One of the things I love about America is our freedom to express ourselves. It doesn’t matter if I agree with your opinion or not – you have every right to say (or not say) whatever your truth is and that’s a powerful thing to have. It’s a right we take for granted often. It’s a right many countries under a tyrannical rule don’t get to experience and, as such, we should count our blessings every day for this inalienable right.
That being said, I think it’s a real shame and a true disservice to our youth that many schools don’t say the Pledge of Allegiance.
Look, I get that not everyone believes in God, and that’s okay. A person’s faith is very personal and everyone has their own journey and demons to work out. If you want to replace the word GOD with something else or nothing at all, that’s your right. I don’t care if you say thanks to Starbucks if that’s what gets you through your day.
And you don’t have to love everything about our country. By no means is America without its faults. I don’t care if you’re 6 or 60 – you have every right to express frustration or concern with certain aspects of this great country of ours. I may not agree with you – but that’s what is so awesome about the USA. You can disrespect our leaders and the men who fought for our freedom and even if that makes me livid, it’s your right.
But reciting the Pledge of Allegiance isn’t necessarily about jeopardizing a kid’s freedoms. It’s about teaching them respect and that sometimes you have to do things in society you don’t always want to.
Every morning when I drop my 2-year-old off at daycare, he and the rest of his classmates stand in front of the flag, hand on heart, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Do they know what they’re saying? No. My kid can barely say the word “country,” let alone know how to be thankful for it. However, that’s not really the point.
The point is, if the purpose of schooling is to teach our kids the skills necessary to be functioning members of society, certain values need to be instilled in them at an early age. These values include giving respect where respect is due, showing solidarity and love for your fellow citizens, and showing appreciation for liberties many other places around the world don’t get to experience.
Saying the Pledge of Allegiance reinforces all of these virtues. It teaches children structure and to show respect to their country and elders. It teaches them that pride is so much more than the accomplishments of a single individual and that when you don’t stand tall in harmony, you fall alone in divisiveness.
Eventually, these little kids will be adults which means it is our responsibility as parents and as teachers to instill in them appreciation, pride, and camaraderie. And if none of the aforementioned traits speak to your belief system or the values you wish to impose upon your children, how about making them say the Pledge of Allegiance for this simple reason: Sometimes we have to do things in life and in society that we don’t want to and being an adult means sucking it up and doing what’s right, whether you agree with it or not.