Yes, I write children’s books, but I just wouldn’t be who I am without the component of my patriotism. In fact my upcoming book “Snow Angels” is narrated by two guinea pigs named Alexandra and Hamilton, who like in the Hamilton hit play remind each other to “Talk less and smile more”.  July 4th is going to get me all emotional. I stand with my hand on my heart and cry every time I hear our national anthem. And, I’m going to hold all this tenderly in my heart as our country moves forward through these awkward times.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to talk politics! I’m positive that you get enough of that through EVERY news source around you (not to mention your social media).

I’m going to take a moment to separate politics from patriotism.

I love the foundation this country is built upon: the outline that our Founding Fathers took a lot of care and debate to draw for us. They wanted to protect our ability to define this country from the ground up with a democracy. They wanted each one of us to have our own voice. I am so grateful and proudly use mine! They hoped we would be good to each other but created a court system where we could hear each other out and decide as a randomly chosen group of citizens whether someone is guilty or not. (So, don’t complain the next time you get jury duty!)

I love the people in this country. I love how different we are. We bring so many different skills and attributes to the table. That’s how we have created such amazing things! From scientific advancements to beautiful architecture, music and literature… Our Founding Fathers would be AMAZED at what their experiment has yielded. By creating a free and open society, we have had the chance to spread our wings and grow in a million different directions!

Remember that when someone says something that you disagree with. We have to take the reigns off of thoughts and speech in order to foster the rich culture we have here. Thomas Jefferson thought that there was no way to win by trying to figure out which speech to limit—that the only weapon we have against unwanted speech is more free speech.

So, don’t stick your head in the sand. Don’t run and hide. Try to remember the vision behind this experiment. We must keep trying for a more perfect union. We are all in this together, and with our collective strength we can continue to be a place that inspires the rest of the world.

Teach your children the things you love about being an American. Encourage them to look for the amazing things all around them. Choose historical children’s books to read to them. They will find their own patriotism.

I’ll leave you with this. I read it every morning, and it still gives me goosebumps. You might have said it thoughtlessly as a child, but think on these words again:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.