There are a lot of things that we grow up believing that we find out later are not true. As a kid, if someone asked you what color water is, you might have said blue. But as you got older, you came to understand that water isn’t actually blue; it just looks blue when it’s in a large body like a lake or the ocean.
Maybe when you were growing up you thought that rich people were all selfish and greedy, until later when you got to be friends with someone wealthy and you realized that rich people, just like poor people, come in all types, good and bad. A lot of people are conditioned to believe that getting good grades and going to college is the surefire recipe for success in life. Some of those same people are unemployed right now with a PhD and wondering how they got that wrong.
We grew up having our minds shaped to believe a certain sets of beliefs that don’t always serve us well. Have you ever had a conversation with someone where by the time you were done they had challenged your thinking? Made you question the sets of beliefs that you held to be true your entire life? Did you feel a bit uncomfortable? Did you in the back of your mind want to still believe what you’ve believed all of your life? Why is that? Well, again, it’s because we grew up thinking that “the water is blue” because it was the easiest answer to believe.
A good friend of mind visited me a while back and the topic of faith came up. I asked him what his beliefs on God are and he told me that he’s an atheist. I asked him how he came to that belief. He didn’t really have a response. He was anticipating for me to invite him to church and encourage him to read the Bible. My suggestion to him was to go read and ask questions and actively seek out the answers. That way, even if he came out an atheist in the end, he would know why he believed that way. Thomas Jefferson once said “Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”
I think too many of us still believe water is blue because of what our teachers or coaches or even some relatives told us. I firmly believe that one reason our nation is in trouble is because the younger generation is spending more time on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TV, and video games and less time reading books. Aristotle once said: “All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind are convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth”.
If Generations X and Y don’t take the time to study history and politics, imagine what the next generation will look like. The history of America will be forgotten. Americans need to study history. That means knowing where this country game from, why our government was designed the way it was. Reading history teaches us the lessons from all the generations before us. Paying attention to current events lets us apply those lessons from history to what’s going on around us. Most importantly, educating yourself allows you to discover if you were right about the water being blue. Sometimes in life we take the easy or convenient answer rather than doing our homework to find out if what we believe is true.
I love this country just like you do. I want to contribute to it and do my share for what America has offered me and my family. I used to think that one person can’t make a difference. Then I realized it isn’t hundreds of people who change our lives; it’s usually two or three. I would encourage all of us to be someone’s “two or three”. Let others challenge your thinking and you challenge theirs. The truth comes out when you do your homework and allow your way of thinking to be challenged. The only way we can see whether the water is really blue is to put it in a glass and look at it up close. Make sure that what you believe is based on truth. Question your beliefs by honestly seeking answers. For answers to questions of faith, politics, or anything important, “seek and ye shall find”.