This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," June 18, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GLENN BECK, HOST: Hello, America. It is — it's "Founding Fathers' Friday."
Father's Day weekend — I want to talk about revolution on Father's Day weekend.
I think there's a lot to learn from our Founding Fathers and not just about our country but also how to be dads.
1765 was the year. Americans are complaining about the Stamp Act. It is parliament requiring you to pay taxes. And it's the whole representation — taxation without representation thing.
And everybody gets upset. And parliament says to Americans: You are children planted by our care. Well, Americans didn't like to be called "children." They responded, "We are not children. We are the sons of liberty, the children of liberty."
This was an amazing thing. This was about to upset all of this. This is the way the system worked.
It was God, God spoke to the king, the king told the royals and parliament and everything else, and then there was you, serf.
But there was something happening in America. People were turning into virtuous sons and daughters of liberty. And it started in churches first with this guy — we talked about him before — George Whitefield.
George Whitefield played an amazing role in America. It started at the top with God. And what he told everybody is that God really — God's not just for the elite, you know? God is not — God is just not talking to the king. He's talking to you. He's talking to you.
And the whole thing started to be switched around in people's heads. Well, if God is not just talking to the king — I mean, they just — if you didn't vote, if you weren't a royal — the churches in England, they didn't really care. The churches were all about the king and politics. George Whitefield said, no, no, no. This is not exactly right.
And what happened was it started to wake people up and they started to say, well, wait a minute, this isn't right. This isn't right. We know that God is on the top and there's no such thing as property. There's no such thing as a serf.
Even though they still didn't get it on slavery, they did start to see something completely new and very American. No serfs either. God wasn't talking to the king and you weren't a subject of the king.
You were a subject of God. God talked to you and you were a subject of his. And then you picked — then you picked the — if you would — the royals, parliament, congress, and the king, or the president. But they were subject to you. That is revolution.
But again, it started with this guy, teaching us about God. That's what happened. And this was happening when our founders were young.
George Washington was 16 years old and something was happening with him as well, 16. He copied 110 rules of civility and decent behavior.
This is a classic expression of Washington's respect for others, if I may quote: "Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are also present."
Respect — and that was a big problem with the king. He wasn't respectful — we were his property. It's about respect.
And who had that? Washington. It's not a magnetic chalkboard.
Washington had that idea — God and respect.
Well, here, you can't really have a revolution. That's why I said earlier this week when Vince Flynn and Yaron Brook from the Ayn Rand Society were on, and I said, you don't want a revolution. You have a revolution, it's a nightmare. We turn into France, a bloodbath.
You don't want a revolution. You can't make this kind of change unless you really know what you are talking about. Unless: A, God is there. And the next thing that you would need is to know who you are. You need to know what you're fighting for. I think it's who you are.
You're not a subject. You're not a subject of anybody. You need to know that you are a subject of God only, if you are in control.
But then you need, you need something else. You also need education. If you don't — you can't have a revolution unless you know what you're fighting for.
You know, we were talking on the set here earlier about somebody — somebody called me earlier in week from Texas and said, "Glenn, you know, our founders would have picked up guns by now." No, they wouldn't have. No, they wouldn't have.
How many times did they go across the sea? It took them, what, three or six months to go across the ocean to deliver a letter to the king. How many times did they do that? For how many years did they do that? Year after year after year after year.
But in that time, they used that time to learn. This was a new concept, because not only did the revolution happen here, first it happened in church. Then it happened at home — because just like there was god and then he spoke to the king and then he divvied things out. That's what was happening in the home as well.
There was God. He spoke to dad. Dad would tell everybody what to do because dad had legal, almost property rights. They were serfs of mom and the kids. He had legal rights. He would tell you. That's why we had child labor because the kids were property, go to work.
And that's why the founders thought it was so important to educate — educate — because, well, slavery, why was it illegal to teach somebody to read as a slave? Because they'd recognize their station in life was not here, education.
The whole family started to have a revolution. Dad needed to have different attributes. He wasn't just the ruler of the family. He had — there was a different set-up of the family. They're starting to look different.
And our Founding Fathers were great examples. They each had a different element — a different piece of what made up a good father, which I think is so ironic because that's kind of the way it works. We each are supposed to have a different piece of our father and we're supposed to work on that and set examples — and that's what they did.
I'm going to talk to you about the revolution — the revolution. We've already talked about Whitefield, the revolution here of God.
Tonight, I want to talk about the revolution of the family and the fathers of our country. What is it, dads, that we're supposed to learn?
Bruce Feiler is a friend of mine. He is author of "The Council of Dads." And he also is a guy who really opened my eyes with this book. This was — this is a — you've got to read this book. If you don't have it, grab this book.
BRUCE FEILER, AUTHOR: Glenn —
BECK: How are you, sir?
FEILER: Nice to see you.
BECK: We were talking the other day, and it's strange how things work. It's all connections, isn't it? Strange how things work.
You've been working on this. You're a religious guy. You've written this. And this is about, you know, kind of the Moses story in America.
BECK: And it brought us to our Founding Fathers. And we talk about it here. And now, here's your new book, "The Council of Dads," which is fantastic, fantastic concept. And they fit because our Founding Fathers really were the council of dads, weren't they?
FEILER: Well, you helped me see this, Glenn. And, in fact, I think they were the council of fathers. And the idea behind "The Council of Dads" was that I would ask six friends to be father figures for my children.
And one of the people that I was talking to during the process said to me, well, if I was creating a council of dads for my girls, I would put Thomas Jefferson in my council of dads. Because what I did is, you know, when this book would say, what's the one piece of advice you would give to my children? And he said, no one gave me better advice than Thomas Jefferson.
And so, the idea behind — that's what got me thinking. I think, well, what is the one piece of advice that we could learn from the Founding Fathers? Because as you just laid out, they really were creating, not just a new country, but new way of relating to God and a you new type of a man — a kind of an American man, which was a new figure.
We talk about this hierarchy you just listed.
FEILER: In pictures and in the 18th century, 1750, the dad was always on top, the children and mother down below. By 1800, after the American Revolution, they would all be on the same level.
BECK: So, wait a minute, they would actually paint or they would — they would —
FEILER: There was no photography. Yes. When you would paint a portrait of a family, the man would be on top because he had all of the authority.
BECK: And so, the children would be painted down with mom.
FEILER: Down with mom below by the 18th century. As a result of the American Revolution, you began to see the father coming down because they were creating this new democratic idea.
BECK: What was the — what was the family — was this — was this like the 1960s at all in our country wherein the family dynamic where kids had a revolution, themselves? Was this is a smooth process? Was it — how did the revolution at the dinner table in the 1700s go?
FEILER: In the 1960s, we had lots of things, birth control —
BECK: Yes, yes, yes.
FEILER: — and drugs and things like that were not open.
FEILER: Remember, the average mom —
BECK: Thomas Jefferson is not doing like whoa! I just had like a wild —
FEILER: The average mom still had seven children in 1800 and she was dressed all the way up to here and covered up. So, this is — this is not that kind of like, sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. What this is saying, you know what, the relationship between a man and woman should be based in part on love; that a goal of a young child, of any person, should be happiness.
This is why Moses was so important. You talk about that relationship — it was a revolution, the idea that you could have a direct relationship with God. Who was the first person to stand up to a king and say you could have a direct relationship with God? Answer: it was Moses.
And that's why the whole theme of the Exodus was important and that's why Moses was on the Liberty Bell and Moses on the seal. And it's why, as we begin here going through our Founding Fathers Moses was such a theme because he was the first person to say: we can have moral character and we can be free and have our own relationship with God.
BECK: OK. So, let's put together a council of Founding Fathers.
BECK: The council of dads, which you did because, in case, anybody doesn't know the story, Bruce is a survivor of cancer. Are you clean bill of health now?
FEILER: Yes. Clean bill of health.
BECK: OK. And when he found out, he thought, there's a chance I'm going to die. And if I'm going to die, who passes — who's there to tell my children, teach my children, what are they going to learn? And he put this council of dads together and now, it's turned into a book, because — I mean, I mean, you survived! Market, that's what I'm thinking.
You go and you learn from that experience. And then you share it with others. So, Bruce, you — you took this idea and used it in your own life for your own kids. But now, let's put one together for the Founding Fathers. What is the country — what is the Founding Fathers — what are they supposed to teach us?
FEILER: OK, fine. So, you have done this great service of reintroducing everybody to the Founding Fathers. And so, I've now gone through all the books and the letters here and what I have is — we're going have a little — you're Johnny Carson of Founding Fathers and I'm going to be your Ed McMahon here.
FEILER: We've got — we've got a line here. You're going to get a test today, professor.
BECK: Yes, sir.
FEILER: OK, fine. So, the first in our council of Founding Fathers, the piece of wisdom is: Honesty is the best policy.
BECK: Founding Father?
FEILER: Founding Father.
BECK: Abraham Lincoln. No, George Washington.
FEILER: Older, older — exactly.
BECK: I actually heard someone respond, my favorite Founding Father is Abraham Lincoln.
FEILER: So, the thing about Washington is — by the way, you're right, a point.
FEILER: Do we have a ding from a — from a —
BECK: So, Washington, a man of great virtue, a man of great character, the bullets whizzing by him. And he's the first who said we're not going to be slaves. He talked about America as a new Promised Land.
And a great moment, at his inauguration, right? He could have been the king. He goes up there in a brown suit, not a uniform, he doesn't want to be exalted. He opens up the Bible to the last pages of the Book of Genesis, right before Exodus, to this moment when Jacob is saying to his brothers, "I'm not a God, I'm your brother." That was the message that Washington gave at his inauguration: I'm not a king. I'm just your brother.
BECK: That is — that is an amazing — I mean, I can't imagine a politician saying that today and meaning it. He really was — he really was a father of our country for so many reasons, but one was: he was trying to teach us every step of the way how to rule, or have a president. You know, up until we —
BECK: — the reason we had term limits is because FDR was the first one to take four. Everyone else, up until that time, they wouldn't run a third term, because they'd say, who do I think I am? I'm better than George Washington?
FEILER: And this quote comes from that moment.
BECK: At his farewell address, he actually prints as a letter in newspapers around the country and never gives it, he says, "Honesty is the best policy." It's a cliche now, but he's the one who introduced it. And what was his message? We want to run our public affairs as we run our private affairs.
BECK: We think about that now and now that could be —
FEILER: But he's saying: honesty is the best policy. OK. But you got a point.
Number two: Avoid extremes.
BECK: Probably the guy who was sitting naked in the front in the front — in his front room, Benjamin Franklin.
FEILER: Benjamin Franklin, exactly.
Now, Franklin also, by the way — I mean, incredibly inventive man, lively as you said. If you're going to have one of these Founding Fathers in your council of dads, you're going to want Franklin. He's going to be a fun guy.
FEILER: But, also very into virtue and modesty and the common good.
BECK: Thrift. Penny saved, penny earned.
FEILER: Ounce of — ounce of prevention is worth pound of cure.
FEILER: And he writes when he's 22 years old, 13 virtues he's going to try to follow everyday, including temperance, don't eat too much, don't drink too much, resolution, work hard and moderation — don't do anything to extremes.
And I think that what he — more than what any other person — said that America should be about the common good. He actually had problems with his own father and that's why he started the fire department, the first public library, the first university. He was the first person to say, if we're going to educate our kids, we can prepare them to be the Americans we need them to be.
BECK: I don't have that wrong. That's why — that's why the founders were so into education, right? Because they knew that the kids, just like in slavery, they knew if you educate them, it ended everything. You became an equal of everyone else.
FEILER: I love the way you said that, in the opening set-up, which is, during all that time they were sending the letters by ship to England three months. I mean, Franklin must have crossed a dozen different times. They were reading and they were preparing themselves. They were creating this revolution as you said at the dining room table.
BECK: OK. Back in just a second.
BECK: It's "Founders' Friday." We're back with Bruce Feiler. He's the author of "The Council of Dads" and "America's Prophet" — both are worth your time and both great reads.
We're talking a little bit to fathers today on the council of dads, if you will, of Founding Fathers. What are we supposed to learn from the founders? What message did they leave behind? What did they try to teach at the time?
We're going through the council of Founding Fathers. George Washington was the first one. Bruce gave me a little quiz. Honesty is the best policy. Franklin: Avoid extremes.
The next one is: Question with boldness. I mean, I got that one nailed. That's Thomas Jefferson.
FEILER: Yes. In fact, I learned this quote from you, Glenn. And I think that, you know, Jefferson, there was this wonderful line that Adams was the voice of the revolution and Jefferson was the pen — learned man, 7,000 books in his library but yet also had this interesting relationship with religion because he was interested in it, but wanted to talk back to it.
Remember when he was in the White House, he'd actually cut out the miracles and made this Bible, as you know. And he's the one, along with Franklin, who proposed that Moses be on the seal, July 4th, 1776. Immediately after the declaration, they asked Franklin, Jefferson, Adams to come up with a seal — they proposed that Moses be on the seal because he represented these ideals of standing up to a king.
And he wrote in this letter, not long after when he was in Paris to his nephew, "Question with boldness even the existence of God," because, he said, if there is a God, he will respond to reason more than fear.
And I learned this from you.
BECK: He must surely rather honest questioning over blindfolded fear. Keyword "honest questioning."
FEILER: You have to have faith in your life, but it's OK to bring reason. You don't have to leave yourself behind.
FEILER: OK. So, now, they're going to get harder.
FEILER: We got the easy ones out of the way to build up your confidence.
BECK: Who's left?
FEILER: We got George Whitefield and John Adams.
BECK: I think you go either way. I'm going to go John Adams.
FEILER: For fight the good fight?
FEILER: Oh. More work needed, professor. No, fight the good fight, this is actually Whitefield.
BECK: Whitefield. OK.
FEILER: Whitefield, an amazing figure. You have done so —
BECK: Rocks to the head.
FEILER: — to bring him to light. And, you know, In 1776, more famous than Washington. Anybody — we took a poll of this audience in 1776, who you want to have dinner with? Whitefield would have won the answer and he — incredibly charismatic. There's a wonderful story of Franklin going to hear him, 6,000 people. He's got copper, silver and gold in his pocket.
As he starts off, "I'm not giving him nothing." He keeps talking, "Oh, man, I want to give him some of the copper." Another stroke, "Oh, silver." By the end, dump in the whole pocket. The copper, the silver and gold.
And this is fight the good fight of faith. That's what it's about.
BECK: And fight the good fight, I guess because that's why I said it was kind of tough because Whitefield, I mean, he took rocks to the head. They urinated on him during some of his sermons. People would climb a tree behind because nobody would let him in church. And people would actually urinate on him and he kept going.
I mean, he's amazing.
FEILER: Nobody talking about him until you started talking about him. It's a great story. I grew up in Savannah, an orphanage that's still there, the symbol of that orphanage? The burning bush — because he said, America is the burning bush. God could have chosen a great cedar to speak through, he chose the burning bush. America is the burning bush and we're all Moses.
BECK: I love it.
FEILER: So, that leaves for the last one: dare to think — dare to read, think, speak and write. That's John Adams.
BECK: I think that's John Adams.
FEILER: You, that's —
BECK: Yes, I'm that good!
FEILER: You could get into college with that kind of wisdom.
FEILER: And the — but this, I can't — I think it's the message that you said earlier, which is to learn. And you know what Adams said was: knowledge will prevent us from being slaves. That he knew, if you learn, that that was going to be the way that we could defeat them. We're going to use our minds as well as our bodies.
BECK: Let me ask you a question. I — there's two things. One, and I think it was in First Samuel I was reading this last weekend that talked about — and it just jumped out at me. I've read it before, it jumped out at me, that the Israelites were going to pay for the sins of the father. And I thought to myself, well, that doesn't usually — I mean, you don't pay for the sins of the father.
But yes, if you haven't raised them right — and it's kind of what we're doing now, we're not raising our kids — we're not raising our kids to be capitalist or understand free market or anything else because we're not teaching them this in little league, in Connecticut. We're not even — we're not even keeping score. They'll keep score, but we're not.
And so, all of the things, we're not teaching them to avoid extremes anymore. And so, we are going to pay — the children are going to pay for the sins of the father because we haven't taught them. Do you find any —
FEILER: I think that what — I think the way you learn from these Founding Fathers is what you were talking about at the opening of this show. You got a situation that's unpleasant, OK? Prepare yourself, prepare your character, do your homework and then be an educated fighter. Know the fight that you have to do and you're going to fight it with your mind, with your body and ultimately with your family.
BECK: There are so many people that talk about, you know, how is this going to end? And, you know, we have actual revolutionaries that are in Washington now that want revolution.
I don't want revolution. And I think revolution — I think all of this stuff fixes itself if you restore the truth. If you restore — if you dare to read, think, speak and write. But you've restored the truth of question with boldness, fight the good fight, avoid extremes, honesty is the best policy — when you know who we are and where we came from and you learn all that, it really kind of solve itself, doesn't it?
FEILER: The Bible I think has a great lesson here.
And why was Moses so important? Because like the Israelites in the desert, we had this great revolution. Moses led them across the Red Sea. At which point, what happened? Chaos ensued. At which point, what did they do? They brought down the Ten Commandments. And that is the first moral code.
And why these people liked Moses so much is he said, you can't just have to have freedom, you also have to have responsibility. And there's the two things, in tension with each other. So, that's why Moses — he was the first revolutionary and it was a revolution not just of action, but also of character.
BECK: OK. Back in just a second.
BECK: It's Father's Day weekend and I want to do kind of a different kind of Founding Fathers Friday, one where we see what we can learn from them, what traits can we pull from them, what lessons have they left us.
The Founding Fathers are known for the groundwork of our country. But they also created ideals of the American man teaching us life lessons that are still valuable today. Years ago, we used to — the reason why we know the "I cannot tell a lie" story of chopping down a cherry tree is because that was told over and over and over again to teach our children that honesty is the best policy.
We're talking about these things today and the things that we can learn as dads and families. One of the most important things to learn is to never isolate yourself.
Bruce Feiler is with me. He started "The Council of Dads" that represents the spirit of togetherness. And isolation really is kind of a problem because you can't weather anything without — I mean, it's amazing how they brought all these great minds together and how they just all came together. They couldn't have done it by themselves. George Washington couldn't have done it by himself.
FEILER: I mean, that's a great point about the Founding Fathers, is that it wasn't just one. It wasn't a king that we replaced one despot with another. We created this idea in the Founding Fathers that you need a team of people.
And that's what happened to me. I was in a difficult situation and I reached out to six friends. And I said I want you to form this Council of Dads for my daughters to be father figures for them through their lives.
And so one of the key moments in the whole process — we see my daughters there with one of the men in the council — was saying to each of these men, "I want you to play a different role. You be a values-dad, OK? And you be a nature-dad and you be dream-dad.
BECK: Hang on. Just so people understand, this is because Bruce had cancer. Did you — you really thought you were going to die?
FEILER: I had (UNINTELLIGIBLE) cancer. I had a big seven-inch tumor in my leg. And there, you can see me without hair. I went through a long ordeal. And it turns out that I've beaten the cancer and I'm cancer-free.
But the Council of Dads has become such a joy and strength in our lives and that what happened was when I founded this council and I sat down with each of these guys and I said, "What is the one piece of advice you would give to my girls?"
And their answers were so amazing and lot of them echoed — here, John Adams said, "If you have — you should carry a poet in your pocket and you'll never be alone." One of the men in my council, Josh Ramo said to me the same thing, "I would teach your girls how to appreciate beauty by telling them to always have a poem with them."
Another one of my dads, David, said, "I'll teach your girls how to dream." And his lesson was, "You should not see the wall. You're going to encounter a wall from time to time as you chase your dream. But I'm going to show you how to get over it, around it, through it, under it. But whatever you do, don't succumb to it."
BECK: Joshua is here. He's one of my favorite people. He's really an out-of-the-box thinker and a good decent man.
When Bruce came to you — we've talked about this before. Kind of an earth-shattering kind of thing. You know, you've got a friend who may be dying and then he says, "Hey, could you be on my Council of Dads to help raise my kids in case I leave?"
Did it — how has this affected you? What have you learned from just this exercise?
JOSHUA COOPER RAMO, MEMBER, BRUCE FEILER'S "COUNCIL OF DADS": You know, Glenn, it's sort of a fundamental test of who you are as a man, who you are as a human being, when a friend asks something that is so deep and profound.
And I think what I've learned more than anything is just the transcendent value of true friendship, that we have these friendships that sort of go along. And they're not tested. They're not stressed by extreme situations.
And you see when you end up in these most extreme situations, like this awful one that Bruce was facing, that friendship is a tether, not something to carry the person who is suffering through, but to inspire everybody around.
It was an extraordinary experience for me. I thought, really, this was something for Bruce and for the girls. But at the end of the day, it was transformative to me. Being a better friend is always something that makes you a better person.
BECK: You know, Joshua just said something and I don't know why it struck me when you said it. But you said being a man. I don't know — do we even teach that anymore? As a society, do we even teach what it is to be a man?
I mean, I think of Washington an awful lot when you think of that, because he was always concerned about setting the example. He was always concerned about not dishonoring himself. He was always concerned about other people.
He was not into himself. What are the examples of — in real life of — look at the way men are portrayed even on television now. I mean, I'm sorry I'm just freewheeling here. But what is — I mean, you don't see anything, it's Homer Simpson.
FEILER: It's interesting as I've been out talking now about the Council of Dads, that men are interested in this book because it's about men. But women are spectacularly interested because they don't believe that there is this thing as male friendship, like, what do you guys talk about behind the locker room door or when you're out there fishing?
And I think that what I found is there is incredible power of sitting down with your friends and telling them what they mean to you. We don't really do that anymore. And I think that what I found is to have this group of men in my life, it actually — almost it's like coaching me along, which is why I decided to put this into a book, was to gather their wisdom into one place, because we feel alone, as parents, a lot.
And this is sort of like — almost like parenting as team sport and this idea that I can have this in my back pocket when I'm asked a question by the kids.
BECK: I have to say, I mean, I don't know what guys talk about behind the locker room doors. What is it? I mean, what -
FEILER: Let's see what josh says.
BECK: Josh, how uncomfortable was it, if it all, for guys — for a group of guys to get together if it wasn't in a cancer situation, to be able to sit down and say, "You know, I want to share some feelings with you."
RAMO: You know, it's not uncomfortable at all. I mean, this is one of the things we discovered. You don't really need that cancer situation. This is something anybody and everybody should do.
You know, when Bruce wanted to spend some time with me, we were kind of talking about the lesson. What I decided we should do is go to the wilderness of New Mexico which is really where I grew up.
And we went camping for a couple of days. And the first day, we didn't say a word. We just spent time under the stars with the pine trees out in front of the campfire. What you are doing in a situation like that is toughening the steel in your soul that is what marks you as a man when you are faced with great challenges.
And I think it's something we all have in us. It's just a matter of creating a context in which it can come to life. The remarkable thing as "The Council of Dads" as a book is it shows what that does to somebody, no matter what situation that they're in. It's an incredible gift, really.
BECK: OK. Back in just a second.
BECK: Back with Bruce Feiler and a member of his own Council of Dads, Joshua Cooper Ramo. And I — Bruce just said in a minute — I want to ask what your advice is for your children.
And wow. If you had to think what is — you know, you're going to leave one piece of advice, what would it be? We'll give that in a minute.
Nikki is in the studio audience and you were just talking in the break about your father.
NIKKI YOUNG, ENGINEER: Yes. My father taught us self-reliance. That was something I don't see up there. My brother and I grew up in the Navaho reservation, which is a third-world country.
There are a lot of places that still don't have running water or electricity. That's where we grew up. My dad taught us that if you want something in life, you work for it and you can get it. We ended up leaving because I wanted to go to college.
I ended up getting a physics degree. And now, I'm an engineer, all because of what my father taught us. And I just thought there was something that needed to be said.
BECK: But I think that — I think self-reliance was the overarching message of the revolution.
FEILER: You should do it yourself. You shouldn't expect it to be a handout or a gift.
FEILER: You think of Franklin, more or less estranged from his father, leaving Boston with barely a coin in his pocket —
FEILER: And then sailing down to Philadelphia and getting there everything entirely made. Very industrious. And there was this great moment later in the revolution, 50 years later, in fact, when Franklin said, "We shouldn't have the bald eagle as our mascot, because the bald eagle is lazy. It just sits up on the perch and let the hawk do the hunting for him."
He said, "We should have the turkey, because the turkey is independent. And the turkey will do for itself, hunt down its food and then, by the way, even stand up to the British.
BECK: You also later hit turkeys with your car if you live in Connecticut. And it's not a pretty sight. Jeremy?
JEREMY STARK, STUDENT: Yes, sir. I just wanted to say the Founding Fathers — education was very important to them and you mentioned that earlier. But like with Thomas Jefferson — yes, he believed in God, but he also believed in questioning God. He believed in seeing all sides.
I think one of the main problems today is that you have schools that are indoctrinating children to believe certain ideals and special interest groups and the like.
BECK: But you've always had that, haven't you?
FEILER: Well, it's interesting, because what I was thinking when Jeremy was saying that was, do we go to school now for the answers? Do we just want to go to the Internet and just get the answers?
FEILER: Or do we want to make the actual act of questioning the process? Because to me, that's it. Actually, our friend, Ben Sherwood, in my Council of Dads — he is saying, as you know from the book, is "Don't just seek the answers. Seek the questions and learn to love the questions. And the purpose is to live the questions."
And that is the great thing about this Jefferson quote, "Boldly ask can questions, even of God," which is one thing that we're told we should never do.
BECK: Never do. You know, it's — I think that is what — I think that is what bothers me so much about education. I'm in the middle of writing a — we just have a million books that we're writing.
Many of them have been writing a children's history book. And hopefully, it will come out this Christmas. And part of it is to show what happened in history, what the truth is. And then it will have some boxes off to the side to say, if you have these textbooks and you go to school, your teacher will probably say, "This is what happened."
And here is how to do your research and find the truth behind this. And then, I think we need to teach children to learn how to find the truth, learn how to let go of the answer they want to find, and then be able to stand up and say, "No. I'm sorry, I know you are an authority figure but it's OK. I don't hate you. I'm not trying to challenge you here other than on the facts."
FEILER: Freedom comes with responsibility. That job lies with us. There is that quote from Moses on the liberty about it you and I have talked. It's in "America's Prophet," "Proclaim liberty throughout the land and to all the inhabitants thereof."
That says we have the freedom. We can sit back, let our rulers do it all. But we have the responsibility to act and that goes with Jeremy and all the rest of us.
BECK: And that goes back to your father on the Indian reservation, that it is — it is — yes, it is independence. But beyond independence, it's self-reliance that this country is today only — and this is a sad statement — only what this generation has made of it.
This country can be only what we choose today to make of it for our children. Back in just a second.
BECK: Bruce Feiler has a book called "The Council of Dads," and we're talking about the lessons that we can pass along, the lessons that our Founders passed along to us, that we should now as fathers, this Father's Day weekend, spend some time just thinking about you. I mean, not in a selfish way.
But you, like what your Council of Dads, what is it you want to pass on to your children? What is it that is critical that you teach them, not only through words but more importantly through actions?
FEILER: So when I sat down with these men and said what is the one life lesson, this is what I heard. And to me, it's what made me write this book. It's sort of a guidebook of living. And the advice was, first of all, how to take a trip. Be a traveler, not a tourist, OK.
And then, the second one was, you know, sort of always pack your flip-flops. Be true to yourself. Wherever you go, be true to yourself. Don't see the wall. If you encounter a wall when you're chasing that dream, you've got to find a way to get over it, around it or through it.
Josh's is harvest miracles. But my favorite piece of advice, the one thing I want to pass down, the number one advice I got from all my dads, slow down, enjoy your life, enjoy that family. And to me, that is this phrase. I learned it in Paris.
Pedestrians, 200 years ago, took a turtle for a walk and let the reptile set the pace. To me, this is fantastic, right? Take a walk with a turtle. Behold the world in pause. Take your kids, go out, take a walk, make a memory. So that's my advice. Take a walk with a turtle. Now, if were in my council of dads —
BECK: I mean — I mean, you know, I've just been sitting here for the last couple of minutes and been thinking about it. And I was trying to think, what is the advice I most go back to? And it has to be the whole phrase.
But I think it's Jefferson, "Question with boldness even the very existence of God," which means challenge all the way up. But the rest of the phrase is important, "For he must surely rather honest questioning over blindfolded fear."
And that implies that you're not just asking questions. You're asking honest questions which means you are on a journey. You're seeking. You're willing to accept the truth no matter what it is.
And honest questions, if you are asking honest questions of God, you don't start at the top, you start here. And so who am I? What am I? What am I supposed to be doing? And who are you?
And that's just — for me, that, I think, was the moment my life changed. I think I read that in '94-'95. When I read that, it changed my life.
FEILER: I'm not surprised because we share a love of history and we share a love of family. But there is a similar phrase in "The Council of Dads" from Ben Sherman.
And what Ben said, "If you are lost in your life, no matter where you are, if you are in the emptiest desert or you're in a bad personal place, if you ask questions, you can find your way. Live the questions — that is the way to get through your life.
BECK: The name of the book is "Council of Dads." And the other book that he wrote that has been profound for me at least is "America's Prophet." Both really worth reading if you want to get a Father's Day gift for dad — "The Council of Dads."
And dads, use this weekend to evaluate what is it that I'm leaving to my kids? Because they don't care about the TV. They don't care about the car. They don't care about the money socked away.
They're going to care, as you said earlier, about your father. What I think he really taught me — my dad has already left me everything that I needed from him. I don't need an inheritance. I don't need anything else.
What is it that you will leave to your children? This Founding Father's Friday, recognize what they left us. And what part of that do we need to leave to our children? Back in just a second.
BECK: Let me do a — let me just do a shameless plug here for just a second on Father's Day if you are going in the bookstore anyway. "The Overton Window" is a great read. It's a thriller for dad. You can pick it up. He'll enjoy it. And pick one up for yourself, too. I think you will enjoy it.
I want to leave you tonight with a personal thought from a dad to his children. I started life out as a pretty selfish guy. I remember when I first got married, I didn't — I really didn't want any children. And now, I have four. They're noisy and sometimes sticky.
But I was sitting at my dinner table about a year-and-a-half ago. And it was noisy and the kids were sticky. And everybody is screaming and yelling and the dogs are barking. And I realized this is the only thing real in my life. This is the best part of life.
Cherish your children. They will remember you. Make sure you remember — you're creating memories every second you are with them. Mary, Hannah, Cheyenne, Raphe, your dad loves you.
From New York, good night, America.
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