My grandpa served in the Indian Army with his four brothers, from 1955 to 1971 (some served in the Indian Air Force) - my great-grandfather was awarded a national award for sending all his sons to National Service. Hence, it's safe to say that patriotism runs in my blood. Patriotism applies to where you are from, but it also applies to where you reside - it is national loyalty not national superiority, and it is something my generation lacks greatly.
I am not proposing we worship our countries, flags or leaders - all I propose is that we respect them. A nation can only ever move forward if it is united; unity means feeling one and we can only feel one with those around when we embrace patriotism - forget race, forget size, forget ability, we are diverse but the country we share unites us. This patriotism awakens during the Olympics, Football World Cups and during national events like the Queen's Jubilee or the Royal Wedding - it seriously moves me to tears and I long to see more of it.
What are the perks?
Patriotism promotes a sense of belonging. When one feels a sense of belonging, they begin to respect authority, laws, and public property. The public would use their votes or ensure they cease complaining and start acting. I'm not sure if I am over-reacting but it bothers me to see flags being worn as slippers or underwear; in my opinion, it just reveals a lack of respect. Vandalism of public property can also be reduced greatly. It truly baffles and appals me to see bins set on fire or bus stops cracked...for fun!
In India, every child knows the National Anthem, I've been away for many years but I still remember it, likewise in many other countries around the world. We were taught it in school and were expected to sing it every morning during assemblies. I love Downton Abbey; it paints a contrasting picture of the Britain we see today. Patriotism and many good values (take the good forward, leave the bad behind) of the past seem to have dried up after the wars; they have 'changed everything'. How many teens can name the National Anthem, let alone sing it? Schools and the government must do more to promote this national loyalty we lack - this generation is the future of Britain - patriotism induces a sense of responsibility when it comes to national affairs. It's not the government's problem, it is our problem - I can't help using a cliché here, but we're all in this together! That is legit and we need to acknowledge it.
Don' replace it, fix it!
My grandparents have been married for 50 years. Obviously every marriage has its ups and downs, but I've seen my grandparents live their marriage out in a way that is so special. I am no expert on this hence I'll give you grandpa's two tips for a successful marriage:
- 'You need two hands to clap' - meaning, you need two people to cause an argument, so as soon as you see the dawn of one, zip it!
- Prayer - 'a family that prays together, stays together'.
My grandpa is 80, but he would never let that stop him from being up-to-date with the latest developments in science and technology. Be it listening to an impatient grandchild or meticulously analysing the instruction manual, he is prepared to do anything to acquire the knowledge he wishes to. From practical knowledge on hunting or making fires to more contemporary insight on using social media .etc. his prowess is learning.
We live in a world that is rich in culture, history and technology, there is seriously no excuse to stop learning!
There is a lot more that I believe we're losing from his generation...like respecting elders or even having a sense of community...but this post is lengthy as it is!
My grandfather is special, and so is yours. Spending time with him has allowed me to share these little gems of truth with you, and I urge you to do the same. They have some exciting tales to tell, make sure you treasure them and pass it on! There's much to learn from these brave men who were momentous in creating the world we now cherish.
To every father, grandfather and great-grandfather out there - Happy Father's Day!