Bring on the picnics, parades, and fireworks—it’s time for our nation’s annual celebration of faith! July Fourth marks one of the world’s great acts of faith when a bold group of American patriots signed their names to the Declaration of Independence and risked everything for the dream of a free and just society. Of course, their faith would be tested. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave.” But faith is about hanging on even in the hardest of times.
This Independence Day we’ll be paying a whole lot more for everything from the hot dogs to the watermelon to the gas for the family car. Prices and unemployment are up while housing values and consumer confidence have fallen. In these challenging economic times, we can all use some faith from the Founding Fathers. Their vision created a new society, and if anyone has ever faced a challenge it was these courageous men (and the women who loved and supported them!) Here’s what they have to tell us:
- Have faith in yourself. The first thing the Founders shared in abundance was faith in themselves. They not only believed in their common cause, they trusted themselves to achieve it. Only with faith in ourselves can we reach our goals. Build on your knowledge and your ability. Invest in yourself. As Benjamin Franklin said, “He who pours his purse into his head will always be rich.”
- Have faith in our country. Whatever George Washington said to his freezing, starving troops at Valley Forge convinced them to fight on. Today Washington’s statue looks down on Wall Street, and he is probably still saying, “Hang in there!” We are still the country people around the world look upon as a place of economic strength, opportunity, and security. Being grateful for what we already have will help us move forward with confidence and hope.
- Have faith in the future. Thomas Jefferson said he liked “the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” The Founders invested in the future with everything they had, and they were big on responsible money management. Ben Franklin preached the value of saving, and Jefferson called upon every generation to pay its debts as it goes. The road ahead is truly what we make it. And that’s exactly what the Founding Fathers had in mind—a new beginning for all of us to create the future we dream of for ourselves and our families.
Have a hopeful and faithful Fourth!