What would the citizens of Earth do if an asteroid was bearing down upon the planet? If the current situation is any indication, they’d be hoarding, bickering, finger-pointing, trying to take political advantage, and figuring out ways to buy low/sell high on the stock market. No sack-cloth and ashes for this bunch. No sir!

Can you imagine a world without yourself in it? I can. And there is a part of that picture with which I am not pleased. It’s the part where my survivors are cleaning up the mess I left behind. Unused and unuseful material possessions. Complicated business and investment arrangements. Things that only I know how to do, or access, or what to do with once accessed.

Whenever I go to an estate sale, or even a moving sale, I am reminded how much stuff a person can live without – especially when they’re dead. 

Don’t lie to your children. Don’t tell them they can grow up to be anything they want. It’s simply not true. If it were, what would we do with the surplus of firefighters, astronauts, and video game developers? How can “any kid grow up to be president” when there are only 18 presidential elections in the average lifetime?

Instead of asking kids what they dream of becoming, ask them what they are curious about. Cultivate in them a joy of learning new things. See to it that they are rewarded for hard work. Teach them by example – with empathy and compassion. Then don’t worry about their future. Instead of being frustrated by unattainable dreams, they will gradually discover what fascinates them the most, work hard to excel in that field, and use those skills to live a meaningful and impactful life.

Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between affirmation and flattery. Here is my understanding of the difference: Affirmation is a form of wishing a person well. It helps them to see their efforts as constructive and their circumstances as hopeful. Flattery is a means of currying favor by telling a person something that may make them feel good temporarily but is not motivated by genuine concern for their long-term well-being.

There are so many good and noble ideals for which we as both individuals and as a nation should stand. But we are not standing. Why are we not standing? We are not standing because we are leaning – leaning to the left, leaning to the right. You know who it is who leans the most, don’t you? It’s two groups of people playing tug-of-war. They’re all leaning back as hard and strenuously as they can – one team to the left and one team to the right. But tug-of-war, as exciting and adrenaline-producing as it is, never ends well. The losing team gets dragged through the mud. And what happens to the victorious team? Most of the time they end up falling on their butts.

This Independence Day, how about we all try a little less leaning and a lot more standing? Conservatives want liberty. Liberals want justice. How about we stand together for liberty AND justice for all?