Last time we met, I spoke about how we needed to end our dependence on Washington D.C.
Today, I want to talk about how we can do that.
Getting Washington out of our lives will start when we stop waiting for Washington to solve our problems.
And that takes a major change in mindset.
When our politicians come to us at election time, they promise to do things for us.
From now on, we should say: "No thanks. We've got it. Just let us do the work ourselves."
That will be the easy part.
The hard part will be at home.
We have raised successive generations of Americans to believe that it's enough to merely show up, and all of life's rewards will be owed to them.
It's what I call our "sticker" culture. Everyone gets a sticker for showing up. They say it's good for self-confidence.
I say it's good for false confidence.
We give out stickers and trophies for participating in life. Not for excellence. Not for winning. For just showing up.
And so why are we surprised when our young adults arrive to the workforce unprepared for criticism? Unprepared for challenge. Unprepared to learn from failure? Why are we shocked when they flee from commitment at work, at home, in life… at the first sign of trouble?
I believe Americans know this, because they see it every day. It's frustrating. A generation lost to self-indulgence.
But I believe Americans still appreciate true excellence - and that they want to reward it. In music. In sport. In technology. The best and the brightest and the hardest-working still reap the largest rewards.
And that's how it should be.
That's how America wants it.
And that's how it should be everywhere in life.
Because if we don't reward excellence, we won't get it.
Excellence isn't just inventing the latest new software app, or catching the winning touchdown. Excellence is doing a job well. Excellence is lifting someone up and helping them achieve a life of dignity. Excellence is taking care of the problems one faces - without complaint and without self-pity.
Excellence is everywhere around us. We need to reward it.
We must start at home. Start by teaching our own children that they alone command their fate in life. That if they want something in life, they must work for it. That if they want accomplishment, they must accomplish something. Don't just show up. Be great.
And that if they are upset about injustice…or poverty… or pain, they must do something about it. Not wait for others. Not expect someone from Washington D.C. to fix the problem.
God did not make mankind to be passive. He gave us hands and legs, a brain and a soul. He wants us to take action in our lives, and not wait for others to act for us.
So today, let us look within for the solutions that we need. Next time you hear someone say "where are the leaders?", go and get a mirror and hold it up. There's your leader.
We command our fate. As individuals, and as a nation.
we chart our own course into the future, but what bright future it is, if we only expect excellence from ourselves.
Thank you and may God keep the Republic.