As we celebrate the Fourth of July, I am called to think about how our nation was established. I have also been thinking about how we all act out of our own self-interest and the great drive, born of self-interest that was responsible for forming our nation. We act on our beliefs, our values, and what will help us achieve our personal goals, but we need to also make sure that we act in an enlightened way. How are the goals that we pursue, and the methods we choose, going to work in the community and country where we live? How do our decisions affect others?
Historically, we acted on beliefs and made records to prove it.
Our Declaration of Independence starts with:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal
Our Constitution starts with:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
As we move through our lives today, are we thinking about what we should do to strengthen our communities? Are we acting on the belief that all people are created equal and in what way, how are we promoting the general welfare?
Liberty continues to be sought here in the US and around the world. In America, while we are largely free, we continue to struggle to get it right.
The United States has challenges. All people are not treated equally. The infrastructure is in need of attention (bridges, roads…). Our nation is spending more on health care than any other country, but we are not healthier.
We do have assets though, something to work with. We are able to freely debate, openly collaborate, and communicate honestly without reprisal. Everyone’s self-interest can be balanced with the interest of the community. We have the privilege to challenge ourselves, take bold steps, and move toward the liberty we say we want.
In the last year at KenCrest, a teenager named Tay went home. Having spent 14 years of his life with us, his dream of a forever family came true. Tay uses a wheelchair, has limited use of his hands, and needs a respirator to breathe at night. But that did not stop Tay or those who support him from pursuing the dream of liberty. I learned this week that his family figured out how to help him walk the dog. When I see fireworks this year, I will think they will celebrate him and his family and their amazing accomplishment.
Our dreams for liberty come in all sizes, and all of them are important.
Next week, we will start to roll out our strategic plan. It is a document and a commitment to do our part in strengthening our communities, working with a sense of obligation to others, grow and wisely use our financial resources, and embrace the entrepreneurial spirit that started our organization. In his inauguration speech as President, John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” When you learn about our strategic plan, I will ask you that question: What can you do to bring that plan to life?
So, now I am asking myself again and inviting you to answer that question as well – what can we all do to bring the collective plan of liberty to life for all?
We wish you all a Happy Fourth of July.