Jackie Gingrich Cushman

My children, who are 8 and 10, are five weeks into their 12 weeks of summer vacation. With the advent of summer comes an increase in their freedom. They do not have to walk out of the house to go to school at 7:30 in the morning. This means that they can stay up after 8 p.m. and sleep past 6:30 a.m.

The days of the week are no longer structured by ballet, karate and chess. In fact, every day is different. They have been given more freedom to determine what to do, but have received additional responsibility. They are tracking their own summer reading and daily journal writing. When I am working toward meeting a deadline, they have to wait until I am done before I can answer questions or help with projects.

The overall lesson for my children this summer: The more responsible they are, the more freedom they will be given. I have a pretty good feeling that this will be my mantra for the next few years.

The opposite is also true: to retain their freedoms, they must be responsible.

Staying free involves responsibility.

This Sunday, we will celebrate the 234th anniversary of our nation's Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. While we declared ourselves free from British rule on that day, it took more than five additional years of fighting for us to win our freedom. On Oct. 19, 1781, our fighting ended with British Gen. Charles Cornwallis surrendering at Yorktown, Va.

We had our freedom; now we had to be responsible and govern.

Our founders had to decide how our country would work.

Glenn Beck

They argued for years, and finally signed the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. It officially became our guiding document on June 21, 1788, when it was ratified by New Hampshire.

According to a Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey released on June 23, 67 percent of likely voters believe that the country is heading down the wrong track. Only "28 percent of likely voters now say the country is heading in the right direction." Our country is currently not on the right track.

While two-thirds of Americans may be discouraged by the current path our country is taking, they have the perfect opportunity this weekend to reflect on our Declaration of Independence.


Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.