I say it’s Providence.

Here’s something I never learned in school, although it’s right there in black and white for the entire world to see: the American Revolutionary War ended when Divine Providence intervened and made the King of Great Britain and the United States of America willing to “forget all past misunderstandings and differences” and to live in peace. King George acknowledged as much.

Yes, you read that right. Don’t believe me? Check out the opening lines of the treaty that ended the war:

               In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity.

It having pleased the Divine Providence to dispose the hearts of the most serene and most potent Prince George the Third,by the grace of God, king of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, duke of Brunswick and Lunebourg, arch- treasurer and prince elector of the Holy Roman Empire etc., and of the United States of America, to forget all past misunderstandings and differences that have unhappily interrupted the good correspondence and friendship which they mutually wish to restore, and to establish such a beneficial and satisfactory intercourse , between the two countries upon the ground of reciprocal advantages and mutual convenience as may promote and secure to both perpetual peace and harmony (emphases added)….

Peace Treaty of 1783 (“Paris Peace Treaty”)

I often marvel at how a ragtag band of colonists, who had all the cards stacked against them, defeated the most powerful military in the world. It was an unlikely and miraculous victory. It took eight years of bloodshed before Great Britain acknowledged what the United States of America declared in 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence—that the United States is a sovereign and independent nation.

Do your children know that the men who signed the Declaration of Independence were traitors? They risked their lives, their families, and their fortunes when they declared America’s independence from Great Britain. They were signing their own death warrants. What on earth drove them to do that?

A passionate craving for FREEDOM. 

Our Founding Fathers had a stirring in their hearts that they couldn’t ignore, and they staked their lives on the God-given right to be free. The King of England also experienced a supernatural stirring in his heart—a willingness to forgive this act of treason and rebellion, and a desire to establish peace and harmony.

Do our schools teach that liberty is an innate desire and a natural right? Do they teach that the desire and the right to be free come from our Creator. It’s our job as parents and grandparents to make sure that the children entrusted to us understand what it really means to be free. The 4th of July holiday is the perfect time to get started, as we celebrate America’s freedom and the hope that it offers every American. Oftentimes, we take our freedom for granted. We don’t realize that people who don’t live in free countries yearn for America’s freedom. 

Why is freedom so important?

From the moment of birth, we strive to be independent. As babies grow, they gradually wean away from their mothers. The “terrible twos” come at a stage of development in a child’s life when he’s starting to notice more of the world around him. He’s walking, talking and has a mind of his own. He sees things he wants, and he goes after them. He wants to learn and explore. He’s naturally curious.

We all know that teenagers want nothing more than to be free of their parents’ control. They want to live their own lives, make their own decisions, and get out of the house!

Teens also crave privacy—it’s intimately tied to freedom. Why is that?

They want to be rulers of their own domains, where they can do what they want to do (sometimes to their parents’ chagrin) free of parental oversight and control.

This craving for freedom, privacy, and the ability to make our own decisions and control our lives stays with us throughout our entire lives, and when our freedom is taken away from us, it’s a hard pill to swallow. For example, when someone loses the ability to drive (no matter the reason) it’s not only a huge inconvenience, it’s also extremely frustrating. Have you ever been without transportation for a period of time? Were you dependent on someone else to help you carry out your daily responsibilities? Did it keep you from going out and doing things you wanted to do? How did that make you feel?

Right now our freedom as a nation is at a perilous point in history. Many feel hopeless to do anything about it. We shouldn’t despair because God IS in control, and He has given us wisdom and direction that we can apply to our lives today. Each one of us CAN make a difference within our own families and communities.

How do we do that? 

We can start by educating ourselves, our families, and our friends about America’s history and founding principles, and by taking small steps every day to implement the tools we have at our disposal: the ancient, time-tested words of wisdom and guidance that the Pilgrims relied on when they left their homes and traveled thousands of miles across the ocean in squalid conditions to parts unknown, so that they could worship God on their own terms. America’s Founding Fathers relied on that same wisdom when they declared freedom from British rule and created a system of government designed to respect the rights of every individual, give the people a voice in their government, and safeguard individuals from oppression and tyranny.

We can sit around the dinner table with our families and talk about the importance of freedom and the integral role it’s played throughout America’s history. We can talk about the fact that we’re born with the right to be free and that our “natural” rights—the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—come from God. We can discuss and debate what things truly are “natural” rights and what aren’t.

We can explain how the “treasonous” Declaration of Independence was signed by men who risked everything to ensure that we can exercise our God-given rights, without kings and queens (the government) dictating, ruling over, and controlling every single aspect of our lives.

If you want to teach your children about the core beliefs that are the bedrock of this great nation in a way that’s real and relevant, you’ll find a wealth of patriotic dinner-table discussion questions in Exploring the Faith of America’s Presidents (click here to download a free sample on Amazon).

We can teach our children the benefits of freedom and independence so that they won’t spend their lives chained to dependence and servitude. Take advantage of the extra time you have with your children this summer. Make it fun—kids of all ages love the freedom of summer, I hope you’ll take time to enjoy it too!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!!!