Tuesday, February 8, 2011

To be an American

Jacob had to write a paper for one of his classes about what it means to be an American. I was glad to hear that a teacher was making the students think about it, because over the past few years, I have wondered if anybody really knows, including me. We are as heterogeneous a nation as there has probably ever been, and that leads to greatness as well as discord. What Jacob and I discussed last night is that it is beyond being born in America or being a naturalized citizen that makes an American. We decided that perhaps it includes a respect of the past including the American Indians, our Native people, the way of life our American forefathers determined for us to have, and the ordeals of the adventurous settlers. It also includes having a proper understanding of the law and the freedoms we are allowed to have and express - as long as we don't violate the freedom of others. That being an American doesn't have anything to do with what we have but who we are; that we value what we have here and desire to contribute to our home, cities, and nation in a positive and meaningful way. Much more could be added to the list, but that's a start. I hope lots of teens are mulling this over in other classes, and that it will contribute to a strong American society.

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