United we stand, alone we fall. Today we celebrate the freedoms we have been given in the United States of America. Independence Day is a day where we look to the foundations of what built a nation. Today is a day where we reflect on what brought freedom to the American people. This continual pursuit of freedom and happiness is what drives Americans to the belief that all men are created equal. Now, if I asked you today that you hold these values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to be true and that all men are created equal, could you honestly say that you live these values? We must not forget the values that have given us the freedoms we have the privilege of enjoying today! Do you want to live in a United Nation? Are you ready to start leading change for a better tomorrow? If practiced and put into action, we can all start living to a more promising tomorrow, a more promising and united America. Here is the path to a united America. Will you take it?
Realizing we are all imperfect beings
When we talk about the development of a nation or an individual, we know that no one nation or individual is not ever going to be perfect. We have all made countless mistakes in our lives and have stumbled through our development in who we are. I know for me that some of my greatest sufferings or mistakes have humbled me to a point where I have realized that there is a lot more to learn in life. From the loss of a job to the heartbreak of losing a significant other or being financially crippled to a point where I felt defeated, there has always been one positive takeaway I have been able to grow from. These times of suffering teach us a lesson, but it’s up to us to decide to learn from that lesson. When we talk about the people as a nation, we as a people are also not perfect. The journey of developing a nation is a difficult path. Have we made mistakes as a nation? YES! Have we had some significant wins? Of course! Our journeys are often never a straight and happy path to success. We make mistakes! We must have the humility to recognize these mistakes! However, we must never lose sight of our mission, of what our nation’s intentions were in the beginning. These values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness believing that everyone is created equal are what we strive for. It is what unites us all!
Believing that we are all created equal
Let us be honest with ourselves. I want to challenge you today to ask yourself this question, “How have I exemplified my actions to others that I believe that all people are created equal?” I want you to take that question to heart. Be completely honest with yourself when you ask yourself this question. Write it down, internalize it, and embrace the truth of your past actions. Now once you have done this, I want you to ask that same question to five of the people in your life that are closest to you. Are these answers consistent with each other? If not, this may be a sign for you to develop your sense of self-awareness. To grow as people or as a nation, we must truly believe in this core value that everyone is created equal.
Embracing Liberty – The freedom to do as we will
According to the Oxford dictionary, liberty is defined as “The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views.” As we reflect on the history of our nation, have we always embraced liberty? In many ways, yes! We have built a nation where anyone can come to this country and start a business to provide for their families and for those they care for. The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, speech, assembly, and the right to petition. Now, have the people of this nation always followed through with the idea of liberty being a value that they hold to be true, NO! We have seen oppression in almost all forms and areas of life. In our nation’s history, we have seen oppression in the Black or African American communities, women’s rights, Native American communities, and many other oppressed groups. That does not mean the pursuit of liberty and justice for all has been lost. As stated earlier, we are all imperfect beings, and we all make mistakes. It is important to have empathy for others, understand their way of life, and forgive ourselves and others when we falter. We have come a long way in providing liberty for all, but that doesn’t mean we just stop here. This is only the beginning, and we still have much further to go.
The pursuit of happiness – becoming what we were meant for
If we truly embrace liberty or freedom as a nation, we would then be empowered to pursue our dreams of happiness. Let’s be clear, we have the right to pursue our OWN happiness. What we think is happiness for ourselves and what someone else finds as happiness can be two completely different things. If we truly embraced freedom and justice for all, we as a nation would understand that freedom may look different as it relates to each individual. Your path is not the same as someone else’s. So let me ask you this question, “who has the power to make your decisions?” You do! This should give you LIFE! You can create the life you have always wanted! It is not someone else’s job to dictate your life. You have the power to create your own reality! If you want something to change, change it! Find a way! As a nation, we have to ask ourselves, “Are we providing liberty and justice for all to help others pursue happiness?” It starts with empathy. Respect others for who they are. We all have something to connect on. Look for the good in others for others to look for the good in you!
I am proud to be an American! I know that as a nation we have made some mistakes, but that does not mean we cannot all learn from them. You may be reading this as an American citizen, a business owner, a father, a mother, a leader, a politician, a brother, a sister, or possibly you are reading this as someone that just wants to see the best in others, to see a more united nation. All I ask is that you go back to where it all began. What were the core foundational principles of our nation? As a business owner, what were the core principles of why you started your business? As an individual, what have been the principles that made you who you are today? And lastly, as Americans, what keeps us united? Embrace life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with the belief that all are created equal! I believe in our nation, and I believe in you! Happy Independence Day!
Carl currently resides in Wichita, KS where he coaches and consults businesses, community groups, and individuals with Exemplify.