Every Friday, my son goes to his school’s multipurpose room for an all-school meeting. There are announcements about special events. The kids learn about the proverb of the week, usually a famous quote from a famous person chosen to inspire good behavior. They learn about the word of the week, also chosen to inspire good behavior. They watch one of the classes do a skit based on the word and proverb. It’s all very cute. However, the first thing they do before anything else is stand up and say the Pledge of Allegiance.
I have a problem with kids saying the Pledge.
It’s not the “under God” thing. I grew up saying it, and nobody listens to you and forces you to say that part. Also, every time I hear “under God,” I’m reminded of my parent’s accounts of how, when they were kids, nobody knew where it went. They’d forget about it until the end. I still chuckle a bit at the “under God” bit.
|Which god, anyway?|
We don’t let children drive because they don’t have the size or maturity to pilot a two ton vehicle at sixty miles per hour. We don’t let children vote, because they don’t have the knowledge and experience required to make an informed choice about who leads our country. We don’t let children drink or have sex because they could be pressured into it. We don’t let children enter contracts because there is no way they could know the full ramifications of what they were signing. We don’t let children go to war because they’d get killed, really, really fast.
Why are we making them pledge their allegiance to our country?
When someone makes the Pledge, they are making a serious vow. They are aligning themselves with the ideals set forth in that statement: liberty and justice for all. They are pledging themselves to serve and obey our country. The Pledge isn’t something that you should say lightly, because it has weight. It has meaning. It is deadly serious.
Children say the Pledge without fully understanding it. They learn it by rote, mumbling the syllables over and over again until it has lost all meaning. When we reach adulthood, it seems childish and antiquated.
We should remove the mandatory pledge. Either wait until the kids are older, maybe sixth grade, or make it very clear how important it is and that kids should only recite it if they truly want to commit themselves to the country.
Oh, and remove the “under God” part. It’s silly.