TO CHANGE OR NOT TO CHANGE
Nobody likes change. We are open to change only when we begin to feel the truth. In his book The Heart of Change John Kotter (Harvard professor who has been the change guru for over three decades) made a keen observation: “People change what they do less because they are given analysis that shifts their thinking than because they are shown a truth that influences their feelings.” In the last election many Americans felt that things had to change. There is some truth to their feelings.
Our financial sectors need to change. The fire sales of financial companies and the mismanagement of government-sponsored enterprises have shown that we need more accountability in the system. People have lost their entire life savings through Ponzi schemes like the Madoff scam and big business scandals.
Our educational system needs to change. The TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) and PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) studies have shown that our students are trailing behind some third world countries in academic standards. Our children and grandchildren deserve better.
Our job outlook needs to change. According to the ADP National Employment Report the employment decreased by 522,000 in January, which is a total of 2.2 million nonfarm private-sector jobs since August 2008. We all have a brother or sister or friend or neighbor who recently lost their job.
Yes, some things do need to change. But not all things should change.
Our commitment to capitalism should not change. The freedom to succeed without government interference still draws the world to America. Tony Blair, former British prime minister, once said, “For all their faults and all nations have them, the US are a force for good . . . I sometimes think it is a good rule of thumb to ask of a country: are people trying to get into it or out of it? It’s not a bad guide to what sort of country it is.”
Our commitment to national defense should not change. September 11 is a reminder that human beings are still sinful and wicked. War should be the last alternative to resolving conflicts. But as George Washington knew so well, “to be prepared for War is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” Lowering our defenses is a sure way to invite attacks. Theodore Roosevelt said on more than one occasion: “I have always been fond of the West African proverb: ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick.’”
Our commitment to our foundational values should not change. Biblical principles are still the bedrock on which our nation was founded. The value of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness were based on Christian values. While I agree that the house needs some remodeling, I don’t think that blowing up the foundation is the place to begin. Proverbs 22:28 reminds us “Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set.” There are landmarks throughout the history of our nation. Too often people think that landmarks hinder us from exploring unchartered territories. On the contrary, landmarks are a reminder that someone has been there before. Before we consider removing them, let’s ask why they were placed. The reason might save our nation.