...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, April 05, 2004
      ( 10:10 AM )
Kids Speak Truth

Everyone keeps asking where are the adults when it comes to the behavior of the government. But this Mama thinks that maybe we should listen more to the kids. A brilliant editorial column in our local paper last week by 13-year old Nina Showell shows us that sometimes the adults need to just shut up and listen:

I realize that many adults really don't understand
what is going on here. This is one of the topics where
children's opinions really need to be taken into
account. We are the ones who say the pledge;
therefore, our opinions should be listened to, and
the Supreme Court should really try to understand
how this affects us.

Never, in all my years of schooling, have I been
told that I wasn't required to say "The Pledge of
Allegiance" along with the rest of my classmates.
This is the fact that the Supreme Court justices
don't understand. Children are not told what rights
they have. Most students don't realize that they
have options.

It is painful for me to have to watch my classmates
say the pledge, with the teacher leading them, when
I refuse to recite. The fact that the teacher is the one
who leads "The Pledge of Allegiance" is significant. As
young children, even before we enter school, we are
taught to obey the teacher. So, when the teacher
says, "Now it is time to recite 'The Pledge of
Allegiance,'" we do. Many students are afraid to stand
up to the teacher, because they are afraid they will get
in trouble. Especially in elementary school, students do
not want to stand out. They want to be just like their
friends, even if they don't necessarily agree.


The pledge and the ritual of reciting it have flaws. Students
need to be informed that they do not have to promise
something that they do not agree with. Teachers should
explain to students what the pledge means, and the
harder words should be defined. In my opinion, no
children should promise something if they don't know
what it means. It is up to us -- older students and adults
-- to explain to younger pupils that in some circumstances
it is OK to not do as everyone else does.

With all the backtracking going on lately, and all the discoveries about lies made in anticipationg of forwarding ill-advised plans (like the Medicare bill), maybe in all issues, not just the pledge, our government officials should take Nina's advice: In my opinion, no [one] should promise something if they don't know what it means.

| -- permanent link