So if you have been reading my blog for a while then you know that my thoughts are often turned towards the history of the United States and its current circumstances. Anyone who has had more than a five minute conversation with me knows how difficult it is for me to NOT talk about politics. American History and current events are some of my passions. Since I feel so strongly about it, I feel especially driven to teach my children about those things as well. They don’t need to love it as I do, and they don’t need to be as actively involved as I am, but they DO need to know why it matters and why it is important to me: Because they WILL inherit our country’s problems and they need to be in a position to help solve them.
How do you teach The Constitution to your kids? With literature of course :)
What Would The Founding Fathers Think is a book written for pre-teen and teenagers that explains the morals and principles that the United States was founded on. The author, David Bowman, is more widely known for his Expressions of Christ paintings, and he is as inspiring with the pen as he is with the brush. Using works such as the speeches from The Constitutional Convention, The Federalist Papers, the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville, and selected writings from the presidents; we get to see The Constitution in context and learn of the full vision that the Founders had for this country.
Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and James Madison travel through time in Franklin’s Fantastic Future Forecaster to see how the fruits of their labors are being used in our time (and now you understand the expressions on their faces in the picture above). As most students of The Constitution would imagine, they are a little… unnerved by what they see. Deciding to take matters into their own hands, the trio use the wonders of modern technology to teach our youth about what makes this country so different. The first half of the book focuses on the principles that our country were founded upon. The second half focuses on how abandoning those principles has turned everything upside down.
Once I started reading What Would The Founding Fathers Think to my children I couldn’t stop. I’m not a huge fan of reading out loud (I stutter when reading) but while reading this my articulation handicaps were cast aside. It’s written in a conversational tone and my children loved the modern language and texting terms thrown in (I may or may not have thrown in a few valley girl and ska8er boy voices). The Founders tell us all about the principles of freedom and what is necessary to keep it. In addition to the on-going conversation, there are little known facts about history, civics, and more (did you know that Benjamin Franklin thought a turkey would be a better national bird?). Bowman explains the foundations of freedom in easy to understand ways. How do you explain that morals and values are tools for achieving freedom and not barriers to it? Why is it important to define exactly what powers are delegated to the government? How is generosity a necessary aspect of retaining a small and limited government? The stories, analogies, and real life examples in this book explain these in such a way that my ten year old was able to understand and explain it back to me. I thought the analogies were especially brilliant! You can buy a signed copy directly from David Bowman or a regular, boring, non-signed copy on Amazon.com :)
What would it be like if everyone stopped looking outside of themselves to fix the problems that surround us these days? As soon as you start looking to someone “bigger and stronger” to solve our societal ills you wash your hands of your sacred duty. What would it be like if everyone focused on fixing themselves and the problems in their own home before they judged others and the problems in theirs? We can’t take care of what is going on in The White House until we take care of what is going on in OUR house.
I highly recommend What Would The Founding Fathers Think to parents and budding patriots (Lucy is rereading it as we speak). Our children are going to inherit our problems in just a few short years and they need to be prepared. Once you teach them the value of self-governance and freedom they will forever be a defender of liberty.