What Should Matter

One of the things I enjoy most about subbing for elementary school children is what happens before our day even gets started. Each morning, after they put their belongings away and just before we begin class, they stand in unison, place their hands over their chests and recite The Pledge Of Allegiance. I usually stand to the side as I recite this with them so I can watch their faces. Then I smile at how strong their voices are and how serious they look as they recite the words.

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I’ve always been curious about whether or not they really understood what they were reciting so I started asking a few students in different classes if they understood what some of these words meant. Words like allegiance, indivisible., republic, liberty and justice. As it turned out, they had a very clear understanding of what the words meant and what The Pledge meant to them and to our country. I was a little surprised but I guess I shouldn’t have been. After all, the wording is very simple and clear so understanding it shouldn’t be that difficult.

How sad and unfortunate then, that eight and ten year old children  have a better understanding and appreciation of these words than any politician I’ve listened to in recent years. How sad and unfortunate that these same people, who have supposedly chosen a life of serving the public good is doing the most harm to those who don’t have a voice and whose lives may be most affected in the future by their actions today.

Ego, power and greed should not be the determining factors when seeking any kind of political office.

Maybe before a politician decides to run for office, they should sit in a classroom for a couple of minutes each morning and listen to the voices of those who really understand what it means to be an American.

If they have difficulty grasping the concept, I’m sure a eight year old will be more than happy to explain it to them.

 

35 thoughts on “What Should Matter

  1. Jodi

    I guess that’s why the phrase all I ever need to learn I learned in kindergarten is so poignant. Why do we do often forget the simple important stuff ??!!

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  2. dianasschwenk

    Yes. And also the way they carry themselves, George.

    There are standards to which government, religion and higher education should be held. There are examples that politicians and principled businesspeople should endeavor to set, regardless of whether their peers are making that effort. There’s right and wrong, not just better or worse.
    And there’s a word for recognizing and rising to that: leadership. We could use more of it. ~ NY Times, Weary of Relativity, May 23, 2015.

    ❤ Diana xo

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  3. sportsattitudes

    I am pleasantly surprised at your findings and perhaps if we allegedly fully-developed, fully-educated adults can somehow right our collective ship from the very choppy seas we currently are navigating maybe we can someday leave them a country where those words once again represent and describe our feelings and actions towards one another.

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  4. socialbridge

    How interesting that this is a practise in US schools. We have nothing like it here, except singing the National Anthem at big events but certainly nothing on a daily basis.
    You’d wonder what happens to the kids along the way and how the disconnect actually happens.

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  5. Ilona Elliott

    Reminds me of the scripture– I think it says “and a little child shall lead them”. We have people in leadership roles or who are seeking to be that are not in allegiance to the Republic, but believe that individual rights and personal triumphs trump the necessity and usefulness of the Republic. Yes George, they could use a little schooling. Thanks for posting!

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  6. Kim Gorman

    Totally agree. I can’t even watch the debates anymore. They are a disgrace, calling each other names, acting like bullies, mean little children in adult bodies. Hardly positive role models or examples for little ones.

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  7. spearfruit

    George, this is a wonderful post and yes I totally agree. It is a shame that our politicians no longer serve the people, but instead for themselves. Thanks, have a great day! 🙂

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  8. Carrie Rubin

    “Ego, power and greed should not be the determining factors when seeking any kind of political office.”—Hear, hear. It seems politics attracts that kind of person when in reality, we need just the opposite. There are a few politicians who go against this type, but sadly not nearly enough.

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  9. Ann Coleman

    Oh, I loved this one! You are so right. It wold be wonderful if politicians had the same understanding of the pledge of allegiance as the children you write about. Holding public office is supposed to be about serving our country and being the voice of all its citizens, but it seems to have devolved into the pursuit of money and power. It’s both sad and dangerous, I think. Thanks for a great post on a timely subject!

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  10. In My Cluttered Attic

    And a child shall lead them. No…not a politician (though, I confess they have been acting very childish—but the children. Children seem to better understand what it means to unite for what is right then those dodo’s on Capitol Hill. Speaking of dodo’s; I wonder if there’s any chance politicians will become extinct soon?

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  11. Carol Ferenc

    Well said, George. I’m so glad to learn the Pledge of Allegiance is still being recited there. I was under the impression that it’s been discontinued in many schools, which is very sad. As for our politicians ~ they should be ashamed.

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    1. George Post author

      So am I. I keep waiting for some group to file a lawsuit to remove any number of words from The Pledge and how we’re going to react to it when they do.
      Yes, the politicians should be ashamed.

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