On July 4th our family attended a local fireworks show to celebrate our country’s independence and freedom. Initially, we were not planning to go anywhere as I have recently injured my left knee playing soccer and we were going to celebrate by watching some fireworks on the TV. However, our youngest was tenacious and she won us over with her pleads to see live fireworks. I distinctly remember how proud she made me feel because she was so enthusiastic about wanting to celebrate the day down to the last details of wearing a beautiful white dress with red and blue garnishes and patriotic accouterments. She was giddy with excitement as she is now beginning to be more aware of the various holidays and understanding the significance of the 4th of July. I made sure to explain to her that this country offers many things that others do not and reiterated that both her parents were born in other countries and were fortunate enough to become naturalized US citizens. I tried not to lecture her on my own experiences with poverty as a young child but I reminded her of our trip to Costa Rica and the many people that suffer each day trying to fill their bellies and keep out of the elements while resting. I believe as our relationship continues to grow she will begin to acknowledge more and more the significance of the American dream that is the envy of most of the world.
July 4th to me is becoming a symbol of the USA’s true dream and purpose and about communities all over the country coming together despite cultural, spiritual, political, economical, and social differences to unify, recognize, and celebrate the unique, messy, wonderful, confounding, awesome, and powerful aspects of our common narratives past, present, and future. As I glazed at the beauty of the fireworks exploding in the sky I was reminded of this inescapable truth and how the different colors, spectacles, patterns, and sounds all came together in a unified tapestry of radiance. I looked around and saw people of all shapes and hues staring at the sky in amazement and awe. My youngest was playing with other kids as they chased fireflies, intermittently pausing to look skyward upon hearing oohs and aaahs from the crowd. I felt the unity of those moments and saw each individual as a grain of the salt required to create the fireworks (barium, potassium, sodium salts among others) in the first place and reflected how we all collide and dance in passionate harmony.
I can only hope that as my daughters continue to grow they too will respect and endear themselves to the American dream and this country’s aspirations and hopes for the past, present, and future generations to come. We may not always agree with the leadership or perceived direction our country is going but I believe we can all agree that each individual (no matter their role) plays an integral part in the continual composition of this nation just like each grain of salt to the fireworks display.
Always remember to tell your child the following each day:
- Believe in yourself
- You were born for special reasons
- Look for ways to help others today
- Your primary purpose is to discover what your unique talents are (that no one else in the world has)
If you would like to learn more about me or my practice Inner Compass Counseling, Coaching, and Consulting, PLLC and have questions feel free to visit my website www.iccounseling.net as well as read my Inner Compass Blog.
Dr. Gerald Brown (Doc Brown) is owner of Inner Compass Counseling, Coaching, and Consulting PLLC in Cornelius, NC and Statesville, NC. He is passionate about fatherhood issues, immigrant concerns, and specializes in trauma work. Doc Brown has presented at various conferences and has a multitude of experience training organizations and corporations in diversity and multicultural resilience. He believes in helping individuals, couples, and families find meaning and integrate that meaning with various resiliencies in order to live purposefully and vibrantly. He is married with two daughters ages 14 and 6.