Happy 245th Birthday USA. That seems old. In fact, we are much older than some nations-- South Sudan is 10-- but much younger than others -- Egypt, China, Japan, and Greece are thousands of years old. Maybe we are like a teenage nation—perhaps, a good metaphor: We seem to be struggling with who we are as a nation—are we really the united states? We can seem reckless, not paying heed to the dangers around us-- climate change, violence, healthcare cost, inequality. We have high energy, but it may not always be focused to a positive end. We can embrace idealism and yet have times when we stray far from those ideals.
But countries in their early years lack something teenagers have and need—parents and other adults who can guide them with love and wisdom. Where can we get the wisdom to mature as an elder, admired nation? Knowing the history of those nations that once existed and are no longer here can provide insights if we are open to learning. We can also gain wisdom by truly knowing our own history, the good and the bad, and engaging in meaningful self-reflection and inclusive dialogue.
On this Fourth of July Birthday, let’s hope that we can endure and flourish to enjoy sage old age and be a model for those nations that are just beginning their journey.