1919 Ford Motor Car and Truck operating manual (from here (
Why do automobile companies go to the trouble of putting together an owner’s manual? Cars are complicated. Eventually, everyone gives up and uses their owner’s manual.

It’s an old joke.

When all else fails, read the instructions.

Look around. Lots of people are upset with other people (see Americans are the unhappiest they’ve been in 50 years, poll finds ( Why? There are innumerable excuses. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and now the angst surrounding the George Floyd riots obviously contribute to the unhappiness of Americans with our country, but there are really too many excuses to list. Still, this unhappiness is an odd thing. We live in a rich country. We are still a free people. So long as we do not infringe upon the rights of our fellow citizens, we each have the right to do whatever we are capable of doing. So what is the problem? When we have more freedom and more material wealth than the people of our country have ever had, why are so many of countrymen unhappy with our country?

Can we actually figure out what is going in the minds of millions of other people? No. We can speculate. We can make what some people would call an educated guess, but that is about it.

So, how do we figure out the answer? Well, we can check the owner’s manual. If we want to know why our country is not working properly, we need to know how the people who set it up expected it to work. That is, there are three types of documents we need to study.

So, why do I think people are unhappy? For generations Americans have allowed government officials to take responsibility for the education of their children. For generations we have been foolhardy. We have allowed people nobody trusts, politicians, to educate the people most precious to us, our children. As a result, we have failed to educate our children properly. Therefore, few Americans now know how to be good citizens.

  • Because we have not read the Bible, we don’t know what God expects from us. Too few of us understand the joy we receive by humbly obeying our Lord God and serving each other. Instead, too many of us serve ourselves and seek to elevate our own self esteem above all.
  • Because we have not read the classics of Western Civilization, we don’t know how to stand upon the shoulders of the great men and women to lived before us so that we can see farther.

    If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.Isaac Newton (from here)

    The purpose of studying subjects like science, philosophy and history is that such studies enable us to learn what the people who went before us learned. Unless we choose to remain ignorant, we don’t have to repeat past mistakes.

  • Because we have not been taught to take the past seriously, to take the challenges our ancestors overcame seriously, we don’t take our nation’s founders seriously. Therefore, we don’t take what the founders wrote seriously, and we don’t know what our government is supposed to do and how it is supposed to work.

So what is my conclusion? To properly teach our children how to obey our Lord God and be good citizens, we each must learn how to obey our Lord God and become good citizens. That includes taking responsibility for the proper education of our children.

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  1. Rudy U Martinka says:

    Teaching or learning is useless if someone is not interested which in my opinion the main problem we are experiencing in our Nation.
    King Solomon
    Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words. (Proverb 23:9)
    What we are now experiencing in our Nation leaders are being despised for speaking the truth. The truth is we are fools for not teaching ourselves and our children to listen and learn the wisdom to discern the truth that if you do not teach your children the truth in the Bible, they will do the same foolish things as past generations, which is what we are now experiencing…
    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    • Tom Salmon says:


      Well, some leaders may be speaking the truth. Since our leaders are in disagreement, they cannot all be speaking the truth. That said, that is as good an explanation as any for what we are seeing.

      Kind of sad, if true. We will be disciplined painfully until we start actively trying to discern the truth.

  2. I just sent this to my daughter-n-law who is a middle grades social studies teacher— she currently teaches at a private Catholic school but also has taught in the public sector!
    We as citizens have our work cut out for us if we don’t begin looking into the textbooks and curriculums being offered to our kids!

    • Tom Salmon says:


      That’s great! I really enjoy the thought of parents and teachers reading that post. Pare

      The books we use use to call the classics are exactly what children need to read. Those books give them the context they need to understand something about today.

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