Real Leaders…Serve the Lord

Real Leaders are ordinary people with Extraordinary Determination John Seaman GarnsReal Leaders…what are they? Do they have to be famous? What characteristics do they all have?

I believe that the best of the best – those who leave their footprint on this world in a way that resonates throughout the eternities are those who live their lives as directed by their hearts.

What does your heart tell you? Does it speak to a certain calling? Does it call you to a certain work?

I believe that as we listen to our hearts, our hearts will speak to of us our purpose. We all are meant to lead in our own way. That doesn’t mean we have to be world famous or even the best educated. It does mean we have to be willing to listen and then follow through with our “heart directives”.

I challenge you to listen to your heart today and take note of what it tells you! Just think about the difference Mother Teresa made in this world because she listened to her heart! I hope you enjoy the 20 Facts about Mother Teresa!

20 Facts about Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is a household name for her good works, but many people don’t know much about her beyond “nun who helped the poor.” Here are 20 facts about Mother Teresa.

1. Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born Aug. 26, 1910, in Macedonia to a financially comfortable Albanian family (they owned two houses, one of which they lived in). Her father died when she was 8, ending her family’s financial security.

2. Agnes was fascinated with missionaries from an early age, and by 12 she knew that she would commit herself to a religious vocation.

3. When she was 18, Agnes left home and joined the Sisters of Loreto in Rathfarnham, Ireland.

4. Although she lived to be 87, she never saw her mother or sister again after the day she left for Ireland.

5. After a year learning English in Ireland, Agnes transferred to the Sisters of Loreto convent in Darjeeling, India.

6. She took her vows as a nun in 1931, choosing the name Teresa to honor Saints Therese of Lisieux and Teresa of Avila.

7. Therese of Lisieux, the patron saint of Australia, is also the patron of missionaries, florists and AIDS sufferers, among others. Spain’s patron saint, Teresa of Avila, is also the patron of religious orders and lacemakers.

8. Sister Teresa began teaching history and geography in Calcutta at St. Mary’s, a high school for the daughters of the wealthy. She remained there for 15 years and enjoyed the work, but was distressed by the poverty she saw all around her.

9. In 1946 Teresa traveled to Darjeeling for a retreat. It was on that journey that she realized what her true calling was: “I heard the call to give up all and follow Christ into the slums to serve him among the poorest of the poor.”

10. It took two years of preparation before she was able to begin doing the work she felt compelled to do. She needed to receive permission from the Sisters of Loreto to leave the order – while retaining her vows – as well as permission from the Archbishop of Calcutta to live and work among the poor. She also prepared by taking a nursing course.

11. In 1948 Sister Teresa set aside her nun’s habit – adopting instead the simple sari and sandals worn by the women she would be living among – and moved to a small rented hovel in the slums to begin her work.

12. Teresa’s first year in the slums was particularly hard. She was used to a life of comparative comfort, and now she had no income and no way to obtain food and supplies other than begging. She was often tempted to return to convent life, and had to rely on her determination and faith to get herself through it.

13. One of her first projects was to teach the children of the poor – drawing on her experience with teaching the children of the rich. She didn’t have any equipment or supplies this time, but she taught them to read and write by writing in the dirt with sticks.

14. In addition to promoting literacy, Teresa taught the children basic hygiene. She visited their families, inquiring about their needs and helping provide for them when she could.

Mother Teresa

15. Word began to spread about Mother Teresa’s good works, and soon she had other volunteers wanting to help. By 1950 she was able to start the Mission of Charity – a congregation dedicated to caring for “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone.”

16. She went on to open a hospice for the poor, a home for sufferers of leprosy, and a home for orphans and homeless youths.

17. Mother Teresa was honored with many awards throughout her life, from the Indian Padma Shri in 1962 to the inaugural Pope John XXIII Peace Prize in 1971 to Albania’s Golden Honour of the Nation in 1994… and, most famously, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

18. She refused the traditional Nobel honor banquet, instead requesting that the $192,000 budget be given to help the poor of India.

19. She continued her work with the poor for the rest of her life, leading the Missionaries of Charity until just months before her death Sept. 5, 1997.

20. After being beatified in 2003, Mother Teresa was canonized on Sep. 4, 2016. In a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis declared her a saint, yet noted, “With great spontaneity, I think we will continue to call her Mother Teresa.”

Today’s facts about Mother Teresa were shared from the following website: http://www.legacy.com/news/explore-history/article/20-facts-about-mother-teresa

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Living an Inspired Life

As soon as you seek to Inspire others, it Inspires the best in you Brendon Burchard

I don’t know that I can adequately explain why, but ever since my near-death experience, I have been entranced by the influence of simple acts. Think of a small pebble being thrown into a calm lake and the ripples that extend from the spot at which the pebble enters into the water – how can you quantify the influence of that small pebble?

Today’s story resonates with me. I, too, have had those experiences in which just a small kind act of a stranger has made all the difference in the world.

I remember the day after my father died. I had to run to the store. I had visited that store many times. Yet, as I wandered the aisles, it was a different world that I lived in. My world had been changed as my father had taken his last breath. My world would never be the same. I wondered how many of the strangers that surrounded me in the store could sense my loss. I guessed that my loss was invisible to those around me. And I wondered, how many times had I been that stranger in the store – oblivious to the loss or devastation that someone in my circle of influence had experienced? How many times could a little more patience or warm smile have helped a stranger in need?

Could there be a chance for me to spread love and light every time I enter the doors of my local supermarket? What about the help team I access online? Could my sincere gratitude for their help make their day – even if it is their job to provide me with that help?

I am going to make a conscious effort to be more kind, to smile more, and to exercise more patience. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Please enjoy today’s story as I did!:

Love is in the Moment  By Annie

It was early morning, yet already it had been a stupendously bad day. One thing after another. The downward spiral continued when a large pitcher of orange juice slid from my hands and smashed to the floor.Glass and sticky juice spewed to the farthest corners of the kitchen, slithering down cabinets and appliances, puddling at my feet.

Stunned, I looked at the mess. Then I dropped dejectedly down to the floor, my eyes filling with overdue tears. The tears came from begrudging and angry acceptance that “today is just not my day.”

Bad day or not, errands had to be done. Filled with angst and negative mental baggage, I got in my car to drive into town. In the few minutes it took to travel to the bank I made a decision. I would be careful not to pass my bad day off to anyone else. I would be cordial and polite. And I would NOT retaliate when that harried driver pulled quickly and rudely in front of me causing me to slam on my breaks, dumping the contents of my drink onto the front car seat!

Standing in line at the bank, I was silently talking to myself. Actually, I was scolding myself. All of the events that had accumulated and contributed to my bad day were, in reality, so very minor and trivial. I was over-reacting. I was indulging in self-pity. I tried to imagine the innumerable, individual lives that had been affected by 9/11, by war, by hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.

For the second time that day my eyes filled with tears as I realized how disconnected I felt from all those individuals who are trying to cope with truly traumatic events in their lives. They all seemed so distant and unknowable, and this justified and intensified my belief that I was being self-centered and selfish. I was sure that all my efforts to be a caring and loving person were for naught.

A voice broke through my mental distractions. Somehow I had mechanically finished my bank transaction and the teller was trying to get my attention. “Young lady,” she was saying, “Young lady!”

I looked up and into the eyes of the bank teller, a silver-haired grandmother with a gentle beauty. Her keen eyes reflected concern as she leaned forward and softly said, “I don’t know what is happening inside of you, but please, believe me when I tell you that – everything will be okay.”

And then she did something quite marvelous. My hands were resting on the counter. She took her hands and placed them gently on top of mine. The touch was quick but electric. And in that moment my world shifted.

In the moment of her touch my self-doubt vanished. I found understanding and acceptance. I knew that love was being channeled through the heart of this beautiful woman directly into my heart. I was infused with a profound awareness – that I am loved. I was speechless. I smiled. It was my first smile of the day. But it would not be my last, as from that moment on my entire day was transformed.

Perhaps without even knowing it, the kind-hearted bank teller allowed herself to be a conduit of divine love. She was instrumental in transforming a day that seemed destined to be a day of tears into a day of smiles. The seemingly small gesture of a this gentle woman not only changed the course of my day, it became a powerful reminder in my life. The profound effect of that one simple, loving touch remains in my heart to this day.

More people than not scoff at the idea of world peace. Laugh if you wish. As for myself, I believe it is possible to transform our world … one act of loving kindness at a time. Remember: A simple smile. A warm handshake. A kind word. A gentle hug. Through these, we open the transformative power of love.

Today’s inspiring story is shared from the following website: https://www.personalgrowthcourses.net/stories/ttinspiringstories


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Being a Light in the World

There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it Edith Wharton

There are so many ways in which we can be a light to the world. We may provide an act of service, share a compliment, or help others see a new perspective.

In Today’s inspiring story – a different perspective is shared.

I’ve always known in my heart that life is precious. After my near-death experience, my understanding of just how precious life is grew by leaps and bounds.

We all have a purpose! Not one of us who is born to this world comes here by mistake.

As you read today’s story, I hope you will think about how you are meant to share your light!

In Your Light We See Light

Last November, LSN ran the story of five women conceived in rape who courageously stepped forward to defend a politician who opposed abortion even in the case of rape. The women collectively shared the message that even though they were conceived in rape, their lives where not a mistake. They called the politician a “hero” for having risked grave political consequences in standing up for their lives.

One woman named Dani was so moved by the women’s testimony that she just had to share her own story:

I am also a “product” of rape. Very few people know this about me,” wrote Dani.

When my mother was diagnosed with cancer and facing death, she told me there was a good possibility that my Dad was not my father and how it occurred. She also told me that she did not tell anyone else because no one would have believed her.

The mental anguish she endured was evident throughout my entire childhood, but the cause was unknown to me at the time. My mother told me the man’s name and the many similarities we shared. This man, my real father, had been married with children. He was a known philanderer. He was also a well known outspoken activist and politician. He died when I was only two years old.

Last year I met a gentleman by the same first name as my possible father. Instinctively I asked his last name. It was the same name my mother had mentioned. I immediately stood up, reached across the table with my arm extended to shake hands and said, “Nice to meet you Michael, I might be your sister.” A DNA test confirmed our relation. I have since met my three other half-siblings.

I am not a mistake. My life is worth living and so is the miracle that is my daughter. I am grateful everyday that my mother chose life instead of a back alley abortion. Thank you Mom! Thank you God!

Today’s story shared from the following website: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/in-your-light-we-see-light-inspiring-stories-that-moved-hearts

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Setting Goals…A Lifetime Pursuit

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark Michelangelo

Setting goals and making a consistent effort to improve is so very important. What is not important is for your goals to look good to someone else.

My goal of overcoming my fear of snakes may not make sense to you. Your goal of learning to scuba dive may not enthrall me. It doesn’t matter that we woo others with our personal growth. What does matter is that we utilize the precious time we are given for this mortal experience in uplifting, personal growing ways!

I know that the desires that are implanted within our hearts need to be paid attention to. They speak to us of overcoming challenges and manifesting the divine role we are meant to have in this world. Those desires tell us things about ourselves that we may not yet know about ourselves. We may be a Grandma Moses or Colonel Sanders in the making…. However, it is more likely that we have a life mission that is unlike anyone else.

Our life mission may manifest itself early in life or, like Grandma Moses and Colonel Sanders, it may take many years to present itself to the world.

There are a lot of uncertainties when it comes to fulfilling our eternal destiny. What is not uncertain is that we each have one and that there is no such thing as a inconsequential life.

We each have a way in which we are meant to leave a positive mark on this world in which we live. The only way that we are going to accomplish that feat is to listen and trust our heart and then set goals. Once those goals are made, we need to work to accomplish them with an unrelenting resilience. (What my dad used to call being “determined to the extreme”.

Today, I share a brief synopsis of the life of Christopher Reeve. I am quite certain that Christopher Reeve inspired others more with the way in which he chose to live his life after his accident than through his screen role of playing superman. The way in which he chose to conduct himself and work to help others was truly the effort worthy of a super hero! I hope you will enjoy!

Christopher Reeve

The man who played Superman becoming a quadriplegic was more than ironic – it was tragic. He never learned to be happy about his situation – who could? But, he did learn to live with it.

“In the morning, I need twenty minutes to cry. To wake up and make that shift, you know, and to just say, ‘This really sucks,’ to really allow yourself the feeling of loss. It still needs to be acknowledged.” – Christopher Reeve

Then, he’d say, “And now…forward!”

He had to take a moment everyday to acknowledge where he was, what the reality of the situation was. But, he didn’t allow that to stop him. He traveled widely doing public speaking on behalf of people with spinal injuries, tirelessly raised money for his own and other foundations, and even became a movie director. He took what he had and tried to help others in the best way he could.

Story shared from the following website: https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/failing-forward-7-stories-of-success-through-failure

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Patriotism…The Dedication of a Lifetime

Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime Adlai Stevenson

Farewell Address by President Ronald Reagan – January 11, 1989

Before I say my formal good-bye, maybe I should tell you what I’m up to now that I’m out of office. Well, I’m still giving speeches, still sounding off about those things I didn’t get accomplished while I was president.

High on my agenda are three things. First, I’m out there stumping to help future presidents – Republican or Democrat – get those tools they need to bring the budget under control. And those tools are a line-item veto and a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. Second, I’m out there talking up the need to do something about political gerrymandering. This is the practice of rigging the boundaries of congressional districts. It is the greatest single blot on the integrity of our nation’s electoral system, and it’s high time we did something about it. And third, I’m talking up the idea of repealing the Twenty-second Amendment, to the Constitution, the amendment that prevents a president from serving more than two terms. I believe it’s a preemption of the people’s right to vote for whomever they want as many times as they want.

So I’m back where I came in – out there on the mashed potato circuit. I have a feeling I’ll be giving speeches until I’m called to the great beyond and maybe even after. All it will take is for St. Peter to say, “Ronald Wilson Reagan, what do you have to say for yourself? Speak up.”

“Well, sir, unaccustomed as I am . . .”

My fellow Americans:

This is the thirty-fourth time I’ll speak to you from the Oval Office and the last. We’ve been together for eight years now, and soon it’ll be time for me to go. But before I do, I wanted to share some thoughts, some of which I’ve been saying for a long time.

It’s been the honor of my life to be your president. So many of you have written the past few weeks to say thanks, but I could say as much to you. Nancy and I are grateful for the opportunity you gave us to serve.

One of the things about the presidency is that you’re always somewhat apart. You spend a lot of time going by too fast in a car someone else is driving, and seeing the people through tinted glass – the parents holding up a child, and the wave you saw too late and couldn’t return. And so many times I wanted to stop and reach out from behind the glass, and connect. Well, maybe I can do a little of that tonight.

People ask how I feel about leaving. And the fact is, “parting is such sweet sorrow.” The sweet part is California, and the ranch and freedom. The sorrow – the good-byes, of course, and leaving this beautiful place.

You know, down the hall and up the stairs from this office is the part of the White House where the presidents and his family live. There are a few favorite windows I have up there that I like to stand and look out of early in the morning. The view is over the grounds here to the Washington Monument, and then the Mall and the Jefferson Memorial. But on mornings when the humidity is low, you can see past the Jefferson to the river, the Potomac, and the Virginia shore. Someone said that’s the view Lincoln had when he saw the smoke rising from the Battle of Bull Run. I see more prosaic things: the grass on the banks, the morning traffic as people mark their way to work, now and then a sailboat on the river.

I’ve been thinking a bit at that window. I’ve been reflecting on what the past eight years have meant and mean. And the image that comes to mind like a refrain is a nautical one – a small story about a big ship, and a refugee and a sailor. It was back in the early eighties, at the height of the boat people. And the sailor was hard at work on the carrier Midway, which was patrolling the South China Sea. The sailor, like most American servicemen, was young, smart, and fiercely observant. The crew spied on the horizon a leaky little boat. And crammed inside were refugees from Indochina hoping to get to America. The Midway sent a small launch to bring them to the ship and safety. As the refugees made their way through the choppy seas, one spied the sailor on deck and stood up and called out to him. He yelled, “Hello, American sailor. Hello, freedom man.”

A small moment with a big meaning, a moment the sailor, who wrote it in a letter, couldn’t get out of his mind. And when I saw it, neither could I. Because that’s what it was to be an American in the 1980s. We stood, again, for freedom. I know we always have, but in the past few years the world again, and in a way, we ourselves – rediscovered it.

It’s been quite a journey this decade, and we held together through some stormy seas. And at the end, together, we are reaching our destination.

The fact is, from Grenada to the Washington and Moscow summits, from the recession of ’81 to ’82, to the expansion that began in late ’82 and continues to this day, we’ve made a difference. They way I see it, there were two great triumphs, two things that I’m proudest of. One is the economic recovery, in which the people of America created – and filled – 19 million new jobs. The other is the recovery of our morale. America is respected again in the world and looked to for leadership.

Something that happened to me a few years ago reflects some of this. It was back in 1981, and I was attending my first big economic summit, which was held that year in Canada. The meeting place rotates among the member countries. The opening meeting was a formal dinner for the heads of government of the seven industrialized nations. Now, I sat there like the new kid in school and listened, and it was all the Francois this and Helmut that. They dropped titles and spoke to one another on a first-name basis. Well, at one point I sort of learned in an said, “My name’s Ron.” Well, in that same year, we began the actions we felt would ignite an economic comeback – cut taxes and regulation, started to cut spending. And soon the recovery began.

Two years later another economic summit, with pretty much the same cast. At the big opening meeting we all got together, and all of a sudden, just for a moment, I saw that everyone was just sitting there looking at me. And then one of them broke the silence. “Tell us about the American miracle,” he said.

Well, back in 1980, when I was running for president, it was all so different. Some pundits said our programs would result in catastrophe. Our views on foreign affairs would cause war. Our plans for the economy would cause inflation to soar and bring about economic collapse. I even remember one highly respected economist saying, back in 1982, that “the engines of economic growth have shut down here, and they’re likely to stay that way for years to come.” Well, he and the other opinion leaders were wrong. The fact is, what they called “radical” was really “right”. What they called “dangerous” was just “desperately needed.”

And in all of that time I won a nickname, “The Great Communicator.” But I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference: It was the content. I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn’t spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation – from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries. They called it the Reagan revolution. Well, I’ll accept that, but for me it always seemed more like the great rediscovery, a rediscover of our values and our common sense.

Common sense told us that when you put a big tax on something, the people will produce less of it. So, we cut the people’s tax rates, and the people produced more than ever before. The economy bloomed like a plant that had been cut back and could not grow quicker and stronger. Our economic program brought about the longest peacetime expansion in our history: real family income up, the poverty rate down, entrepreneurship booming, and an explosion in research and new technology. We’re exporting more than ever because American industry became more competitive and at the same time, we summoned the national will to knock down protectionist walls abroad instead of erecting them at home. Common sense also told us that to preserve the peace, we’d have to become strong again after years of weakness and confusion. So, we rebuilt our defenses, and this New Year we toasted the new peacefulness around the globe. Not only have the superpowers actually begun to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons – and hope for even more progress is bright – but the regional conflicts that rack the globe are also beginning to cease. The Persian Gulf is no longer a war zone. The Soviets are leaving Afghanistan. The Vietnamese are preparing to pull out of Cambodia, and an American-mediated accord will soon send 50,000 Cuban troops home to Angola.

The lesson of all this was, of course, that because we’re a great nation, our challenges seem complex. It will always be this way. But as long as we remember our first principles and believe in ourselves, the future will always be ours. And something else we learned: Once you begin a great movement, there’s no telling where it will end. We meant to change a nation, and instead, we changed a world.

Countries across the globe are turning to free markets and free speech and turning away from the ideologies of the past. For them, the great rediscovery of the 1980s has been that, lo and behold, the moral way of government is the practical way of government: Democracy, the profoundly good, is also profoundly productive.

When you’ve got to the point when you can celebrate the anniversaries of your thirty-ninth birthday, you can sit back sometimes, review your life, and see it flowing before you. For me there was a fork in the river, and it was right in the middle of my life. I never meant to go into politics. It wasn’t my intention when I was young. But I was raised to believe you had to pay your way for the blessings bestowed on you. I was happy with my career in the entertainment world, but I ultimately went into politics because I wanted to protect something precious.

Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: “We the people.” “We the people” tell the government what to do, it doesn’t tell us. “We the people” are the driver, the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world’s constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which “We the people” tell the government what it is allowed to do. “We the people” are fee. This belief has been the underlying basis for everything I’ve tried to do these past eight years.

But back in the 1960s, when I began, it seemed to me that we’d begun reversing the order of things – that through more and more rules and regulations and confiscatory taxes, the government was taking more of our money, more of our options, and more of our freedom. I went into politics in part to put up my hand and say, “Stop.” I was a citizen politician, and it seemed the right thing for a citizen to do.

I think we have stopped a lot of what needed stopping. And I hope we have once again reminded the people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.

Nothing is less free than pure communism, and yet we have, the past few years, forged a satisfying new closeness with the Soviet Union. I’ve been asked if this isn’t a gamble, and my answer is no because we’re basing our actions not on words but deeds. The détente of the 1970s was based not on actions but promises. They’d promise to treat their own people and the people of the world better. But the gulag was still the gulag, and the state was still expansionist, and they still waged proxy wars in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Well, this time, so far, it’s different. President Gorbachev has brought about some internal democratic reforms and begun the withdrawal from Afghanistan. He has also freed prisoners whose names I’ve given him every time we’ve met.

But life has a way of reminding you of big things through small incidents. Once, during the heady days of the Moscow summit, Nancy and I decided to break off from the entourage one afternoon to visit the shops on Arbat Street – that’s a little street just off Moscow’s main shopping area. Even though our visit was a surprise, every Russian there immediately recognized us and called out our names and reached for our hands. We were just about swept away by the warmth. You could almost feel the possibilities in all that joy. But within seconds, a KGB detail pushed their way toward us and began pushing and shoving the people in the crowd. It was an interesting moments. It reminded me that while the man of the street in the Soviet Union yearns for peace, the government is Communist. And those who run it are Communists, and that means we and they view such issues as freedom and human rights very differently.

We must keep up our guard, but we must also continue to work together to lessen and eliminate tension and mistrust. My view is that President Gorbachev is different from previous Soviet leaders. I think he knows some of the things wrong with his society and is trying to fix them. We wish him well. And we’ll continue to work to make sure that the Soviet Union that eventually emerges from this process is a less threatening one. What it all boils down to is this. I want the new closeness to continue. And it will, as long as we make it clear that we will continue to act in a certain way as long as they continue to act in a helpful manner. If and when they don’t, at first pull your punches. If they persist, pull the plug. It’s still trust but verify. It’s still play, but cut the cards. It’s still watch closely. And don’t be afraid to see what you see.

I’ve been asked if I have any regrets. Well, I do. The deficit is one. I’ve been talking a great deal about that lately, but tonight isn’t for arguments. And I’m going to hold my tongue. But an observation: I’ve had my share of victories in the Congress, but what few people noticed is that I never won anything you didn’t win for me. They never saw my troops, they never saw Reagan’s regiments, the American people. You won every battle with every call you made and letter you wrote demanding action. Well, action is still needed. If we’re to finish the job, Reagan’s regiments will have to become the Bush brigades. Soon he’ll be the chief, and he’ll need you every bit as much as I did.

Finally, there is a great tradition of warnings in presidential farewells, and I’ve got one that’s been on my mind for some time. But oddly enough it starts with one of the things I’m proudest of in the past eight years: the resurgence of national pride that I called the new patriotism. This national feeling is good, but it won’t count for much, and it won’t last unless it’s grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge.

An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world? Those of us who are over thirty-five or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn’t get these things from your family, you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea of the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed, you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the midsixties.

But now, we’re about to enter the nineties, and some things have changed. Younger parents aren’t sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children. And as for those who create the popular culture, well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. Our spirit is back, but we haven’t reinstitutionalized it. We’ve got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rate. It’s fragile; it needs production [protection].

So, we’ve got to teach history based not on what’s in fashion but what’s important: Why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those thirty seconds over Tokyo meant. You know, four years ago on the fortieth anniversary of D day, I read a letter from a young woman writing of her late father, who’d fought on Omaha Beach. Her name was Lisa Zanatta Henn, and she said, “we will always remember, we will never forget what the boys of Normandy did.” Well, let’s help her keep her word. If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let’s start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual. And let me offer lesson number one about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven’t been teaching you what it means to be an American, let ’em know and nail ’em on it. That would be a very American thing to do.

And that’s about all I have to say tonight. Except for one thing. The past few days when I’ve been at that window upstairs, I’ve thought a bit of the “shining city upon a hill.” The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we’d call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free.

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.

And how stand the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was eight years ago. But more than that; after two hundred years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.

We’ve done our part. And as I walk off into the city streets, a final word to the men and women of the Reagan revolution, the men and women across America who for eight years did the work that brought America back. My friends: We did it. We weren’t just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger. We made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all.

And so, good-bye, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

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