OPINION – Virtually no one knew about our little group and its regular meetings when we started nearly 4 years ago. There were times it felt like something out of a spy novel. We would meet at a nondescript office in the early morning darkness on certain weekends to conduct our business.
We deliberately kept our group small though occasionally guests were invited to attend. Our meetings probably appeared more conspiratorial than they actually were.
We gathered together from a handful of communities here in Southern Utah. Our group included a doctor, a police officer, a farmer, two contractors, a truck driver, a teacher, a mechanic, a psychologist, and an attorney. We all shared an abiding love of liberty and a desire to become more effective leaders in within our respective communities.
What brought us together in the first place was a gentle challenge from our friend and mentor Stephen Pratt, who dubbed us his “sons of liberty.”
Following one of his “Liberty and Learning” seminars, Stephen spoke to us of the need for the next generation of torchbearers to become prepared to step up and promote the principles and practices of liberty.
We were introduced to the Heuristic approach to learning in which we were expected to study things out for ourselves to gain personal depth and breadth on our subject matter.
Pratt invited us to give short presentations at his events here locally. He offered his comprehensive slideshow presentations and other material to help us build our understanding. He encouraged us to meet regularly and share what we were learning with each other. And we did.
Our meetings began and ended with prayer. We scheduled two hours in which to meet and then divided the time equally by however many members were in attendance. Each of us came prepared with a short presentation to inform and inspire the others.
Our presentations covered current events, key principles of liberty, self-sufficiency, and issues unique to our communities. Often our discussions would include scriptural or spiritual considerations as we recognized that our faith in God was a key foundation to our liberties.
We looked for and discussed opportunities to better participate in our local government. We sought ways to serve one another and our communities.
When Stephen Pratt passed away last December, the Sons of Liberty had been meeting regularly for 3 years.
We recently sat down and did an accounting of what we have been able to accomplish since we began meeting. The results were a bit startling to all of us.
Among our little group, we now have a county commissioner, a city council member, and most of us have either run for office or are active participants in our local governance. We have earned the trust of other elected leaders who have approached us individually and asked for input on various local issues as well.
In retrospect, all of us were simultaneously astonished and humbled at how our personal influence had been magnified through our efforts.
I share this experience not to boast, but to demonstrate that anthropologist Margaret Meade was correct when she noted, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Granted, our influence is primarily local, but our ability to have a positive impact on our communities is as real as can be. The great lesson that I hope others will take from our experience is that sincere effort by even small groups of individuals can make a difference.
That difference is felt, not just politically, but also in our homes, our churches, our businesses, and our neighborhoods.
When we are no longer content to spend our time complaining from the sidelines and are willing to get involved, surprising things can happen. Instead of being the person who is known for pointing out the faults of others, we become leaders capable of making a real difference at a number of levels.
Who do you know that shares your values and desire to become an influence for good in your community? Would you be willing to combine your efforts with them to inform and inspire one another in providing needed leadership?
Consider creating your own support group for freedom. You may be pleasantly surprised at the difference that can be made by taking even small actions.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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