I love my parents, and I miss them very much. They were the greatest influences in my life growing up and they taught not just by words but also by deeds. They believed the best about others and expected the best. They taught me to be curious as well as courteous. They taught me a love of knowledge and a love for people, no matter their background or station in life. I am who I am because of them and I thank God fro them, especially when I observe other less stellar parental models.
But when I was in high school and early college they drove me nuts! It was not an accident that I went out of state to college (4 out of 6 years) i could have saved money staying in-state, but that was not going to happen. I guess it's kind of a teen thing...needing independence. My dad and I got along better years later, but teen time was tough. my mom was a sweetie and gentle soul, but I was the baby of the family and I guess it was hard for her to see me grow up and want to fly away.
My parents weren't perfect, though they tried to do their best. My country is just the same. I love it because it's my home. I am proud to be an American, not because we are perfect, but because we have tried over the years to improve and stand for the right things. We shouldn't whitewash our history, but rather acknowledge the blemishes and learn from them. I say this as one who was not only born and raised here, but whose ancestry goes back to the founding of our nation and long before.
Some people don't want to hear criticism of our country. They chant "USA,USA!" to shout down critics and complain that anyone who calls out national faults is somehow un-American or is part of a "blame America first" crowd. That's nonsense. That's like saying you never should question your parents.
As we grow we go from thinking our parents know everything, to thinking they don't know anything, to finally realizing that the truth is somewhere in-between. As we grow as citizens we also go from accepting everything in textbooks at face value , to questioning/disputing everything, to seeing things in context and acknowledging the growth patterns.