It’s the 4th of July! That means cookouts, parades, parties, music, and more all with friends and family. Oh! And let’s not forget one of the best parts! Fireworks! On this Independence Day weekend, I realize how grateful I am for so many things that make our country unique. The United States of America has evolved quite a bit over its 240-year history. (240 give or take — it’s hard to pin down when the country was really “born”.) Nevertheless, it is still very special in the world today for the level of freedom, liberty, and opportunity enjoyed by its citizens. We have to thank for that, first and foremost, the Lord God Almighty. I deeply believe in His Providence for this country. We also have to thank many people who have been agents of that Providence.
I realize that trying to make a list of the people for whom I am thankful is dangerous. I’m likely to forget someone that should be on the list. My list might also be very different than yours and you might disagree. I don’t want valid disagreement to be a distraction from the gratefulness we should both feel in our heart.
In any case, I’m going to list some people I’m grateful for and share some reasons why. I hope this will encourage you to reflect on some people who are special to you.
My mom stayed at home, doing the heavy-lifting of daytime parenting. Because my mom was there for me day after day, I had the freedom to think about possibilities and explore potential in my life. She and my dad helped create the atmosphere that God used to grab my heart and shape it into the person I am today. (Although I know He’s not done with me!) Julie and I made a commitment to the stay-at-home mom approach 21 years ago. We’ve never regretted it and we look forward to what God will do in our sons’ lives.
I’ve had several special teachers in my life, and at all levels of education. These were the men and women who were able to see me as the unique individual God made me to be. Their focus was not some government program or academic strategy. They saw Scott, the person, and drew out a special part of me and challenged me to apply that in my world. They were catalysts for a greater America, one conversation and one person at a time.
I could go on and on about the special role that pastors and clergy play in our society, but I can’t commit the necessary space to that endeavor. However, I will say that one critical role pastors play is creating connections—first and foremost between God and man, but also among people. We were created to be social creatures. God intended for us to connect—first to Him, and then to each other. Pastors, among other things, are often the weavers of the social fabric of our society called “relationships.”
I’m also grateful for leaders in our country. Moms, teachers, and pastors are leaders, too, but there are many other kinds of leaders that have thrived in our 240-year old social-political “experiment.” All fields of work and segments of our society have leaders. I’ve been greatly impacted by countless leaders. There have been some very, very good leaders…and a fair share of not-so-good leaders. Together they have shaped my own leadership and it is my hope that I can raise the bar for others.
I’m sure you have other people to be grateful for. I do, too. This list isn’t exhaustive, but they are, I believe, among the most important people in making this country great.
Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at]LeadStrategic.com with your questions.