“We must hang together…”

Posted by Eric Bleier on July 06, 2010

Despite generational changes across 234 years, Americans have foundational values that should be passed on to future generations.

Despite generational changes across 234 years, Americans have foundational values that should be passed on to future generations.

Photo by respres via flickr

4th of July thoughts about America and our future

“We must hang together, gentlemen…else, we shall most assuredly hang separately.”

This quote, attributed to Benjamin Franklin, made me reflect a bit on the mindset of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and what questions they might have been asking themselves. This was such a radical move-to declare based on grievances not addressed by the King that the bond between subject and monarch was thus broken-that they had to be sure the reasons they had for doing this were worth the risk.

As further evidence that this was a heretofore unprecedented action, a recent examination of an original draft of the Declaration showed that Thomas Jefferson had originally penned the word “subjects,” before wiping it out and writing “citizens” above it. Perhaps this meant he was still subconsciously thinking like a subject of the crown, before seeing that word and realizing the whole point of the document was to split with the British.

All this is to say, failure was not an option once this Declaration was signed and sent to England. One question, among many others they no doubt posed to each other, might have been “To what end do we make this leap?” Or in other words, what do we hope to gain?

This is an abrupt segue but bear with me. Colleagues of mine recently attended the National Mentoring Partnership’s (NMP) annual States Caucus in famous revolutionary war city Boston, Massachusetts appropriately enough.

There they learned that currently across the United States there are over 3 million youth who have mentors. This 3 million exceeds the approximate population of the colonies in 1776 of 2.5 million. However the NMP estimates there are still 15 million youth currently who need mentors.

But instead of asking “How many are being/not being served?” the question that is at the heart of mentoring is “To what end is one a mentor?” Or again, “What do we hope to gain individually and collectively as a nation by mentoring?”

This nation seems to reinvent itself in so many ways every generation. While the signers of the Declaration of Independence would be interested in the interconnectedness of the nation thanks to planes, cars, email and smart phones, they might be more interested in how we are fostering the next generation to be capable of carrying on the values that have always signified us as “American.”

Chances are you have values worth passing on and the Grizzlies Foundation can provide a means for doing that by showing you opportunities to get involved with youth.



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