Founding Value of Service in America Inspires Global Citizenship

Founding Value of Service in America Inspires Global Citizenship

Sometimes called the melting pot of all nations, America’s founding principles and shared values have enabled it to embrace diverse cultures and religions while maintaining some social cohesion. Its Declaration of Independence states that God the Creator grants all people inalienable rights. At the same time, it calls for each person to live their lives for a greater purpose because every person’s value and equal rights are given to us from a source greater than ourselves.

These founding values have formed the spirit of service based on human rights and the opportunity to build a culture and a society that transcends the  barriers of race, religion, and other divisions to find common ground in fundamental rights, the ideal of freedom, and to serve those who could not protect those freedoms for themselves.

The founding fathers of America recognized just how important these fundamental freedoms were. They willingly put their very lives on the line to protect the values that would be later articulated as the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The original phrase was “life, liberty, and property.” However, it was rewritten to the more appropriate “pursuit of happiness,” which conveys the spiritual pursuit of all humanity.

The pursuit of happiness rests not on the aspiration of one individual but depends on relationships founded on virtues. Happiness cannot be achieved alone; it is found only in dynamic relationships. It is a collective effort between people and within the family. Some of the most charitable efforts, from alleviating poverty to responding to natural disasters, are motivated by this spiritual pursuit of happiness.

It is this same spirit of service that motivates many military personals in the United States to champion human rights for all people, not just their own nation. This spirit of selfless service is what inspires service women and men to get up every day, train, and work hard to not only protect the fundamental freedom of all people but to protect the ability to create a culture of values, raising healthy families with the potential to pursue happiness. In many ways, it is the legacy of the American story – “the pursuit of happiness” for all people.

Jeremy Graham sharing his insights on service based on America’s Declaration of Independence.

Jeremy is a serviceman who shared his testimony at a recent Family Peace Association family workshop. As a husband, father, graduate student, and Captain in the United States Army, the values he strives to build up in his own family are the same values that gives him the motivation and passion to serve his country, willing to even lay down his life to protect fundamental human rights and the founding ideals that made America a melting pot of people and cultures from every other nation around the world.

“I absolutely love the United States of America. I love the concept our founders had of establishing a government built on values and I am humbled and hopeful in our responsibility to make our founders’ vision work.”

Jeremy emphasized the importance of values in creating a culture when he reflected on his time as a cadet where “duty, honor, country” were the guiding values and the direction to cadets was to “not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” These values created a culture where people aspired to live up to higher ideals. With the creation of the Declaration of Independence, the founders outlined fundamental principles and values to inspire a standard of individual and collective responsibility that is essential to our success as a nation. A values-based culture creates the capacity in people to make higher ideals a reality in everyday life.

There are ideals and values, like the sense of service to humanity, that is bigger than any one nation or organization. They are universal. Global citizenship is something all of us can practice with every generation as we continue the legacy of service through our families and communities around the world.

Jeremy spoke at a recent workshop hosted by Family Peace Association USA, organized by a high school student for his Boy Scout Eagle Project. The workshop explored universal principles of the American founding and how they might apply to global citizenship.

Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude

Structuring service projects into the Core Values Academy curriculum is an important part of nurturing a culture of living for the sake of others and supporting parent and family involvement into Blessed Children education.

CVA Seattle kids and teacher assistants write letters for Operation Gratitude

The first of these projects for the school year in CVA Seattle was “Operation Gratitude.” Children donated their Halloween candy to create a total of 17 care packages on November 6. Elementary children and their older brothers and sisters worked together to write beautiful letters to military troops serving at home and abroad. Besides the colorful personal letters of gratitude from the volunteers, several of which required hours to dry the glitter glue, children also picked out their favorite candies to include in each package.

In order to prepare for Sunday’s service activity, parents were encouraged to talk to their children about the significance of collecting and donating their candy on Halloween day. The tips below were presented to support parents in making sure their children’s act of service was memorable and happy, not sad because they were parting with candy:

  1. Discuss what our soldiers are doing overseas and help children understand that the candy they enjoy can also bring a smile to soldiers who miss the taste of good old American candy.
  2. Encourage kids before going out to have a great wonderful Halloween trick-or-treating and work hard to collect extra for our troops overseas that we will share the treats with.
  3. If reluctant or trying to only give unwanted candy, talk it through and ask kids, “Which candy do you think the soldiers would like most?” and help them pick a few to bring on Sunday and let them keep some nice ones too!

Children pick out best candies to share with active soldiers

To start off the class, teachers divided into grade levels to ask students why they thought the service project was a meaningful thing to do. Although coming to the candy table with different depths of understanding, all the kids could agree that giving up their candy was a small sacrifice compared to the sacrifice of the people who were willing to give up time with their family to protect their nation. Children expressed their gratitude to the soldiers in heartwarming letters, prompted by teachers to think of the strangers as their own family.

Although mostly strangers, some of the recipients of the packages were friendly faces. Lieutenant Jacob Bates and his wife Ohnshil Bates sent a thank you back to the volunteers saying, “We received the candy and beautiful cards. We are so grateful and we shared all the candy with my platoon in the army. Thank you!”

CVA will continue to include a variety of service projects throughout the year to inspire children with the culture of true love: to live for the sake of others.

Families can do the same. What service project ideas have you tried? Post in the comments below.

 

 

Girls Learn Compassion through Service

Girls Learn Compassion through Service

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Girls hold bake sale to raise money for the nonprofit animal care shelter PAWS

Grades 4-7 Core Values Academy class in Seattle just finished off their 3-month long service project to support the local animal shelter PAWS. The project involved learning about animals and animal care from a Godly perspective, organizing and holding bake sale fundraisers at the local library and supermarket (rain or shine), engaging their younger siblings in the community through a treat-making activity, and more!

On Saturday, May 14, 2016, the girls dropped off their hard-earned $500 donation to PAWS. Through this experiential learning opportunity, the girls were able to learn about important values and life skills such as determination, compassion and sacrifice, learning from feedback and teamwork. This was also a valuable experience for the teachers of the class who were able to realize just how much innate leadership potential lies within young girls.

This project was not possible without the continuous support and cooperation from the parents. A big thank you to all who helped make this happen!