There are some today who are down on America because of the present difficult conditions in our country. They believe that life in America should always be easy and prosperous, and when things get tough, they want to complain.

But those who believe that the history of America has always been a soft bed of roses and that most all before us have had an easy road – these folks are sorely mistaken. In fact, to the contrary – studies of our U.S. history show quite clear the substantial difficulties and hardships we have faced in our nation, and have overcome.

But, here’s the question – what part does each of us play today? What part must each of us play today to help keep America great? And is it all just about getting up every day and going to work?

Actually no, the greatness of America or any nation is not just about work or vocation – it’s more about this ideal of virtue. Now that’s certainly not a word we hear much today, but our founding fathers believed that virtue in our America was a necessity for our success as a nation.

But just what is virtue?

According to Webster’s Dictionary, virtue is the “characteristic of promoting the collective wellbeing of society; and that our virtues actually originate from our inner most thoughts and desires.” Simply said, to successfully function in this world today, each individual must have a deeply rooted core of underlying values that drive and direct who we are.

And here’s the interesting part of virtue – our virtues are most often not tried or tested during easy times in our lives. In fact, it is actually quite the opposite.

I recently came across the writings of Abigail Adams, the wife of our second U.S. President, John Adams, and one of her quotes certainly caught my attention. Regarding virtue, Abigail Adams said this:

“It is not in the calm still of life that great characters are formed – it is the great necessities of life that call out great virtues.”

Abigail Adams wrote these words over 200 years ago when people spoke a little differently, so her words may be a little hard to follow, but in our own way of speaking today, this is what Mrs. Adams was saying:

“When life is easy; when you are safe and peaceful and secure in your circumstance; that is not the place where great character is formed. It is only during times of great hardship and difficulty that you grow in character and learn who you truly are inside.”

And, believe me, Abigail Adams knew much about hardship and difficulty and challenge, so she was speaking from a position of authority.

The message here?

Let us work hard, let us strive to grow and prosper in our work, but let us realize that our greatness is not in our labor or our economy or our vocation; our strength as a person, as a nation, is in our ideals, our character, our virtues.

And great virtues come from circumstances of great necessity. Therefore,

let us see hardship not as a wall to block us from moving forward, but as a series of steps in a stairway to take us to a higher level in our lives.

And this is my prayer today for our America –

 that our present hardships as a nation, as a people – that they make us a better people – the great and good America that we should be.

Don’t Stop Praying!

I am a story teller. Since 1998, I have been telling the true stories of our nation and those Americans gone before us.  To say the least, these stories have been well received by Americans, both young and old.  So, here’s where the stories have taken me.  In 1998, I was broadcasting my stories on just one radio station in Washington State.  Today, from Texas 15 years later, these programs are now broadcast through a syndicated radio network to over 400 radio stations all across America, with literally millions of listeners.

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“The Most Famous Tea Party in History”

    We’ve all heard of the Boston Tea Party, but few really know just what happened. The year was 1763 and Great Britain had just ended a war known as the “Seven Years War”, and this war had driven the British government so deep into debt that a series of tax laws were passed to help pay that debt – and these laws made their way to America.

Now, the way the colonists saw it was that they had no say or representation in their national government, and, therefore, Parliament had no right to tax them. This is where the saying came from, “no taxation without representation”.

Well, in 1766, Parliament passed what is called the “Declaratory Act”. This act gave the British government the authority to legislate the laws and rules for the American colonies, and in all cases the government had the final authority.

So, colonist groups began to organize at the grassroots level and they formed patriotic clubs and organizations known as the “Sons of Liberty”. They would use these club meetings to talk through their unfair circumstances and they began to send delegates and representatives to the British leaders to try and convince them that what they were doing was not for the good of the people. But the British government had their own ideas as to what was best for the people, so most of the time they would not even listen.

Starting to sound a little too familiar?

    So as the different Liberty groups in each city began to form and grow, they found themselves linking up with other city groups causing them to become bolder in their speaking out. In the City of Boston there was a famous elm tree where the Sons of Liberty would meet. This tree came to be known as the “Liberty Tree” and it became a rallying point for the growing colonist resistance against the British rule. Soon each city and community began to pick their own liberty tree as a meeting spot as a symbol of their individual liberty. As these liberty groups began to me in large numbers and the attendance began to grow, in their attempt to stop these meetings, the British government ordered that holding any meetings not authorized by the government was against the law. So, the Sons of Liberty members began to meet in secret.

Well, the struggle continued between the colonists and the British government with more and more laws being enacted. What seemed to be the final straw was that in 1773, a new act, the “Tea Act” was passed, placing a heavy tax on all tea transported to the colonies. Shortly after the Tea Act was passed, a number of ships entered Boston Harbor carrying on board hundreds of thousands of pounds of tea. When the local liberty group heard of the ship’s arrival, they sent a message to the ship’s captain not to unload the tea because they would not pay that tax. But the local British authorities would not budge, so there sat the three ships in Boston Harbor.

Now no one knows for sure who really planned that “tea party” or who the real leaders were, but one night somewhere between 30 and 130 Men thinly disguised as Indians boarded the three ships and, over the course of three hours, dumped all the tea into the harbor – this dumping of that tea became known as the “Boston Tea Party”. Interestingly enough, later that Tea Act was actually repealed, but the damage had already been done, and the people had determined that their government would not listen to them – and they began to move for independence.

So, here’s my question for you, “Are the events in our lives which make us wake up and act – are they good or bad?” It was patriot, Edmund Burke, who said, “He who wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skills; our antagonist is our helper”.

But this one thing we do know – if the British government had not pushed the colonists too far, well, today, we might still be speaking with a British accent.

And one last thought, “What should “We The People” be doing today if we feel we are not being heard?

And are mere protests enough? You tell me.

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