The Blessings of Liberty
By Linda Pryor, Executive Director, The Center for Mission & Academics
Brookfield Academy had the great pleasure last week of hosting Roger Ream, the President of The Fund for American Studies in Washington, D.C. and Trustee for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He spoke with us about The Blessings of Liberty. He shared remarks from leaders all over the world that recognized what wonderful blessings we Americans have. It seems that these world leaders appreciated our good fortune so much more than we do.
I left his talk realizing that as a country we do not adequately value the blessings we have - the rights, the freedoms, the abundance. Of course, he pointed out repeatedly that these rights do not come from the government, but from God. Yet, these rights to which every human being should have access, are not respected in every nation. We are so fortunate, so blessed - but we need to pay attention. Our liberty can be fragile and Mr. Ream noted that we have recent examples of nations that have lost similar freedoms and the challenges their citizens are facing as a result. It is important for us to be diligent because one person of character and commitment can make all the difference. History is replete with examples.
Freedom is spiritual and philosophical, inextricably linked with the practice of self-improvement. Each of us should seek to continually develop our talents and our understanding. Mr. Ream emphasized the power each of us has to spread the light of liberty. He reminded us that in a darkened room a single candle shows “darkness has no resistance to light.” As a school we recognize our role in this effort - we strive to guide children to recognize the freedoms God has given us and to understand their part in protecting them and preserving them.
Children come to Brookfield Academy with what our Founders called, “their lamps brilliantly lit.” BA fuels that light, the lamp of learning. Learning from the American experiment, our country’s great accomplishments, and our dismal mistakes is all part of this process. History is there for us to learn from. We must respect these powerful lessons from history and use them to guide our future. A commitment to these lessons of freedom will always be fundamental to a Brookfield Academy education.
In conclusion to his message, Roger Ream shared this story about poet, novelist, and essayist, Robert Louis Stevenson. When he was a small boy he would press his face against the window pane of his home in the early evening as darkness approached and the old-fashioned lamplighter would move slowly down the street lighting the gas street lamps. "Look," Stevenson cried out in excitement to his nanny, "there's a man coming down the street punching holes in the darkness." Ream enjoined us all to be lamplighters, punching our small beacons of light in the darkness - sharing the blessings of liberty with those around us.