I wish my mom and grandfather (her dad) were alive. There are, of course, many reasons. I miss their passion for life. I miss our vibrant conversations. Mostly, now, they’re on my mind because Flag Day was last week and July 4th is right around the corner. As many of you have heard me say, I joke that I bleed red, white, and blue. It’s primarily because of them and their love for our country. (I miss my dad and grandmother, too, of course.)

I wish I could discuss Eric Metaxas’ new book with them. It would be so encouraging and so much fun! If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty is full of thought provoking important reminders and insights related to the founding of America and the value of liberty.

Do you value America and liberty? Do your kids know you do? Does it matter? Absolutely!

Reading this brilliant book will rekindle or light for the first time a deep care and concern for America. Eric shares why we must care. And, he shares why we must pass our passion on to our children and grandchildren.

Do you know what’s interesting? It’s exactly right now that we must be positive. There are many things about America many of us are concerned about. So, we may talk less about the good. We may become pessimistic. This is dangerous. There are so many quotes I could share. How about this one today?

We must forever refresh ourselves and reclaim our roots, or what was once fresh and green will harden and ossify and die. Those of us who call ourselves Americans have that choice before us today. … [We can be] Americans and fulfilling our duties as such we can prune the thorny punctuation choking her and free her to truly live and breathe. (Page 183)

Values, like one’s love for freedom, liberty, and one’s country, are primarily passed down in families. Or, they should be. Please don’t think you can outsource this to others like you can with piano lessons or soccer coaching.

How did my mom, dad, and grandparents pass down their love for America to my brother and me?

We watched the news and discussed it. Conversations count.

We discussed what we were learning in school. They gave us a broader context for history, geography, and the like. Especially if you homeschool or simply want your older children to have a more passionate understanding of our past and what’s at risk if “we the people” don’t make some changes, read the book with them. Education changes us.

We participated in and then watched July 4th parades together. We cheered for America. I have vivid memories of my brother and me decorating our bikes in red, white, and blue crepe paper when we were young so we could ride in a small parade. Then, when we were older, we gathered with my parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins to watch our city’s parade. After my brother married and had children, they drove down from Madison to Wauwatosa to sit with our grandparents, parents, and other family members to watch the same parade Dave and Debbie watched when they were children. Traditions matter.

We participated in and watched Memorial Day parades and ceremonies at our city’s cemetery. Being aware of the country’s military history and sacrifices makes an impact on children. We learned about local people so it became more personal. Our military is relevant.

Our parents took us on vacations to historical places like Boston and Plymouth Rock, MA, and Washington, DC. We actually toured DC with our aunt, uncle, and cousins so that was extra special. We were privileged and I am grateful. Also, we went to the Black Hills in South Dakota and to many national and state parks. We toured many presidential birth places and libraries. History happened and matters today.

I’ll tell you a secret. My mom liked to cut a small piece of vine from these presidential birth places. My dad kindly wrapped them in wet paper towels which he put in plastic bags. These traveled home with us so they could plant them in a rock garden on the side of our home. It was beautiful.

Maybe taking trips to national parks and historical sites isn’t possible for you. I understand. With your children, you can visit the right websites and watch beneficial DVDs and YouTube videos. Remember, the library is free.

Especially if you’re concerned for the direction America has been going in lately, I hope you’ll find positive reasons to celebrate our history this July 4th. Have a great, safe time and have deep conversations, too.

Remember, If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty may be just the book you need in order to rekindle enthusiasm and hope.