Our East Valley is a unique haven, but keep in mind, as the nation goes, so do we. This weekend, our communities gather to remember; and remember we will, the glorious beginnings of America.
We gather, though, with furrowed brows. Everywhere we’re warned, “America the Beautiful” is in for a tough go and so we hold extra close our independence; our pride in “the greatest form of government the world has ever known” (about.com).
Yet, unless we embed our history into our children, eventually those of us with deep memory will have died off. Then what?
I recently reread The Fourth Turning, a historical account of “America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny.” It’s a credible look into the next 25 years, and warns that America cannot be saved from its “unraveling.” You see, civilization follows rhythmic cycles (“turnings”) and each is predictable. Perhaps you’ve noticed our current cycle is pushing us into “crisis and secular upheaval.”
Noted historians William Strauss and Neil Howe have documented four cycles (turnings) within each century. They point out that modern societies only see life in straight lines. We’ve got it wrong, because linear thinking does not anticipate repetition. Thus, we are caught off guard when we enter each cycle.
They found that the ancients have known as far back as Rome about the four cycles: High, Awakening, Unraveling and Crisis. The cycles are a “natural rhythm of the social experience,” not unlike earth’s four seasons.
And likewise, our Native Americans also understand that each century (or saeculum) contains the four cycles ending in “ekpyrosis” – a recurring destruction and re-creation. America has entered “ekpyrosis.”
The author’s predictions for this current cycle suggest crisis such as famine, possible economic collapse, catastrophic war; definite upheaval, even geographically. Beyond the “fourth turning,” will be a return to the “first turning” – a period in which a new civic order replaces the old regimes. Our children and grandchildren will be the architects. Older generations can help prepare them by passing on what we know.
We condemn ourselves and our future posterity if we fail to teach the inspired history of our freedoms, of how a “government by the people” came about. And we fail if we don’t tell the stories of the blood spilled to gain our independence.
We must remember what happens to “those who do not learn the lessons from history…”
Many Native Americans religiously repeat the stories of the “turnings” to each generation. They accept the responsibility of passing along their wisdom. Moms and dads, ladies and gentlemen, it’s our mandate.
As fireworks explode, and children gaze in wonder, teach them to hold onto values that built the greatest nation ever. Strauss and Howe claim that “classic virtues” will return in the upcoming collapse: “Sharp distinctions will be drawn between people who can be counted on and those who cannot,” they write.
The authors push us to recognize the cycles and prepare in multiple categories: Physically, emotionally, intellectually and, to a degree, financially. And, in doing so, we prepare our children.
As for patriotism? Give their future the gift of wisdom, including why America’s beauty is more than surface deep; why its grandeur is rooted in our freedoms from tyranny. When the time comes, our children will know because their legacy will be memory.
Linda Turley-Hansen is a syndicated columnist and former veteran Phoenix television news anchorwoman who lives in the East Valley. Her column appears monthly. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.