Tags: , | Categories: The Science of Think by Chris on 2/3/2011 8:19 PM | Comments (1)


   In the early years of my career as a public speaker and community leader, one of the life challenges I most often observed in people was the challenge they faced in possessing self-awareness. That one stinging question, "Who am I?" would frequently float to the surface during conversation with someone whom I was counseling. Whether they were quite cognizant or not, it was there. The topic itself is a slippery one. It is a subject of multiple layers, each layer leading to the next as the top most layer is carefully (and sometimes painfully) peeled back. 

  The most frequent misconception is that self-awareness is simply, "Knowing what I like or like to do". While that might be a pale facade of what I truly believe is the heart of the matter it in no way "gets us there". The ability to know who you are in some ways is like a gift. While offered to everyone (that's the gift), it still comes at a personal price. It takes years of toil and perseverance to even begin to uncover within yourself who you really are and why you are here. It is one of the grandest journies in life and monumental if you get there. Sadly, in my opinion, many never do. 

  Like individuals, a nation comprised of its people must also know who it is. A confident level of "self-awareness" gives strength and courage, defines the parameters of our future and lubricates the wheels that carry us there. Without it, we're just dead on the tracks. A nation must have an identity to succeed, or continue to succeed and be a mother to us all. I mentioned this in my last article. We're engaged in a culture war in America. I wish it weren't so but to deny it would ironically demonstrate a lack of self-awareness. 

  The United States became a great nation because it rallied itself around a fundamental set of beliefs, a set of beliefs that were common to all men. Those people dedicated their time, fortunes and yes their very lives to their cause. They had seen the tyranny of centralized political power and religious persecution deprive, deprecate and destroy all they held most dear in the land from which they came. And having built for themselves a better life in the colonies realized the precious nature of their state and made the choice to fight for their land, their beliefs, their very way of life. It was the belief that they were a nation with a common language, purpose and faith that bonded them together and made them who they were. They were self-aware. 

"Nationality must precede internationality"  


  The boundaries of that nation were more than just its physical borders. It was also the idea that the land on which they lived should be a land of laws where men could find not only sanctuary but justice, true and timely justice. A place where the government was by the people and for the people and none other. I often spoke to my children as they grew up about these basic lessons. That we live in community because together we are stronger and life is better than if we are divided. There are things you give up but what you receive in return is far greater. Consequently we have laws in our nation. These laws are by the people and for the people. The benefits from living in community are sometimes contrasted by the laws we accept that govern community. While not always a perfect system history has proven it works well.


(to be continued...)