While growing up in northern Canada I learned about the United States in school, but everything that I learned about it was from a negative bias. Despite the anti-American propaganda taught to me in school, I always had the feeling that there was more to the story than what I had been learning. I thought to myself that America can’t be the evil nation that I heard about in class. The most powerful positive influence on me toward the United States was through the media, since my window into America while living in Canada was through television and movies. What I saw through Hollywood was different than what was taught to me in school. In the media, America was portrayed as a land where all the fun and action takes place; where all of your dreams could come true. Though I later learned that there is a lot of anti-American propaganda in Hollywood, I didn’t know that while I was a teenager. I was the typical teenage boy who had posters of my favorite Hollywood stars, and I even had crushes on some actresses such as Marina Sirtis and Melissa Joan Hart. However, being part of the crowd, enjoying pop culture and being pro-American, sometimes caused me to clash with my fellow classmates. Many of my friends believed that the US was an arrogant and self-serving nation, so I was uncomfortable sharing my pro-American views with them. My true American dream of becoming a citizen was not revealed to all because I knew many of my classmates and teachers were anti-American. Although I was proud to be a Canadian, I did not allow the negative sentiment toward America dampen my love for her. I knew the US made some mistakes in her past, and was not perfect, but the anti-American attitudes I was encountering seemed too unjustified. Even today, the United States and Canada battle about important moral issues like abortion, assisted suicide, immigration and recreational drug use.
As I approached my high school graduation, my family and I felt a calling from God that we needed to leave our small rocky mountain Canadian town of 13 years and explore other living options. We knew that God was calling us to move, but we just didn’t know to where. Then one day, everything changed. My Dad got the opportunity to take a job transfer to Florida. Although the thought of beaches won my vote, our family had to consider serious financial and medical consequences. Through constant prayer and reflection, we began to see that God was truly calling us to make the move, and we started to feel more comfortable with the logistics. During Holy Week 1999, we put our trust in Christ and moved to Pensacola, Florida.
When I arrived in Pensacola, I thought I knew what to expect from the South since Hollywood gave me some ideas of typical Southern culture. I expected to encounter people like the ones I saw on television who were less than bright, simple, but with big hearts and good intentions. I arrived with a preset mind but an open heart, and God took full opportunity to enlighten me. Everywhere I went, people showed an impressive wisdom regarding the moral decline of America, and they spoke of the need for America to re-embrace God. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by a secular culture that was public about God! Even though I was a Catholic living in a predominantly Protestant region, I saw a morally based culture that I could agree with and work in. I certainly didn’t have this in my previous Canadian town.
As time progressed and I experienced public acknowledgments of God and morality, I started to think that maybe Southern culture was really a symptom of a region that preserved the virtues upon which America was founded. This characteristic made the Southern culture all the more attractive to me, dissolving my Hollywood mindset, making me fall in love with the real America, not Hollywood’s America. I also got to live in other southern states such as Texas and Louisiana where I got to see southern American culture from a more broad perspective.
On January 30th, 2008 in Houston, Texas where I was living, after a lengthy immigration process, I pledged my allegiance to the country, Constitution, and flag and became a citizen of the United States. The oath I took was like taking marriage vows, for better or worse, and it was truly one of the happiest moments of my life. Sure, there are politics that make my stomach cringe, but my love for the United States pushes me to help her reach sanctification rather than condemn her for her shortcomings.
I am so grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to become an American. By experiencing the riches of the nation firsthand instead of simply believing what others told me, I discovered the true values upon which the Founding Fathers built America. I see now that the Hollywood pop culture I once embraced is not anything like the true America that I now love. I hold dear to my heart the timeless teaching that “all men are created equal and are endowed…by the creator…with unalienable rights…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Our Western culture teaches us that men have the tendency not to ask questions. Often in TV shows and movies there is the stereotype that men don’t read instructions, and don’t ask for directions while driving. Part of that machismo is to take charge, or take command of a situation. In order to be fruitful citizens of America, as ManHusbandDads we need to go against the stereotype and ask questions, read, and study the issues of our time. We should never simply blindly accept what we hear about our nation through the media. We need to be constantly asking questions. If we hear someone claim, for example, that America is a racist country because of slavery, then one must study up on the history of slavery in America in order to debunk such a claim. And we need to be able to justify the progress that Americans have made despite the fact of the Democrats sponsoring institutional slavery since Reconstruction. As ManHusbandDads we need to be inquisitive, and constantly informing ourselves while questioning everything that we hear.
So, to save our nation, these United States, let us as ManHusbandDads understand our history so that we can restore America to her founding principles and help make America great again.