I am convinced that America’s only chance to retain its freedoms and individualist spirit is if the message of their importance is passed on to the next generation via the culture.
These days our education system, media and political conversation are dedicated to themes that are largely concerned with what will best benefit the collective. Little time is spent on touting the value of a system that allows each individual to utilize their unique strengths, and showing how that system actually has proven to be the most beneficial way to contribute to the whole society.
Now it seems so much time is dedicated to unfairness. There is a battle over which group is victimized by our system the most. Instead of competition to develop the best products, services and ideas, much competition is focused on a goal of how best to game the system. How can we get something for nothing?
Decades ago, when I was a child, there was a much bigger emphasis on personal responsibility. We learned that in America there was great possibility, but you, as an individual, had to put in the effort. We also were taught that equal opportunity was not a guarantee of success; we were taught to try and try again.
Movies, songs, books and society did celebrate those who achieved as individuals and helped others along the way. Maybe we can turn things around if we just start encouraging members of the next generation to “reach for the stars” instead of urging them to look for someone to blame for their misfortunes.
Sure, the phrase “reach for the stars” is old-fashioned, but don’t let the idea behind it become a relic of the past – a freer past, where individuals could “blaze their own path”.
Here are a few books I have recently come across that may help us wade into the culture waters and send a rippling message of freedom and individualism to the next generations. Conservative Childrens Books also lists a variety of books in a reading range from pre-school to high school. The books cover the U.S. Constitution, economics, and other subjects that instill values and rekindle the patriotic spirit.
1. "Excuse Me, Professor: Challenging the Myths of Progressivism." By Lawrence W. Reed (Regnery Publishing).
This book contains more than 50 essays that debunk progressive clichés. It would be a great high school graduation gift.
2. "Who Built That: Awe-Inspiring Stories of American Tinkerpreneurs." By Michelle Malkin (Threshold Editions/Mercury Ink).
This book highlights innovators who thought outside the box and worked hard to make their ideas reality. It demonstrates how capitalism has raised our standard of living with creations of everyday items we take for granted.
3. "Striker Jones: Elementary Economics for Elementary Detectives." By Maggie M. Larche.
This book explores basic economic principles via short mysteries in settings kids are familiar with.
4. "Founders’ Fables." By Laurie Cockerell. (Kinderfable Press).
Ten simple fables that address the concept of limited government through funny and memorable characters. Each story, written in rhyme, begins with a quote from one of our founders.
5. "Coming to America: A Young Girl Struggles to Find her Way in a New World." By yours truly.
This book demonstrates the power of a never-give-up attitude. It follows a young teen’s journey as she struggles to not only live in America, but to be American.
6. "Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood." By Valerie Pfundstein. (Pfun-omenal Stories)
A wonderful book for parents and grandparents to share with youngsters to tell them that freedom is not free, and many heroes that have protected their freedoms may be their neighbors.
Diana Erbio is a freelance writer who lives on Long Island. She is a regular contributor to Association for Mature American Citizens. Diana recently published a book, "Coming to America: A Girl Struggles to Find her Way in a New World."
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