Liberty Loving Kids, Plus Lathan Watt’s Top Books for Fostering Religious Liberty, Part 1

First Liberty's Lathan Watts joins us on Fireside talk Radio.

Defending religious liberty all the way to the Supreme Court takes up a ton of Lathan Watts’s mental energy. An attorney with First Liberty, one of the nation’s foremost defender of religious liberty, Lathan joined me recently on Fireside Talk Radio. Of course, he shared a ton of stuff on instilling a love of religious liberty in the younger generations.

You’ll love his passion and sense of humor. Plus, he sports an insider’s view of where the battle lines are drawn on the issue of religious liberty.

Lathan’s Book List for Educating Young Patriots

With a constitutional scholar and history lover on the show, I couldn’t resist asking for a book list. Here’s Lathan’s top picks for raising liberty loving young Americans.

  • His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis
  • American Creation by Joseph J. Ellis
  • Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis
  • The Federalist Papers, which Lathan describes as “some of the best writing about the Constitution by the men who wrote the Constitution” 
  • Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World by Daniel Hannon, which makes the case our Founding Fathers were simply claiming the rights they enjoyed as true British subjects. I don’t know about you, but I have trouble thinking of myself as a subject, rather than a citizen. My, how far we’ve come!
  • The 5,000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen
  • 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn’t Help by Benjamin Wiker, Ph.D.
  • 10 Books Every Conservative Must Read: Plus Four Not to Miss and One Imposter, by Benjamin Wiker, Ph.D, Robertson Dean, et al 

Respect for Religious Liberty

Honestly, I just wanted a book list for kids. But leave it to Lathan to get to the heart of the matter—what adults don’t know. Seriously, Lathan caught me flat footed. Especially since the only thing on his list I’ve actually read myself was the Federalist Papers. Ouch! 

Still, he gave me a GREAT excuse to order books promptly! In my world, the only thing better than chocolate is a good book! Actually, chocolate plus reading out loud to our grandkids ranks as the BEST! (Soon, Anna and I plan upcoming episodes devoted to fun ways to instill a love of reading in your creative children. Stay tuned!)

“You can’t go wrong starting with the reading the Constitution and the Federalist Papers,” adds Lathan. (For more on raising kids with a love for liberty: Independence Day: How to Foster Independence in Kids and Country .)

Passing on Passion for Civics 

As a father himself, Lathan appreciates just how hard it is to raise children.

“Well, my parents did their best to raise me right, I guess,” he laughs, describing himself as “that weird kid in grade school who watched the news.” He adds, “I just couldn’t wait to vote and all that.” As a little boy of four or five his dad was his hero. 

“I have a memory of being over at my grandparents’ house and my dad pulling me over and sitting me in his lap. He said, ‘I need you to be quiet because I want to hear what this man has to say.’”

The man was Ronald Reagan. 

A Love of Learning

Clearly, many parents want to raise kids with a passion for history and a love of country. So, Lathan encourages parents to stay alert when it comes to their kids’ education. (For more about how religious liberty secures families from the effects of anarchy, click here.)

“I think a big mistake that some parents make, and it’s easy to do, is assuming their kids are going to be taught history and a love of country in school. In many places they’re not.”

According to Lathan, parents must be intentional. He suggests opening up daily conversations about what they’re learning in school. “They (his own kids) know Daddy was a history major,” he laughs, “So everything they learn in history class they want to talk about with me. I ask them, what did you talk about in history today.” Plus, he pays attention for normal opportunities to observe and think.

“It’s taking the opportunity to discuss things when they’re current. One thing that is seriously missing in education is critical thinking.” In order to get his own kids thinking, he asks good questions. “Did you hear the way the newscaster introduced that story? Does that sound objective to you?”

One Interest Leads to Another

In his own life, his initial interest in President Reagan led to a fascination with American history. That bloomed into his passion for religious liberty. 

“Whether it’s a political figure or a band I like, I want to know who they’re interested in.”

From Reagan, Lathan discovered Calvin Coolidge. Then, because Reagan often quoted American patriots, Lathan’s interests expanded to include Alexander Pain, Thomas Jefferson George Washington and so many others.

“I wanted to know who were the men they believed in,” Lathan says. Naturally, his self-education expanded to include more historic figures. “Who were the Founders reading?” he asks, answering John Locke, for one. 

A Texan By Marriage

“I’m a Texan by marriage,” laughs Lathan who thanks his wife for bringing him to Texas. “I was raised in a small town, went to school in small towns. When I moved to the Dallas area, this was the biggest city I’d ever lived in.” 

As a young man, he served on his first political campaign. His goals included using his legal training locally in a less traditional way. Soon, he discovered an innate gut instinct for civics.

Raised in the church, his sought his own personal calling to service. With his background, he began to realize his passion for the American self-governing process.  

“Other than being a full time minister, I saw no other opportunity where you could impact more people’s lives than having an influence in our government.”

To understand more about some current Supreme Court cases and how they impact our lives, find more of our interview and another podcast, here. For more about how Lathan and his colleagues at First Liberty champion the cause of religious liberty—they specifically request prayer—click here.

May I pray for you?

Father in heaven, we are grateful for the way You established freedom and free will for us all. We’re amazed at Your willingness to send Your Son. When we were enslaved to sin, You bought our freedom with His life, if we but choose it. How grateful we are for the choices we get to make daily! Grant us now wisdom to choose companionship with You and freedom.

Bless those who fight–those protecting our liberty–to keep us a free people. Today, specifically, we thank you for the attorneys across this nation who study the U. S. Constitution. Give them wisdom as they present cases to our courts to protect our religious liberty. Thank You for our Founding Fathers who–at their own personal expense and sacrifice–stepped into the destiny You created for them. Dear Lord, thank You for the opportunity to follow our own hearts today, devoting our lives to worshipping You. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

We love to hear from you!

What teacher inspired your love of history? How do you open up fun conversations with your kids and grandkids? What’s your favorite book about American history?

Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.

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