and that their friends are their foes. They aren’t. Not everyone has the same opportunities or is blessed with the same circumstances, so America needs our to speak up for those who can’t speak up for themselves. How they treat their classmates and how they treat their neighbors is a down payment on our collective future. How they treat some who can do absolutely nothing for them is the ultimate test of character. Our children can learn from our mistakes. We may have forgotten the golden rule, but it doesn’t mean that our children have to. They can treat each other how they would want to be treated. I promise it will pay off in the long run.

America needs our children to be brave. It’s easy to do what the rest of the crowd is doing. It’s easy to do what’s popular or what’s convenient, but that’s not bravery. Bravery is doing what’s unpopular. Bravery is going against the grain. Bravery is doing what’s inconvenient. When our children see an injustice occur, it’s up to them to call it out. When they see someone being mistreated or taken advantage of, it’s up to them to not be silent. When our children see our leaders not living up to their responsibilities or expectations, it’s up to them to be leaders.

Lastly, our words matter. Our children need to think before they speak. They should be deliberate in their words. The words that they speak will have an effect farther and wider than they can ever imagine. Every time that they open their mouths to express themselves, they have the ability to help or hinder progress. They should choose to help. They should choose to rise above the ugliness and the pettiness, rather than succumb to it.

Despite what our children may see on television or what they may hear in their community, America is the greatest country in the world. Not because of any one person, but because of what America represents. America represents liberty, justice and freedom for all. We need our children to never forget those values. We need our children to never allow our detractors to divide or separate us. Most importantly, we need our children to be a reminder to us, the adults, of what being an American looks like.

H.G. Wells famously said, “Once you lose yourself, you have two choices. Find the person you used to be, or lose that person completely.” We as a country are lost right now. As we work on finding our way back, we need the children of America to be our northern star. We need them to be kind, we need them to be brave, and we need them to be thoughtful because that’s what it means to be an American. The adults of this country may have forgotten what matters, but I know that our children won’t. They are the ones who truly make America great.

Michael Starr Hopkins is an attorney and former member of the presidential campaigns of Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaFord taps Obama, Clinton alum to navigate Senate hearing McCaskill to oppose Kavanaugh nomination Presidential approval: It's the economy; except when it's not MORE and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE. He regularly appears on Fox News and CNN to talk about national politics. You can follow him on Twitter @TheOnlyHonest.