For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7
There he stood, tall and proud…I thought. Well, you all probably know I am pretty keen on America. Even with all her warts and imperfections, she is still the greatest nation on the earth. I know because I have visited plenty of other places and they all are pretty special but not like Lady Freedom. I think all of this somehow started in my early years. My Daddy was big on respect and that meant a lot of things. At the top of the list was God’s Word and right near the top was respect for our country and her flag.
Well, the other night we were down in Vienna, a small town about 45 minutes away where my oldest daughter and her husband and family live. She teaches high school English there and I’m pretty keen on her and her tribe too. My next to the oldest granddaughter was being recognized as an eighth grade member of the middle school volleyball team. At the start of the game, they played the national anthem. It was time for a teaching moment.
The whole crowd stood and faced the flag and the men were asked to remove their caps. Check and check. I was standing next to my youngest grandson who is a whole seven years old and I must admit…pretty good at it. So, when we stood, he stood also. I bent down and whispered that we should put our hand over our heart as a kind of respect for the flag. I was so pleased when he immediately did so. The music began and swelled to fill the small town middle school gym. I guess you could say it was small town America at its finest.
I glanced down to see how my grandson was doing and he was doing just fine…or so I thought. He saw me glancing down and his eye caught my eye. And, there, smack dab in the middle of The Star Spangled Banner, we had a short conversation. It went something like this. “Papa, do we have to do this?” I told him no, we didn’t have to do it, but we should because we are showing respect to the flag. He asked again, “But do we have to do it?” I told the honest truth, “No, we don’t have to but we should want to.” I thought that was the end and I guess in a way it was because he said, “Good” and promptly sat right down.
Ok, let’s be honest here. I was more than just a little disappointed. When the anthem was over, if my memory serves me right, we had a short talk that went no where. The bottom line was, he just didn’t understand if we didn’t have to, why we should. Well, he is only seven and I’m sure this topic will come up again and one day, I am hoping that he will get it and do it. But until then I’m going to do my part to set the example and try to mold him to do what is right…even when he doesn’t want to.
Several things crossed my mind that night and even as I am pressing keys tonight. Several things prompted this story—things like showing respect and honor, things like passing on something to the next generation, things like standing up and for things that are worthy. But there is something more. It made me question how often, how many times do we do something just because we have to? You see, it made me think that while it is important to do the right thing…we should always check and evaluate the why—why we tell the truth, why we don’t steal or lie, or why we stay faithful to our marriage vows.
Check the why and do the right thing—that makes sense to me. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” In other words—the heart is what matters. It is more important than doing something just for others to see. So, remember, check the why and yes, do the right thing. Sometimes that is easy and sometimes hard but don’t lose heart. Remember, there is always Someone waiting to help—and always, without fail, He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne